Mamou is the eponymous restaurant of Malou Fores. It is the extended version of her own dining room, filled with dishes she has cooked for her own family.
The restaurant in Rockwell is small and cozy, the space bordering on tight. Better to reserve seats beforehand as the place is packed for both its dinner seatings, one of which is at 6 or 6:30 pm and the other at 8:30 pm. I find a narrow ledge by the window lined up with wine bottles. Directly across is a function room, partitioned by slidable panels, fit for an intimate group dinner or party.
The manager is especially attentive and friendly, I see her engaging in small talk with practically each table. She must have stopped by ours two or three times, asking how our food was and if there were anything else we might need. She even gave us a couple of souvenir Mamou pens.
Five globular rolls dusted with flour powder, a couple of which were brown in color, perhaps wheat or rye (?) sit in a light woven basket. It would have been nice had the blocks of butter on the side been warmer and served in a melted state. The texture of the bread was a bit tough, like one exposed to open air for a long time.
My favorite dish of the night turned out to be the Cracked Cheese with Fuet and Honey (P295). Blocks of Grana Padano cheese and slices of Fuet Catalonian salami surround a shot glass of honey dip. I sop both the cheese and salami into the honey and as I take in a bite, I revel in the reciprocation of the sweetness of the dip and the sharp taste of the aged hard cheese combined with the peppery facet of the salami; truly a feast for the palate. Further bites made me literally close my eyes as I wallowed in the marriage of flavors that excite the senses.
I was expecting the Beer Battered Chicken (P345) to literally reek of beer, instead, the fried chicken had just a subtle hint of the flavor, almost indiscernible; question of its presence still lingers in your mind, long after you swallow your last forkful. The smell of butter that comes from the parsley rice fills the nose as the slight crackling of the crispy skin provides background music to the ears. But the flavor of the plate's star is satisfying at best; nothing really leaves an indelible mark.
The Roast Chicken (P345) was visually unappetizing, with the black beans occupying a good portion of the plate. I should have gone with the roast pork, I mused regrettably. The citrus rub aspect was quite elusive and since I have no intention of consuming beans (another unpropitious bean burrito memory), I could neither decipher the speciality of the dish nor ascertain what made it one of their best sellers (according to the waiter).
It was a good thing I ordered the Duck Adobo Flakes (P295) as our selections were tipping at the negative end of the spectrum thus far. The shredded native duck adobo flakes, which covered half of the red garlic rice, was packed with enough flavor to make up for the other entrees. A blanket of pale, fluffy scrambled eggs drenched with truffle flavored oil lay atop the other half. The eggs' subdued flavor curbed the saline attribute of the duck, thereby providing a nice balance of taste as well as texture in the mouth.
For all the rave reviews that I've read about this restaurant, our first trip proved to be a bit disappointing. On hindsight, perhaps we should have ordered one of their steaks in lieu of what we opted for that night, maybe then our visit would have been more memorable. Another night then, Mamou.
Spot: L R1 148A Rockwell Power Plant Mall, Makati
Contact Nos.: 0917.8062668 or 822.6218