Where to get home-cooked meals at the mall this Grandparents’ Day
This Sunday is Grandparents’ Day, but arguably every Sunday should be like that—or more generically known as family day, when everyone congregates at the family table to gather and talk about the week’s news.
Family classics like sinigang and grilled fish are staples at my parents’, and when I’m feeling homesick I tend to seek out the same home-cooked food I grew up with.
There are plenty of options now for families seeking home-cooked meals out of the house—whether you’re waiting out evening rush-hour traffic at the mall, or gathering with family and friends over Sunday dinner. Here are a few options that evoke meals made for the family table.
Classic ‘batchoy’ reinvented
What to try: Mamou Mami (P260), perfect rainy-day accompaniment modeled after La Paz Batchoy; Kurobuta Sinigang (P475), made with Japanese black pig in a tamarind broth; Lorenzo’s Truffle Cream Pasta (P390); Lola Femya’s Birthday Spaghetti (P285), an off-menu special made with tomato-based cream sauce and imported corned beef
Where: Mamou, UG/F, Unit 1046, Ayala Malls The 30th, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City; tel. 0917-866-2668
Why: Mamou 3.0 is the new Mamou—its third location at The 30th is a hipper, “more millennial” take on the interiors, while retaining the same classic menu.
At Mamou, home-style cooking defines the menu. “We tell guests, ‘This is your home, our food here is the food that you cook in your homes,’” says manager Annie Montano-Gutierrez, known to Mamou regulars as Tita Annie. “Like our lamb tapa: Everybody cooks tapa at home, so what’s our twist on it? It’s lamb served with rice and eggs.”
Mamou is known for its steak, modeled after Peter Luger with one innovation. The fat is cooked and the toasted bits topped over the steak, which are then served with a side of rice also cooked in the fat.
But the classic concept now has new-ish items on the menu that evoke comfort food. Mamou has taken a cue from Recovery Food (also part of the same group) and crafted its version of La Paz Batchoy, modeled after the ultimate classic mami from Bacolod.
Mamou’s Malou Fores utilizes brisket, which, thanks to the fat between the bones, offers a rich, condensed beefy flavor, topped with egg noodles, liver and chicharon.
The Kurobuta Sinigang is its refined take on the Pinoy classic. “Malou’s mom used to cook sinigang at home with lots of tomatoes,” Tita Annie says, “made malapot because of gabi, but Malou added something which is the imported Italian tomato sauce. It looks like kare- kare but when you taste it, it’s sinigang.”
It’s served with bagoong rice on the side. She recommends pairing it with tofu and smoked fish spring rolls.
Venison Curry was inspired by a friend of Fores’ who owns an island with plenty of local deer. This version offers tender venison instead of the usual beef.
An off-menu dish that you need to order before it disappears is a classic in the Fores household: Lola Femya’s Birthday Spaghetti, named after their longtime yaya who used to cook the dish at the Bahay na Puti of the Aranetas. Every year, Lola Femya would make the pasta dish for family birthdays, crafting it from a tomato-based sauce with cream and butter, made even more decadent with imported corned beef.
These new dishes are developed every quarter (you’ll spot them on tent cards), but only make it to the menu if they meet success with the restaurant’s clientele.
Mamou is famous for its family-style dining, with recipes extended from the family and kitchen of Malou Fores, but what Tita Annie would like to highlight is its value-for-money prices.
“You may order around P2,000 to P3,000 worth,” she says, “but you can share it. It’s good for three persons.”
Classic dishes from 1969 menu
What to try: Pinoy faves like Pancit Maria (P260), made with special flat noodles; Dagupan bangus (P630), large enough to serve two to three people; pinakbet (P275); and crispy pata (P690)
Where: Floating Island, Second Floor, Ayala Malls The 30th, Meralco Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City; tel. 6354814, 0945-1544655
Why: Famous since its 1969 inception, Floating Island is known for offering comfort food to homesick patients recovering at Makati Medical Center.
“It’s food that you’re used to at home,” says Alex Revilla, president of Floating Island and son of founder Vincent Revilla. “If you’re a patient, these are the things that temporarily take you away from that.
“Because the concept started in a hospital, it’s home-cooked food,” he says. “They tried other dishes like Italian, French, but it didn’t work.”
When Revilla opened the second outpost, the original intention was to offer a compressed menu, highlighting the specialties. “But we noticed that the people who visit Makati Med come here and ask why we don’t have the same food.”
Today, the menu at The 30th reflects that of its original, filled with rustic comfort food that everyone looks forward to— whether from a short stint at the hospital or a long day at the office.
Highlights of the menu include Pancit Maria, made with special flat noodles ordered from a specific supplier, along with lumpia tinapa, tuna melt sandwich and beef tapa.
“In the hospital, beef tapa is a staple for many customers,” says Revilla. “After they fast for a test they come here and order that—that’s why we call it the ‘Blood Test Special.’”
Caldereta, lomi and adobo rice have been popular staples on their menu since 1969.
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