Monday, December 12, 2022

Flavors of Boracay: Reinterpreting Filipino Cuisine with an Inventive and Healthy Twist at Nonie's

A wave of change brought about by the sweeping pandemic forced many of the island's businesses to adapt and pivot to a new normal along with the entry of new establishments making its mark on Boracay's culinary scene. For Patrick and Shria Florencio, change was all part of the vision behind their innovative dining concept...

Changing perceptions on food and healthier dining is no easy task, a challenge boldly taken up by young restaurateurs Patrick and Shria Florencio in the complex weave and culinary diversity of Boracay. Established back in 2017 when the young couple decided to make that leap from the corporate world and pursue their passion for food, Nonie's stands out from the restaurant scene of the island with its fresh and inventive take on healthy Filipino-inspired cuisine. And it's a formula that's worked with the unique dining concept for over five years, through the island's rehab and quarantine experience. Transforming familiar local flavors with a healthy yet flavorful spin is what diners can expect at Nonie's, adding one more colorful layer to the island's culinary landscape. Come inside for a refreshing taste...

Like many of the island's pioneering trailblazers, Patrick and Shria Florencio left their lucrative corporate careers to pursue their passion on the island injecting fresh and vibrant ideas to the multi-colored tapestry of Boracay. The dynamic young couple are advocates and believers of an emerging food movement showcasing healthier cuisine using sustainable local ingredients and produce supporting farming communities while showcasing familiar Filipino flavors recreated in a fresh, modern and inventive style.  

For Patrick and Shria Florencio, changing the perception of Filipino cuisine with a renewed approach towards healthier dishes using the freshest local sustainable ingredients formed the core and foundation of their dining concept. And it's a story that continues to flourish amidst the on-going challenges of a new normal with its inclusive menu offering Vegan, Gluten-Free and Vegetarian options. 

I first met Patrick and Shria back in 2018 at a special dinner commemorating Anthony Bourdain at U Hotels (more on my post, A Cook's Tour with No Reservations to Parts Unknown: Chef Decker Gokioco's Chef's Table Tribute to Anthony Bourdain at U Hotels) followed by my first-time visit to Nonie's a year later (see my post, Flavors of Boracay: Eat Good, Feel Good at Nonie's) in 2019 and the uncompromising culinary vision of the couple becomes apparent the minute you enter their restaurant...  

Since 2017, Nonie's showcased modern Filipino-inspired cuisine masterfully prepared with locally sourced ingredients and tediously made from scratch for real flavors. Targeted primarily to the island's visitors and tourists, Nonie's also has a loyal following among locals looking for healthier options. Just six months after its opening, Nonie's became the number one ranked restaurant at TripAdvisor on the world's top island per Conde Nast bringing local pride to Boracay. It's no small feat, and Nonie's continues to grow making up for the down time caused by the island's rehabilitation and closures due to the pandemic. 

The lessons learned during the long quarantine days made us all take a second look at healthier dining options. After all, a healthy diet is your first line of defense in a lingering new normal. The #eatgoodfeelgood movement is back with a renewed sense of purpose after the pandemic experience, alive and well in Boracay at Nonie's.

In a short span of just five years, Patrick and Shria Florencio have become part of the island's continuously changing fabric of colorful stories sparking a new culinary movement with their first flagship restaurant at Nonie's followed by another unique dining concept with Little Taj Indian Street Kitchen (see more on my post, Flavors of Boracay: Authenticity Meets Cool at Little Taj Indian Street Kitchen) and a creative collaborative venture with Muchos Latin American Kitchen & Bar at Zuzuni Boutique Hotel (more on my post, Flavors of Boracay: That Cool Latin Vibe by the Beach at Muchos Latin American Kitchen & Bar). Their inspiring story brings a fresh new vibe and optimism to the island with unique and distinct flavors to an evolving culinary scene.

Start your dining experience at Nonie's with a refreshing selection of smoothies like the Mango Turmeric Ginger (P 190) with its soothing blend of mangoes, bananas, turmeric powder, ginger, honey, cinnamon and fresh coconut milk topped with chia seeds. Each sip brings pure, fresh and clean flavors to the palate capped by a natural sweetness and perfectly finished by the contrasting textures of the chia seeds...  

...or enjoy other equally refreshing concoctions like the Banana Ginger (P 190), Malunggay Pineapple (P 190), Beetroot Strawberry (P 190), Strawberry Thai Basil (P 190), Papaya Coconut (P 190) and Green Coconut Detox (P 190). And that's just the selection of Smoothies at Nonie's. You can also opt for the fresh cold press offerings of Nonie's like the Lean and Green (P 190) with malunggay, celery, cucumber, pineapple, apple and ginger; the Rehydration (P 190) with strawberry, apple, watermelon and mint; the Detox Juice (P 190) with beetroot, apple carrot, calamansi and ginger; Liquid Sunshine (P 190) with pineapple, Mandarin oranges, Granny Smith apples, calamansi and coconut water; the Ginger Shot (P 90) with pineapple, honey and turmeric and Sparkling Blue Ternate Lemonade (P 150). 

Nonie's also offers their very own home brewed line of fermented teas, the Boracay Brew Kombucha in Original (P 190) and Flavored (P 190) variants made with cold press fruits like Mango, Apple Cinnamon, Blue Ternate and Pineapple and Strawberry Hibiscus

Nonie's showcases its culinary philosophy starting with its specialty beverages to tease the palate before the savory starters and mains. It's been said that freshness is flavor, and each sip of their signature all-natural beverages comes through with the vibrant notes of fresh fruits and a refreshing subtle natural sweetness. 

An advocate of sustainability, you won't find any plastic straws at Nonie's. So pick your beverage from the all-natural selection at Nonie's to begin your #eatgoodfeelgood dining experience.

Still can't decide? Nonie's has you covered. The Cold Press Sampler (P 190) features all their refreshing variants in one flight of all-natural shots. A few sips and you can already feel the difference versus the overly sweet commercial beverages. 

Meanwhile, the kitchen prepares the first of many dishes beginning with the starters... the flavorful Vegan Sisig with Lavosh (P 290), their own creative and playfully inventive spin on the local staple. The savory dish recreates all the rich and familiar notes of the local dish without pork, and after one bite you really won't miss the pork. The crumbled soft and crisp tofu is infused with all the richness of the various ingredients, releasing a burst of flavorful notes with each spoonful. The crisp lavosh or thin unleavened Turkish bread pairs well with the Vegan Sisig and the perfect vessel for scooping it all up with its contrasting textural finish. Nonie's recreates all the flavors of the beloved local dish, down to its blend of spices and seasonings. This is sisig that's good for you. And you'll want more...   

The Jackfruit Dip (P 250) paired with lavosh is another refreshing all-natural starter delivering fresh and bold flavors. Made with local jackfruit, coconut cream and local spices topped with garden-fresh herbs, the velvety smooth dip drapes the palate with a savory richness followed by a soothing heat for that perfectly balanced finish. It's inventive dishes like this that keeps Nonie's high on everyone's list of must-try restaurants in Boracay.

Other tempting starters at Nonie's include the Tempeh Salad (P 350), Chicken Adobo Salad (P 390), Tuna Rolls (P 360), Empanadas (P 260) and the signature Ceviche (P 350) with the day's fresh catch in a spicy coconut vinaigrette. 

As the open kitchen of Nonie's picks up the pace for the lunch service, more dishes were served... the Sticky Pork Ribs (P 360) with slow-cooked fork-tender and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs slathered in a sweet and smoky glaze. Marinated in sweet pineapple juice with a rich blend of spices, these sticky ribs pack solid flavors. 

The delicately sweet notes of the pork comes through with each bite, draping the palate with a savory richness. Made from scratch using the freshest local ingredients, you can always expect clean and bold unrestrained flavors at Nonie's.

The rich flavors from the opening salvo of inventive dishes at Nonie's linger on the palate, washed down perfectly by their line of refreshing all-natural beverages. 

