You can tell by the increasingly heavy road traffic… Christmas is here!
But that Christmas reunion will have to push through, “Yolanda” notwithstanding. So the perennial question will be asked: “Saan tayo?”
There’s a new venue to explore just outside the Mall of Asia: Two E-com Center. The 180-degree view of Manila as you land on the fourth level is beautiful: the expanse of the sky, a lighted Ferris wheel to the west…and if the weather cooperates, you may just have a breeze and the moon smiling on you.
The restaurant to visit is House of Wagyu. Yes, this spin-off of the Melo brand of steaks has a lot of branches but this branch has the best view. The inside’s not too shabby and borders on posh: chestnut interiors, tile art on the walls and a wine bar to greet guests—to my mind, the best welcome!
The food is your classic House of Wagyu fare. If you haven’t been, here’s the lowdown:
First, choose your Wagyu. There are various grades: 6, 7, 8, 10, 12. Those who want the butter knife steak should go with the higher grades. Personally, I like my steak chewable and not too melt-in-your-mouth, so I’m happy with the Rib Eye Grade 8. But I’m more “masa” than “maselan.” For the hearty eaters, there’s a Porterhouse. For the patriots, there is Wagyu salpicao. But their specialty is the rib-eye.
Let me clarify though that the beef here is Australian, not Japanese. Don’t expect Kobe. That being said, I would argue that Asian-Australian mixes are mighty fine. What this means is that the cattle for the beef was not raised in Kobe. Instead, they use Wagyu cattle (of Japanese descent) raised in Australia. So you will have steak that is tender without being too delicate.
No ordinary stone
Next, you will be provided a bib. Wear it or you risk staining your Paul Smith. This is because the waiter will place a stone grill before you to cook your steak on. Mind you, this is no ordinary stone. According to Corinne, the lady of the house, these are Japanese volcanic stones that are specifically designed for searing steak because Wagyu is best served seared. This stone grill is kept in the oven for hours so it will arrive on your plate piping hot.
Then you will be given instructions on how to cook the steak to your desired doneness. Be sure to listen carefully.
Finally, the steak will be laid out on the grill for you to cook and enjoy. The result: a thoroughly enjoyable steak dinner.
Few people would come here for anything else. If you must, they also have oysters, pasta and really good sea bass. But that would be like going to the Vatican and skipping the Sistine Chapel.
Melo Santiago is said to have declared, when he opened Melo’s back in 1989, “I will serve the best steak.” Kudos to his longevity in serving great steak and for continuing to achieve this mission through his Houses of Wagyu.
House of Wagyu Stone Grill is at 4/F Two E-com Center, Prism Plaza, Ocean Drive, Pasay City. Call tel. nos. 8565604 or 5538437. Open for dinner only from 6 to 11 p.m.
No reservations required. Major credit cards are accepted. Parking available in the building. Elevator access for wheelchairs.