My poor Mom.
The couple of times we celebrated a relative's birthday at Mamou, she and my Dad were always late. I never thought it bothered her, though. She never really mentioned it. Until recently, a few days before her birthday, my sister Foxychef asked her where she wanted to have her birthday dinner via SMS, and she quickly replied, "Mamou".
This was definitely a first. She never requested for a specific restaurant on her birthday, it was always "Up to you guys" or "What do you sugggest?" When she later on explained why, I so got what she meant. Imagine arriving late for a dinner at Mamou and having to settle for the last few slices of steak. I can smell my own frustration just thinking about it.
Luckily, we were able to reserve a table for ten on the evening of her birthday. Initially, the dining room was already booked and we were given a table outside. But, in the late afternoon, I received a text message from FOH manager Annie that we were moved inside. Nice.
Malou Fores' resto is one of the busiest restaurants in Serendra. Bloggers used to nitpick and complain about the fact that there are only two seatings during dinner- either 6:30 or 8:30PM. But I think fans have learned to forgive that, or have eventually gotten used to the concept. It is, after all, common practice in some of New York's restaurants to do this in order to maximize their seating capacity. After eating there a number of times, I have realized that even when you take the earlier seating, you do not feel rushed and that 2 hours is ample time to enjoy a great meal.
The whole family was present for our early dinner, naturally- Dad, the celebrant, Me, Matt, Queenbee and her family- husband Marc and daughter Nana and Foxychef. We started with Cracked Cheese and Sliced Fuet (a Catalonian salami) and their popular Truffle Oil and Mushroom Dip with melba toast. I liked dipping the cheese in the honey, loving the contrast of sweet and salty. The dip is obviously a no-brainer: You just can't go wrong with mushroom and truffle oil. We also shared an order of Healdsburg's Harvest Salad.
We also shared generous servings of main courses: Two orders of the Angus Rib-eye steak done two ways- the smaller one is done medium rare, and the bigger one medium well; Beer Battered Fish and Potato Wedges; Roast Chicken and Pork; Lorenzo's Truffle Cream Pasta.
The steaks at Mamou have the tendency to be inconsistent. But when it is good, it is very, very good. This time, luckily, it was the latter. the steaks were broiled to perfection and served in huge white platters tipped-up on one side ala Peter Luger so the natural fats and meat juices would gather on the lower end. These are then scooped up to be drizzled on the sliced steaks to keep them moist and tasty. I usually eat my steaks with mashed potato and creamed spinach, but there were also servings of their Steak white and red rice.
Another winner in their arsenal of gourmet "home-style" cooking is the Beer Battered Fish and Potato Wedges. I remember a past conversation with the chef that they could not call it Fish and Chips because of a minor technicality. Nevertheless, it tastes pretty authentic to me, the local dark beer naturally browning the crust and keeping it moist and airy. A squeeze of lemon neutralizes the deep-fried richness of the dish, and dipping the fries in the thick tartare sauce rounds it all up.
The Cuban-inspired Roast Chicken and Pork was also a hit with my parents. I was preoccupied with the other dishes on the table and did not really pay attention to it (sorry, my babies) but my Dad loved the fried bananas.
Lorenzo's Truffle Cream pasta was also a great side for the steaks, and a new favorite of Nana's. Despite everyone's obvious attempt at resisting this high-carb/high-fat dish, we simply could not say no. Ignoring my 3-year-old niece's glares, I contributed greatly to finishing a plate of the stuff.
With the meal, the few of us who drank wine shared a bottle of Paul Jaboulet Aine Les Jalets Crozes-Hermitage 2005. It might have been too young, or could have used a bit of decanting, which resulted in a tightly-wound wine. Later on it seemed to have opened up a bit more, and I had a peep at its potentially earthy, minerally qualities.
Since we brought a birthday cake for my mom to blow out, we did not order desserts. The cake from Sugarhouse (I forget the name) was very good and not too sweet. Matt is a fan.
Mom had a great time, obviously, and I was happy that she found the food in Mamou to be very good. Its actually a great place for a nice, relaxed family dinner where you can enjoy good food in a warm, unintimidating ambience. Plus, they don't charge corkage. That's not bad at all.
Happy Birthday, Mom! You're the best... Chi.
Mamou- A Home Kitchen
Bonifacio Global City
Tel. no. (632) 8563569