BLACKBIRD MAKATI: Aviation-Themed Restaurant by Chef Colin Mackay at Nielson Tower

As featured in MAKATI: 10 Most Awesome NEW Restaurants in Makati 2014! @MakeItMakati


BLACKBIRD is the Aviation-themed, Contemporary European and Asian Restaurant of Chef Colin Mackay of Sala and People’s Palace fame. It is located at the Neilson Tower of the old Manila International Airport and is named after the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft. The ambiance is inspired by an Airport Terminal and its Art Deco building in the heart of Makati City.

We tried Blackbird with our partners and we loved it! Check out one of our favorite restaurants of 2014…

BLACKBIRD by Chef Colin Mackay 
Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle, Makati City, across the Peninsula Hotel.
Telephone: +632 828-4888
Operating Hours: Open Daily 11.00am to 12.00mn

Nielsen Tower
The Neilson Tower was originally the Manila International Air Terminal built in 1937 and was used during the Japanese occupation until 1947.

77 years later, Chef Colin Mackay has transformed it into one of the best restaurants in the Philippines today.

Upon entering, you are greeted by the chic lounge where you can hang out with friends for cocktails before dinner.

The bar area is inspired by the airport lounge for passengers waiting for their flight.

The art deco black & white motif is beautiful. An elegant white grand staircase is the centerpiece.

Outside is a bar area amidst the greenery of Ayala Triangle.

Make sure to reserve early to get a seat inside, but you can always opt for an al fresco table, which is also nice, especially during this “BER” season.

BLACKBIRD MENU: Day Menu | Night Menu | Desserts | Wines

The restaurant has a maximum capacity of 140 for dinner and 80 for lunch. The menu is inspired by the international nature of the former airport.

The Spiral Staircase leads to the historic Airport Terminal tower, where the first news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor was heard.

The 2nd floor can be reserved for private dining for P50,000 + service charge. It can fit a group of about 12-20 people comfortably.  


✮ Prawn Scotch Eggs, Betel Leaves, Coconut Chili Sambal (P280 +10% service charge).

A Miang Kham inspired appetizer with scotch quail eggs. The bitterness and spiciness with the coconut, prawn, and egg flavors are guaranted to get your appetite ready. 

✮ Crab Cakes, Green Apple, Radish, Mustard Slaw (P560 +10% service charge).

The crab cakes are flavorful with just the right crispy crust. Must be eaten together with the apple and creamy slaw.

✮ Grand Burge Hillcot Merlot 2012 Australia (P2,960 +10% service charge).

They have a good curated Wine list. I would recommend this full-bodied Hillcot Merlot from Australia. 

We celebrated the successful launch of The Big Banquet and planned for the next one on Oct. 12, Sunday, at The Blue Leaf Filipinas.

✮ Twice Cooked Beef Short Rib, Sweet Fish Sauce, Hot and Sour Salad (P680 +10% service charge).

This is so good! The flavor is infused into the short rib with a Thai twist.

Tiger Prawn, Pomelo, Palm Heart, Lemon Grass, Nuoc Cham (P420 +10% service charge)

A good Thai salad to start with.

Mushrooms, Guanciale, Fontina, Thyme, Truffle Oil (P460 +10% service charge).

This pizza is good, too. With truffle, mushrooms, and a chewy crust. Not too heavy and best eaten hot.

✮ Gnocchi, Bacon, Blue Cheese, Sage (P480 +10% service charge).

For pasta, I recommend this creamy mac & cheese-inspired Gnocchi cooked al dente.

Pappardelle, Duck Raguot, Mascarpone, Rosemary Chili Crumbs (P540 +10% service charge).

In fact, all the pastas are good. They’re well-prepared by the kitchen with interesting flavor combinations.



✮ The Blackbird Burger, Scamorza, Pickles, Tomato Chili Jam and Fries (P620 +10% service charge).

This burger is so delicious, all of us raved about it. Comes with a meaty patty with truffle. Simple but yummy. 

Australian Chilled Grass Fed Tenderloin Horseradish Potato Gratin, Spinach and Confited Garlic Jus (P1,200 +10% service charge).

I love grass fed beef. I’m glad they serve it here with a great flavor finish. Some people say the Ribeye is better though.

✮ Blackbird Fish Pie Salmon, Smoked Trout, Sweet Shrimps, Creamy Leeks, Potato Crust (P740 +10% service charge).

I also recommend this salmon pie. Not too creamy but flavorful, has a crunchy crust, and is big enough to share.



Tip: Make sure to order and reserve dessert in advance because they usually run out due to their popularity. 

Apple Nougatine Tart, Burnt Butter Ice Cream (P340 +10% service charge).

The burnt butter flavor of this apple pie a la mode is what made it good.

✮ Sticky Date Pudding, Caramel Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream (P360 +10% service charge).

People rave about the sticky date pudding. It has the right amount of sweetness and walnuts to balance the taste.

✮ Burnt Butter and Vanilla Seed Ice Cream, Chocolate Brownie, Candied Pop Corn, Salted Caramel (P380 +10% service charge).

This sundae is the best! I especially love the candied pop corn. Highly Recommended.

Baked Alaska, Raspberry, Passionfruit (P380 +10% service charge).

Good and well-executed. Only a few restaurants in Manila can pull off a Baked Alaska.

Darjeeling Himalaya Tea 

Lovely Darjeeling Tea to complete an awesome meal. 🙂 

Congratulations to Chef Colin Mackay for the successful Blackbird restaurant!


Overall, I love the Sala x People’s Palace flavors and the Aviation Theme x Art Deco ambiance. Highly recommended for a nice, happy meal with friends, or for celebrating a special occasion with your family and loved ones. 

It’s elegant but still chic-casual. No wonder it attracts the chi-chi crowd of Manila.

I recommend the Prawn Scotch Eggs and Twice Cooked Beef Short Rib for your starters, order the The Blackbird Burger and Blackbird Fish Pie Salmon for your Main Course, then finish with the Burnt Butter and Vanilla Seed Ice Cream for dessert!  

Budget P3,000/head for a 3-course meal with wine. Reserve the private room at the top floor if you’re dining with a big group.

Congratulations again to Chef Colin Mackay for his winning Blackbird concept!

BLACKBIRD by Chef Colin Mackay 
Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle, Makati City, across the Peninsula Hotel.
Telephone: +632 828-4888
Operating Hours: Open Daily 11.00am to 12.00mn

Related Blog Post:
Cheryl TiuChef Colin MacKay’s Black Bird has landed.. at the Nielson Tower, Makati
Jin Loves to EatBlackbird ♥ ♥


Live an Awesome Life,


Disclosure: We paid for our meal. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.  

P.S. The place wasn’t called Blackbird to go with the trend of Color + Animal Resto names in Manila right now. It was just coincidental.

3 thoughts on “BLACKBIRD MAKATI: Aviation-Themed Restaurant by Chef Colin Mackay at Nielson Tower

  1. Hi, Anton how are you? Thanks for your post. These pictures are nice and clear. Parang namasyal na rin ako nito. I wish that I can visit in Philippines soon or later. Their dishes are unique and I think that those are mouthwatering and delicious as well. This is also a good place to travel by the foreigners and even balikbayans. Have a nice day always.

  2. I was very disappointed with the food. Very overrated. The portions were also so small. The setting is however beautiful but the food fell flat. Too bad.

  3. This is such a wonderful article. Thank you for featuring this beautiful restaurant where history comes alive. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *