Latest Stories


Maple–when bigger doesn’t always mean better


MAPLE’S interiors

The ultimate dream of almost any chef is to have that single, out-of-the-way restaurant that’s booked up months in advance and where people travel to rather than stop by. But if common sense and accountants had their way, these restaurants would never exist: They’re high-risk projects whose rewards are vanity and ego and self-fulfillment.

Find a good intersection and get yourself a Jollibee franchise, or better still, a gas station. Remember that the Buko King stand at the corner makes more money than El Bulli ever did.

Treading the cautious middle ground, and ultimately the most profitable, are restaurants to which customers are willing to come back again and again.

Apart from KFC, which powered my brain for lunch and dinner while living abroad, and which still has a strange pull to me, the restaurant where we end up with the family usually turns out to be Pancake House.

I didn’t know that Pancake House had anything to do with Maple when I decided to try the latter after a long time deriding its name. Why would anyone put up a restaurant named Maple, anyway? Are they Canadian? Do we have maple trees in this country?

My wife gently removed my ’70s-era, post-colonial nationalist hat from my head and the soapbox from beneath my feet and reasoned that if Filipinos born and bred could put up Ramen Yushoken or Wee Nam Kee,  there’s no reason why someone so inclined should put up a North American-named and -themed restaurant.

All-day breakfast

Our former colonial masters, after all, left us with a taste for consuming gluttonous amounts of sugar, butter, eggs and meat, which is what one does at Maple. The governing idea behind the place is that one can have breakfast food at any time of the day or night, which is something I thoroughly agree with, because I feel that breakfast is a meal that happens far too early in the day to get up for.

There was a sneaky, roguish, transgressive frisson about having savory country pancakes, eggs Benedict, and prime rib tapa at 5:30 in the afternoon.

SAVORY country pancakes

I can’t fault anything about the prime rib tapa, which is exactly what its name promises: the flavors of tapa without having to chew through overcooked brown wrinkled bits; prime rib that wasn’t just a browned slab of meat but juicy and spicy and served with relish and dip. It’s served with two eggs and a token spoonful or two of rice in case you want to sprinkle it over your protein.

The slab of meat is about as perfect as beef tapa can get. The eggs Bendict arrived as two impeccably poached eggs with smoky bacon and lovely soft pillows of starch, but suffered from the usual problem that yolk on fat on carbs with fried potatoes on the side sat very heavily in one’s stomach even after just a few bites, and there was far too much of it. The country pancakes, unfortunately, were a morass of fluff and grease and creamed butter and sticky, sickly-sweet syrup.

The food was delicious enough when it arrived, but we couldn’t finish any of the dishes and spent a bit of time in a stuporous state, probably when the fat content of our meal traveled upwards and replaced the blood flow to our brains.

Stimulated but not satisfied

Like sodas and junk food, which are carefully engineered to stimulate our senses in a complex manner but not enough to satisfy, one leaves Maple (after coming to one’s senses) feeling completely stuffed but with the weird feeling of not having eaten enough, as if someone else had eaten a large meal and then swapped it into your stomach, leaving you full yet wanting to eat.

But even as the food left me, or at least my stomach, puzzled and dissatisfied, it must be pleasing to at least some people because a branch has opened at Shangri-La Mall and the owners are hiring for yet another in Alabang; and it was buzzing and crowded even at an odd time to be having a meal.

But perhaps that’s what all-day breakfasts are all about: the subversiveness of eating when you want to, and of liberating breakfast food from the confines of breakfast. But ideally, the way to preserve the spirit of breakfast, but make it more so, is not to make it bigger, richer and sweeter, but to bring to it the refinement and discernment that chefs usually bring to a “proper” meal.

Maple makes a valiant attempt but goes overboard with the calories, cholesterol, and the gleaming but deadly syrup they use which is maple-flavored but definitely not maple, which is unfortunate for a restaurant that goes by that name.

Maple, as it turns out, is Pancake House gone extra-large, but unfortunately not extra-good. For the moment I’ll stick with our local branch of the original—and for dinner, I’ll eat a proper meal.

Maple is at the 2/F, San Antonio Plaza, 50 McKinley Road, Makati City; tel. 6216211.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Other Stories:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

  • acidicboy

    overrated, absolutely poor service and mediocre food. their fried chicken tastes exactly like that of pancake house’s but they charge more.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  3. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  4. Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  5. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  6. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  7. A tale of two Priscillas: my mother Prissy and Chona Recto Kasten
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  1. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  4. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  8. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  9. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  10. This is not just a farm
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • 2 teenagers killed in Mlang, North Cotabato
  • No sympathy from North Korea over ferry disaster
  • 4 French journalists freed from Syria captors home
  • De Lima on Gigi Reyes: Let’s wait and see
  • South Korean relatives divided over whether to raise ferry
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Lifestyle

  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus