Shelf of Brazilian and Japanese records
The Meiji room pays tribute to Brazilian and Japanese cultural influences.

Uma Nota is BGC’s Newest Dining and Nightlife Destination

Manila’s moneyed night owls are always on the lookout for a swanky new place to get both dinner and tipple, with enough space to get their groove on. Uma Nota BGC steps up to the plate. The Brazilian-Japanese restaurant, which first opened in Hong Kong in 2017, and then Paris in 2018, is now in Manila.



Finding its home in Shangri-La Hotel The Fort, Manila (Bonifacio Global City or BGC), Uma Nota gives the feel of a secret bar, since it shares the same almost-nondescript entrance of The Back Room. You sashay down a dimly lit hallway, say hello to their receptionists, turn left, enter another door, and then walk down a dark but fancy flight of stairs. Halfway there, you get a preview of Uma Nota through a birdcage-style terrace.

Take another short flight of steps down and enter the Living Room, one of the four distinct realms designed by Asmaa Said, founder of The Odd Duck Studio in Dubai. Look up to find the Hanging Tree installation and the rest of Uma Nota’s impressive art collection. The other three realms are The Bar, the ’70s-style Tropicália, and the artsy Meiji room.

Alexis Offe and Kate Alvarez in Uma Nota BGC
With Alexis Offe, Co-Founder of Uma Nota BGC
Founders of Uma Nota BGC
A toast from the founders of Uma Nota BGC (L-R): Michael Needham, Amir Borsok, Laura Offe, and Alexis Offe

 

I was invited to the official opening of Uma Nota BGC on February 16, where influencers and members of the media met the founders, including Alexis Offe, who said, “Uma Nota has always been a celebration of cultural harmony, a symphony where Brazilian and Japanese influences dance together. Our journey into Manila is more than just an expansion; it’s an immersion into the rich tapestry of flavors and experiences unique to this vibrant city.”

I told him that Uma Nota gives off a club-y vibe, which he said is one of their goals on top of the restaurant-bar concept. He said they’re still sorting out how to transition the resto-bar into a dance club post-dinner.

Shelf of Brazilian and Japanese records
The Meiji room pays tribute to Brazilian and Japanese cultural influences.




The menu and interiors pay tribute to the mass migration of the Japanese people to the fertile lands of São Paulo, where they found their home in the vibrant neighborhood of Liberdade during the Meiji era in the early 20th century.

We sampled Executive Chef Gustavo Vargas and Manila Head Chef Kyle Ureta’s carefully crafted dishes that feature Brazilian and Japanese cultural food influences.

Girl in red dress standing in restaurant dining area
Kate was here in the Tropicália room. My take: It’s best to come at dinnertime when the lights aren’t too dim yet for you to miss the little details of their interiors, including the collection of vinyl records.

 

For the Japanese side, try the vegan-friendly Avocado Roll, ₱450, which gives you an avocado maki with grilled asparagus, shibuzake pickles, cucumber, vegan herb mayo, and and crispy cassava. There’s also the Salmon Roll, ₱800, best for pescetarians, which fuses the raw salmon with cucumber, wasabi cream cheese, avocado, sweet soy, and ikura.

Japanese sushi rolls
Front: Salmon Roll, ₱800
Back: Avocado Roll, ₱450




For the Brazilian side, try the Coxinhas de Frango, ₱700, chicken and okra croquettes with homemade chilli sauce, and Dadinhos de Tapioca, ₱600, tapioca and cheese dices with sweet chilli sauce. Tataki de Carne de Sol, ₱950, is a light beef tenderloin with smoked ponzu, light mayo, and crispy shallots.

Plated Brazilian croquettes
Coxinhas de Frango, ₱700
Plated beef tenderloin
Tataki de Carne de Sol, ₱950. For those who have been following my blog for years, you might be confused by the presence of meat in my latest posts. After being a pescetarian since 2005, I’m now flexitarian.
Brazilian-Japanese feast, including the star of the show, the A4 Kumo-Oh Japanese Wagyu Striploin, ₱8,500 (rear)

For a fancier feast, spend on the A4 Kumo-Oh Japanese Wagyu Striploin, ₱8,500 for 180kg of beef from Wagyu, Japan. I got mine medium well, but my neighboring foodies said their medium rare version was a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Noted for my next visit.

Head bartender Ben Tshuva’s cocktails range from ₱550-800. We got the Maracucha (lime, passion fruit, and cachaca) and Coco Verde (lime, coconut milk, pandan, mint, and cachaca). But after peeking at the other table’s orders, I was jealous of the girls that ordered the Red Flag (Arette Tequila, Mancino Rosso Amaranto, Mezcal, Durango, raspberry chilli syrup, and Togarashi seasoning on the rim). For each order of Red Flag, the waitress takes your Intax photo and clips it to the glass, making you the red flag. As someone who’s been avoiding red flag dates for years, it would have been a naughty treat to be labeled the red flag for a night.

Save room for dessert. The Abacaxi Churrasco is a treat of roasted pineapple, coconut ice cream, almond coconut crumble, and Japanese whisky caramel sauce. If you prefer a more flamboyant presentation for your IG/TikTok reel, ask for the Matcha Layered Cake, ₱600. It arrives entombed in bright pinky fluffy cotton candy, which the server will torch down to the middle to reveal the hidden matcha cake.

@replikate #KateWasHere #UmaNota #UmaNotaManila #UmaNotaBGC #dessert @Uma Nota Manila ♬ Vlog ・ Stylish city pop(1275391) – orino

Matcha Layered Cake, P600
Brazilian plated dessert
Abacaxi Churrasco

I returned to Uma Nota a week later as a regular customer. It was almost midnight with the lights dimmer than the dinner setting during my first visit, making the works of art fade into the background. The DJ’s beats took over the ambience, and BGC’s after-dinner crowd filled up the place, turning the Living Room and DJ area into a makeshift dance floor. It looks like the transition has successfully happened.

Uma Nota is located at Shangri-La The Fort 30th Street, corner 5th Ave, Taguig, Metro Manila. It’s open from Tuesdays to Sundays at 6pm-2am. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, it’s open from 6pm-4pm. IG & FB @umanota.manila