Carmelo “Melo” Santiago, the man behind the Melo’s Steak House chain, House of Wagyu and Carmelo’s, is often called “the guru of steaks.” Aside from being one of the first to introduce certified Angus beef in the country, he has mastered every conceivable method of cooking it.
An excellent steak is only as delectable as its preparation. And this is why I say that I had heaven for lunch.
Carmelo’s Wagyu Tomahawk (bone-in ribeye) Roast Beef is to-die-for. It is perfectly seared with smokey charred salt and pepper crust, studded with garlic cloves.
Once carved, it is juicy and perfectly medium rare all the way through. Beefy and flavor-packed, it melts in the mouth.
It comes with rice (stir-fried with steak trimmings) that on its own is a standout, and old-fashioned mashed potatoes infused with truffle.
It was excellent considering that I had it two hours after it was delivered to my doorstep.
Melo’s pâté is good too, with a kick. A nice twist from the usual. For orders, call Carmelo’s at tel. nos. 6255954 and 6255986.
Chef Cristina Santiago Rivera puts together one of the best dessert buffets. Her cakes are unique, with a sophisticated flair. They can be given as gifts.
Rivera is Melo Santiago’s daughter.
Among her latest creations, I love the cheese roll and ensaymada. Very soft and airy yet chewy. With each bite is a light sprinkling of sugar and generous helping of cheese and creamy butter.
Call Sweet Bella at tel. no. 8468243.
Gravlax and king crab legs
Ever since I started getting my smoked salmon from Chingling Tanco of Mida Foods, it has been difficult to find others that are as satisfying.
Her salmon is firm, with no aftertaste, and it never crumbles even after defrosting. It remains chewy and simply delicious.
Hers is salmon trout, smoked fresh, then frozen. Because it does not go through refreezing, the natural oils and wonderful flavors of fresh salmon are locked in.
This year, Mida Foods has come up with gravlax. No need to cure salmon in salt, sugar and dill and to wait days before you can enjoy it.
I serve mine sprinkled with freshly cracked pepper, lemon wedges, crisp bread and mustard dill sauce made by combining ½ c sour cream, 2 tsp wine vinegar, 3 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp chopped capers and 2-3 tsp fresh dill, pinch of sugar and salt.
Alaskan king crab legs
This is another treat: sweet, large chunks of crab meat, a satisfying mouthful that tastes of the sea. It has been par boiled, thawed and quick-steamed for five to eight minutes.
Although I made a sauce, I didn’t serve it after I tasted the crab meat. I believe it is best eaten alone with just a squeeze of lemon.
For gravlax, king crab, smoked salmon and hamachi, call 5240006.
Known for her chocolate cupcakes (custard-filled, moist and frosted), food for the gods (bars and ice cream) and Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies, Roshan is, to put it mildly, obsessive about her craft, and it shows. Not one star of chocolate icing on her cupcake is off shaped or out of place.
I’ve been enjoying something new from her kitchen—Green Tea White Chocolate Belgian Torte. Every component of this cake is a personal favorite. Crisp chunky walnut merengue is iced with white chocolate and green tea butter cream. You literally feel the calories with every bite.
Roshan’s latest creation is Brandied Fruitcake Ice Cream.
Call Homemade by Roshan at tel. nos. 6317786 or 0917-8336286.
Juda Liu’s white fruitcake is one of the treats I look forward to at this time of year. The ice cream tastes very similar to the cake and vice versa—moist, soft, rich, buttery, spiced and spiked. Call Costa Brava at tel. no. 8966872.