Thursday, November 27, 2008


2.75 out of 5 stars

A piece of wagyu by any other name...... doesn't taste the same. This I've learned in Malcolm's Place, a two-storey corner cafe specializing in different wagyu cooking methods.

Take the intro any way you want, good or bad. It could swing both ways. Good because I've never tasted wagyu in so many different varieties. Bad because in some ways, the wagyu just tastes like....regular beef.

When you enter the place, it feels very airy with their floor-to-ceiling glass walls and exposed kitchen with glass dividers. When you eat upstairs on the second, it's less roomy, but more cozy with colorful cushioned seats and small booth areas. The ambience is very laid-back, and you can really let your hair down.

It's a welcome treat that they offer you fried wonton skins to nibble on while ordering from the menu. You dip it in this mayo-calamansi sauce that was a little too sour for me. But hey, it's free, who's complaining?

Being the "trying-to-be-healthy" people that we are, we started with the Kani Krunch (165 PhP) and the Napa Time (160 PhP). The first is made of greens, jicama, mangoes, kani and the same fried wonton skins (that were served as freebies) on oriental dressing. Jicama is english for "singkamas," and even if it's somewhat bland, it absorbs all the dressing, and is a good complement to the salad. Even the wonton skins gave the Kani Krunch it's Krunch, but the dressing somehow tasted off, like it was a little too sour, or it had too much balsamic vinegar. It would have been better if they used the bright, citrusy accents of a Yuzu dressing and perhaps exchanged the wontons for avocado or fish roe.

The Napa Time was, I think, a better salad. It was composed of mixed greens with candied walnuts, grapes, goat cheese and drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette. Goat cheese has a bland but rich taste, so it matched the sweetness of the caramelized walnuts and grapes. And they were very generous with the fruits and cheese, too, which is always a bonus. The salad was tossed perfectly with the dressing just coating the salad instead of drowning it.

The Wagyu Salpicao tasted great. It was seasoned thoroughly and had a well-rounded meaty flavor characteristic of wagyu. However, it wasn't as tender and melt-in-your-mouth like butter as I expected it to be, what with its high marbling content. It wasn't even just chewy, which is brought about by the finer-marbling of Pinoy wagyu (yes, friends, we have our very own wagyu cattle in CDO cross-bred from Australia). It was tough, hard to slice through and had ligament portions. Maybe we can attribute it toughness to other factors like the way the meat was stored, or how it was cooked, but certainly something wasn't entirely right in the process. Don't get me wrong, though. It tasted delicious because it was so flavorful. It just wasn't tender enough to bring in all that hype about wagyu. Being the eater that I am, though, I inhaled this dish in a matter of minutes.

The Wagyu Burger Steak was alright. I wasn't really sure whether this was a burger steak or a wagyu stroganoff anymore since it's been awhile since I ate here writing about it now, but I do remember the salpicao tasting a lot better than this dish in terms of seasoning. Anyway, both of them are not a part of the regular menu, but is only included in the insert, so I'm not sure if they still serve this up to now.

This actually isn't a great loss, because the core menu may actually be more delicious. I've been here before and have ordered the Wagyu Cheese Steak (330 PhP) a couple of times. It's strips of marinated Wagyu beef tenderloin with sauteed onions and peppers and laid on a French baguette with provolone cheese and a special sauce. It's a favorite of many customers like myself, where the cheese steak is made even better with better quality cattle. Besides, anything stuffed with cheese on it it sure to be a tasty treat. I'd recommend this order for any first-timer who plans on eating here in their foodventure.

All in all, I'm okay with Malcolm's Place. I wouldn't go out of my way to drive here, but if ever I'm stuck in the area, this is one of the places I'd consider eating in. Although there's nothing remarkable about the service and some food options, the restaurant has a good vibe to it, and the old-timer dishes pretty much stay consistent.

Oh, and free wi-fi when you eat here! That can't be beat ;)

click on menu to magnify

Malcolm's Place
, Salcedo Village
108 H.V. dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village
Makati City, Metro Manila
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 7:00 am - 11:00 pm


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