Sunday, August 9, 2009

Trila in Manila 1: Mamou: A home kitchen, Manila

with Ted

Happy birthday to Singapore!!! To celebrate, here is my report on a home kitchen specializing in steak in Manila. This is one of my favourite steak places...and the only one in Asia to be modelled after, and come close to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn.



Ted is an old friend (yikes, its almost 20 years ago when we were trainees at a large multinational...are we that old?) and a fellow foodie who is Filipino and lives in Manila. He introduced me to this small eatery owned by Malou Fores some years ago, and its been a ritual of ours every time I am in Manila.


Complimentary warm home made bread rolls

Our passion for Malou's cooking was particularly centered on the beautiful steaks that come out of her kitchen. This time, a revised menu was presented and it offered US Angus beef which is dry aged! The excitement mounts, as in previous visits, the regular US Angus beef steaks were wonderful. Dry aging would make the steaks even more delectable!

Presented as medium rare, the steak came pre-cut (like in Peter Luger's), and almost submerged in a pool of oil. The plate was hot, and tilted at an angle to allow the pool to drain to one side...and available as gravy if one choses.

The Twin...a 800g cut of beef on the bone, grilled over a charcoal fire, done medium rare, near Chicago style. Meant to be shared by 2 persons.

The steak was wonderful. The dry aging showed up with its characteristic calling card - a foie gras flavour, imbued on the fatty parts which just melted and exploded all at once in the mouth. The meat was rather lean save for a trimming of fat at the corners- perhaps the fat had already drained off during the cooking. But it was tender, soft and flavourful.



A piece of steak, presented hence, almost bare of any seasoning...just good meat, dry aged, carefully trimmed and cut, and correctly grilled has satisfied the primary instincts of the first man who discovered fire, and still satisfies the modern man. And no matter how sophisticated our palates develop to, no matter how seasoned we are with complex cooking techniques, this primordial urge is still easily satisfied by a good piece of meat cooked simply.



Compared to my memory of a steak I ate at Peter Lugers years ago, this one is just as satisfying...perhaps PL's cut was different - porterhouse compared to a Mamou's rib cut, and more marbled. But both had a wonderful texture (tender, soft, buttery), both had the foie gras flavour, both were immensely satsifying.

We had the fat trimmed off, and the chef toasted this into crispy lard flakes...so gorgeous in the mouth feel, and full of umami. And the remainder fat on the plate can be used to fry up some rice for a fantastic fried rice...but we did not have space for that.

We washed the steak down with a nice half bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, already decanted and served in a carafe - always a good accompaniment to steak. The light tannins interact with the protein...very pleasant.

And we had key lime pie and pecan pie (really good too) as dessert after. I had a cup of double espresso, which turned out to be too diluted and was the only complaint I had all evening at this marvellous little restaurant.

I booked ieat at this restaurant tonight for him to celebrate our National Day as he is in Manila today. Watch out for his report later.



Mamou, 1C -
15F Serendra, Fort Bonifatio Heights, Taguig City, Manila. Tel:
+63-856-3569. Mobile for Annie Nontano, Store Manager
+63-917-816-2668. Owner is Malou Flores.

Reservations essential. Mamou practices two strict sittings for dinner - first sitting at 6:30pm and second at 8:30pm.

Mamou is marked by green arrow:

GPS: N14°32'58.32", E121°3'15.06"


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