Mamou first opened in 2007 in Serendra BGC to rave reviews. This home kitchen concept offered indulgent, home-style comfort food done the Malou Fores way. It had an eclectic menu of dishes inspired by her travels, including the now famous Mamou steaks (influenced by legendary New York steakhouse, Peter Luger) that made the restaurant a perennial top choice for steak lovers, even if Mamou isn’t a steakhouse per se in the traditional sense.
What make the Mamou steaks so special? At first glance, one may suspect that it is just the technique used to cook the beef. But according to Mamou’s main beef supplier, from day one, it was always really due to the owners’ penchant for sourcing the best quality beef. They did not settle on serving only “top choice” grade US beef which was, at the time of their opening, the highest grade beef served by their direct competitors. Instead, the owners insisted on using the higher, more expensive “prime grade” beef as its signature steak. It was a ballsy decision that paid off handsomely in the long run. And this established Mamou early on as a top tier steak provider in the metro. Even 13 years later, the steaks at Mamou continue to be among its bestsellers to date.
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Aside from its consistently good comfort fare, Mamou is also known for its impeccable yet friendly service. Thus it comes as no surprise that it has lasted this long with most of its original opening crew still on board. Having expanded to three locations (Serendra, Rockwell, and Ayala The 30th), Mamou recently went back into high gear with the February opening of its fourth branch called Mamou Prime.
Located at a prime spot on the ground floor of The Podium, this latest Mamou happens to be its biggest one. Unlike the homier vibe of its other branches, this modern bi-level space resembles a mini Guggenheim Museum thanks to its central spiral staircase and concrete minimalism.
What to expect at the new Mamou? “Mamou Prime will offer the Mamou dishes you have come to know and return to time and again,” says Fores, referring to her well-loved recipes that moved and inspired her to open her home kitchen to the public. Of course, there’s Mamou’s powerhouse Angus Ribeye USDA Prime Grade Twin Steak (approximately 800 grams) that comes with a choice of two sides: red steak rice, mashed potatoes, or creamed spinach.
Also very popular with Mamou regulars is the deceptively simple yet delish Lorenzo’s Truffle Cream using spaghettini with truffle-flavored cream and grated Grana Padano cheese, as well as the Pasta Cipolla with sweet onions in anchovy cream.
As far as salads are concerned, my favorite is still the Healdsburg’s Harvest composed of greens in season, sweet tomatoes, glazed pecans, dried cranberries, cranberry, Stilton cheese, tossed in a berry vinaigrette.
These classic dishes are complemented by recently added specials that are available at all the branches. Mamou’s take on the Caesar Salad is comprised of crisped romaine lettuce, croutons, and anchovy dressing, inspired by Caesar Cardini, the original creator of the salad.
Also available is a hearty Lobster Linguini with a choice of white or red sauce, as well as Cordero or tasty breaded young lamb chops that come with a lime and anchovy sauce.
But unlike the other branches, Mamou Prime serves as a canvas for Fores to play and showcase special dishes that are only available there. Among those dishes is a Spanish Camino de Santiago-inspired hearty soup or caldo called Cream of Leeks and Cabbage, as well as a seasonal Market Salad featuring an ever-changing selection of whatever is in season. The current version has quinoa, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, and assorted greens.
For steaks, the Prime menu offers a choice of two Snake River Farms Wagyu steaks, T-bone or porterhouse. For dessert, the Apple Tarte Tano is a rustic take on traditional tarte tatin, set individually in a crock, topped with puff pastry, and served with the best Schlag or whipped cream in town.
Another Mamou Prime exclusive is a new wine program that the owners proudly launched in collaboration with Premium Wine Exchange, a well-known local purveyor of fine wines. Thanks to this partnership, the restaurant now offers its diners a bigger selection of wines, from house to premium, to pair with their meals, and sold at wine store prices. According to Fores, diners also have the option to buy wines at the restaurant for home consumption at no additional cost.
Those looking for a more private dining experience will surely appreciate the semi-private nooks and the mezzanine level private room that one can book for special gatherings.
Mamou Prime, G/F The Podium, 12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, (0917) 506-2668
Photos by Chris Clemente