In between bites, why not enjoy an equally refreshing tipple with their handcrafted cocktails blended with ube liqueur like the Gold Award winning Malaya Cocktail (P 300) and a twist on the classic piƱa colada with the Purple Passion Cocktail (P 300)?

The parade of fresh flavors continues at Nonie's with the sumptuous Chicken and Pork Adobo (P 490), a savory combo with tender grilled chicken and a slab of 72-hour crispy pork belly slathered in a Cavite style adobo sauce with candied garlic topped with soft-boiled egg on organic black rice. It's a complete meal in a bowl, perfect anytime of day.

The subtle smoky hints from the grill, delicate notes of the chicken and savory flavors of the crisp and juicy pork belly combine for a hearty meal complemented by the garlicky and nutty adobo sauce. The soft-boiled egg and organic black rice completes the lavish layers of fresh flavors all in one masterfully executed dish at Nonie's.     

Love kare-kare? Change up your kare-kare game with a healthier spin at Nonie's with the Tempeh Kare-Kare (P 490) for a refreshingly creative new take on another Filipino classic. Homemade tempeh, fresh seasonal vegetables and greens draped in a rich and thick cashew and coconut milk sauce on organic black rice combine for another hearty feast. The use of chunky and crisp tempeh, an Indonesian staple made from fermented soy beans, gives this dish that savory punch.

The sauce ties everything together in this dish, with the tempeh and vegetables adding their own distinct notes to the flavor-filled creation. The tempeh remains crisp, adding a delectable play on textures while delivering savory nutty hints to the dish complemented by the sweetness of the vegetables and capped by the thick cashew and coconut milk based sauce. It's this fresh, modern and creative approach to local flavors that makes Nonie's special.  

Each ingredient builds on the other for a another delicately layered dish with flavor upon flavor accompanying each bite. Paired with their homemade Vegan Bagoong, it's your favorite kare-kare with a novel twist. Laid on organic black rice, the Tempeh Kare-Kare is another insightful snapshot of Nonie's culinary approach to solid, satisfying and healthy meals. 

Other savory mains include the Nonie's Bao Sliders (P 450), Fish and Prawn Curry (P 550) and Seafood Tinupig (P 460), a savory delicacy simmered in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaf.  

From the All-Day Brunch menu, the Adlai Arroz Caldo (P 340) brings comforting flavors that just warms the palate. In another unique twist to a local classic, Nonie's reinvents the traditional porridge with adlai, grilled chicken, soft-boiled egg, turmeric and other local spices guaranteed to satisfy any appetite.   

Topped with crunchy garlic, the soft-boiled egg adds a lavish layer of richness to the porridge smoothening the blend of spices while complementing the grilled chicken. Each spoonful warms both the palate and body for that perfect brunch at Nonie's.

Other brunch options include Pineapple Pandan Pancakes (P 360), Nonie's Eggs Benedict (P 390/P 420), Chicken Fritata (P 330), Tuna Sisig Sandwich (P 390), Pork & Beans (P 390) and Vegan Champorado (P 250).

From starters to mains, Nonie's opens up your eyes and palate to the #eatgoodfeelgood movement sparked by Patrick and Shria Florencio in the island paradise of Boracay. Each dish becomes a lavish and elegant reflection of their culinary philosophy, adding a fresh and healthy spin to local cuisine for a much bigger audience showcasing the diversity of the Filipino heritage while still being inclusive to those practicing vegan lifestyles or dietary restrictions and allergies. And the best part? You can enjoy healthy food with all the flavors without the guilt. Nonie's effortlessly busts the myth that healthy cuisine is bland or boring. Not at Nonie's...

Changing and transforming culinary mindsets and habits is a slow burn process, and rarely does it happen overnight. But Nonie's offers the first step to a healthier lifestyle with their curated made from scratch menu using the finest and freshest local ingredients while supporting farming communities complemented by their extensive selection of all-natural beverages. Sustainable. Natural. Local. It's what defines Nonie's setting it apart in a cluttered marketplace on the island's re-emerging food scene.

The open kitchen at Nonie's wasn't done just yet, serving their savory Bistek Tagalog (P 490) with fork-tender braised beef brisket, seasonal greens, local buffalo cheese and sweet potato mash laid on organic black rice slathered in bistek sauce. The beefy notes of the tender brisket just punches through, intensified by the sharp notes of the bistek sauce that will have you going for another spoonful of organic black rice.

Topped with crisp onion rings, it's the seamless play of contrasting notes and textures in a balanced finish that makes this dish one of many satisfying meals at Nonie's. The addition of local cheese brings a creamy layer of flavor to the dish, tempered by the savory richness of the beef and the sauce. 

Don't forget to ask about their healthy and sumptuous Grain Bowls too, available in Vegan Chorizo (P 390), Tempeh Bowl (P 390), Nonie's BBQ Pork (P 390), Beef & Kimchi (P 420 and one of my personal picks), Tuna Tataki (P 390), Squid Sarsiado (P 390) and Chicken Longganisa (P 390). 

But save room for dessert. Nonie's has a tempting selection to cap your dining experience on a sweet note...

The Tableya Smoothie Bowl (P 330) is one of three Smoothie Bowl options at Nonie's for a refreshingly healthy yet indulgent dessert. Healthy doesn't have to be bland or boring, right? The Tableya Smoothie Bowl with local chocolate, fresh coconut, sweet bananas, peanut butter and dulce de leche topped with cacao nibs is elegantly presented feeding the eyes before the palate... 

...and one bite becomes yet another luscious expression of Nonie's creativity and culinary style. The indulgent richness of dulce de leche is tempered by the deep notes of local tableya while the fresh coconut, peanut butter, cacao nibs and fresh bananas brings both texture and flavor in a delectable play for a memorable dining experience at Nonie's. Other Smoothie Bowl variants include the Mango Banana Smoothie Bowl (P 330) and Berry Chia Smoothie Bowl (P 350).

The Fresh Buko Tart (P 320) offers a unique kind of fresh indulgence with coconut cream, raw cacao nibs and sweet candied coconut strips with just the right level of sweetness. The naturally sweet and nutty notes of coconut in both cream and strips tingle on the palate followed by the deep flavors of raw cacao nibs.  

The cacao nibs and coconut combo hits the spot with the Fresh Buko Tart of Nonie's for that perfect sweet ending, but there's more... 

The Strawberry Cashew Cake (P 290) made with cashew flour and strawberries two ways, cacao nibs, orange zest and lemongrass sauce is both light and refreshingly indulgent in the unique style of Nonie's.  The vibrant tartness of fresh strawberries and the nutty hints of cashews combine for another delicately balanced play on flavors. Gluten-free and full of flavor, Nonie's dessert selection has something for everyone.

Like healthy food, dessert don't have to be boring or bland. Or less indulgent. Nonie's creatively spins its culinary philosophy to whip up some decadent creations like the Strawberry Cashew Cake. Other dessert options include the Flourless Chocolate Cake (P 230), Kesong Puti Cheesecake (P 290) and Mango Sticky Rice (P 230).

Gluten-free, vegan, pescatarian or keto, Nonie's has it. 

A freshly brewed Flat White (P 160) completes your meal at Nonie's. Since 2017, Nonie's has become one of Boracay's enduring destinations for healthy and satisfying Filipino-inspired cuisine. And with the re-opening of the island, you can expect to hear even more from Nonie's. The inventive and creative reinterpretation of local flavors with a healthier twist becomes an experience of rediscovery in the #eatgoodfeelgood movement envisioned by Patrick and Shria Florencio adding to even more flavors and colorful stories to the island. And it's a story that continues to unfold...

Nonie's is located at Station X, HUE Hotels & Resorts Boracay, Station 2, Boracay, Malay. You can also visit their FB Page at and IG Feed at for updates or call 0912 394 8948 for more information. 

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