Leslie recommended that I go and try this restaurant in Bangkok...Ma Be Ba...better than Mamou's in Manila, he says. What a strange name, me thinks...and better than Mamou's? This intrigued me. So the first evening I was back in Bangkok, I took a stroll to Soi Lang Suan.
The restaurant was cavernous. Huge. Looked like a cave...high walls...huge murals on the ceiling...various paintings on the walls. Interesting. At 7pm, the whole place was almost empty. An Italian family was occupying a table...and there was me.
I ordered a glass of the house red...a Chianti...not bad...soothed, I ordered their fillet...the waitress said it was very good...I described I wanted it Chicago medium...oops, mistake...blank look on her face...I explained...medium rare inside, but charred outside...she nodded, apparently understanding what I wanted, but puzzled as to why would anyone want a steak like that. She said she will tell the chef...I watched her walk to the kitchen and explain to the chef...who was Italian, so she spoke in English...and she repeated what I had wanted.
I settled down to nurse my wine, and a basket of freshly baked bread was presented. The bread was outstanding, as was the dips. Very promising. Leads me to believe that the pizza probably is very good...indeed the Italian table ordered some large pizzas...looked and smelled good.
The steak arrived. It was disappointingly not Chicago medium. There was hardly any charring on the outside. It was nestled on a bed of vegetables, and hash brown. I cut it open:
It was indeeed medium rare inside. The meat was very tender...too tender that I suspect generous use of chemical tenderiser. The meat was lifeless. Tender, soft. No beefy taste, no charred flavours (of course!), no foie gras notes. Just soft beef. The sauce was very salty, though it was very tasty.
So great steak? Absolutely not. NY Steakhouse at the JW Marriott at Sukhumvit Road is superior. So don't talk to me about unseating Mamou. Aston's trounces it. The breads promise a nice pizza, but I didn't try it.
p.s. Normally I try and only do good reviews and only for restaurants I would recommend. At least one item that I ate at the restaurant has to be good, or something else was exceptional. For Mabeba Bangkok, this was the bread basket...the steak was disappointing, hardly something worth a sidetrip to sample. So perhaps this is an exception entry.
Ma Be Ba Italian Restaurant
93, Lang Suan Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok