The Fores family, one of the most active families in the restaurant scene, has another member joining the food industry fray—Amado.
Inspired by last year’s trip to Rome, Tuscany, Venice and most of the Emilia Romagna region, the 28-year-old scion has just opened a mano Restaurant at Power Plant Mall, Rockwell.
Amado, while no veteran in the kitchen, is abreast of food trends. He has a sharp palate to decipher the great from the mere good, is a team player, and has a mind and eye for minute details.
He was born to the restaurant industry, after all—a provenance already apparent in his maiden venture at this early stage.
He grew up amid the goings-on in his mother Margarita Fores’ casual-dining chain Cibo, which celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year. (Cibo now has 14 branches, with three more opening by year’s end, including in Bacolod, its first outside of Manila.)
Margarita runs a tight ship, with sister Bledes and brother Oye, who also owns and manages crowd-pleasers Recovery Food and Mamou.
The eldest of the Fores siblings, Jo, has a bar, Pappy Bistro, on Bolanos Street in Makati.
Raul, Oye’s son, who worked as chef in the United States, opened Lokal in Poblacion and Made Nice at Rockwell, Makati.
Now Amado’s a mano Restaurant speaks volumes. Its concept is clear. The name alone, a mano, (“by hand” in Italian), indicates that items are made thoughtfully by hand.
This becomes apparent as soon as you enter the door. Chefs in white garb greet you as they roll out various shapes of fresh pasta on the marble worktable.
Beside them is the pizza station where a chef prepares the pizza before it’s put in the oven.
The open kitchen is designed as dining theater where guests see how the cannoli is rolled before it’s fried and stuffed with creamy ricotta filling, or how the dough of the focaccia di Recco from Liguria is stuffed with cheese before placed in high heat to achieve the crispy texture.
The space, much like the dishes, is sheer simplicity— timeless and refined. Textured gray walls blend with the egg yolk-yellow tiles. And while the chevron print on the floor adds a touch of fancy, it doesn’t overshadow the conversation pieces, which are the brick red Valoriani oven and Faema coffee machine, both brands are top of the line and convey the restaurant’s commitment to quality.
The menu classifies the dishes according to their region of origin, and strives for authenticity—there is no cream in the carbonara, just the classic components of black pepper, guanciale and egg yolk.
The deep flavor of Ragù Bolognese reveals the long hours spent to make it. Fresh clams lend briny taste to the vongole which has velvety sauce and al dente noodles— proof that much thought has been put in the process.
The Garganelli Bianco, Amado’s favorite, was inspired by what he thoroughly enjoyed in Michael White’s Fiamma Restaurant. Fresh garganelli pasta is bathed in cream and truffle butter, with prosciutto and fresh peas tossed in.
Such homage to tradition extends to the pizza—the Margherita con Bufala made of tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella is a nod to the version in Campania, and the 4 Formaggi, composed of gorgonzola, emmental, parmigiano reggiano and mozzarella bufala is from the region of Lombardy.
A must-order is the “Carbonara” Pizza, its chewy dough smothered with white sauce and the egg yolk made rich with strips of smoked pork jowl.
The entrees are a heartier fare and can be shared by many. There’s chicken fillet drenched in rosemary-infused brown butter, a bone-in rib eye steak with potato skins and in-house salt mix, and a whole fish baked in parchment paper to be deboned and divided tableside.
You know that a restaurant invests in its food when the desserts draw the same sigh of contentment as the savory standouts.
The Tiramisu is made more potent with the use of Passalacqua coffee, which is the best brand in Napoli. The Crostata di Limone lends just the right tanginess, thanks to the addition of grated cheese.
The Cannoli, available in three variants (plain, chocolate and pistachio), are a close counterpart to the not-so-sweet fried pastries available on the streets of Sicily.
There’s a good number of Italian restaurants that opened in Manila this year. But a mano, being faithful to tradition and banking on the cuisine’s authentic simplicity, should be an easy, instant choice.
a mano Restaurant, R1 Level, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati.