Arts & Leisure

Celebrating local beef

Posted on September 01, 2011

MALCOLM’S might seem American given its hefty steaks and upscale all-American cuisine -- not to mention its ranch-style interior -- but the restaurant is really Filipino by heart, refusing to import its meat and serving only KitaYama beef, the only Philippine crossbred wagyu.

THE INTERIOR of Malcolm’s is inspired by the Bukidnon ranch where they source their steaks.
The restaurant’s interior does mimic a ranch -- that of its beef supplier in Bukidnon, said Malcolm’s operations manager Vicky San Diego.

The walls feature black and white landscape photos of the farm, and the leather of its chairs came from the farm’s cattle. Ms. San Diego noted that most of the restaurant’s interiors were constructed using an old boat’s wood.

The steakhouse receives its meat -- from a crossbreed between local Brahmann cattle and Wagyu cattle imported from Australia -- fresh from the farm. “[The steaks are] only chilled and never frozen to avoid water being retained,” said Ms. San Diego.

The steaks are also dry-aged which evaporates moisture from the muscle, creating a greater concentration of beef flavor. The beef’s natural enzymes also break down the connective tissue which results in more tender beef.

The meal

Starting off the meal was Pork Rilette (P245). “It reminds me of Vietnamese pork sandwiches,” Ms. San Diego pointed out. It’s braised pork belly with the “perfect meat to fat ratio,” noted the restaurant’s chef and owner Malcolm San Diego, who explained that it is marinated in fresh herbs, white wine, and is stored in its own fat for five to six hours. The meat is then spread on focaccia bread (baked by the restaurant) with whole grain mustard and pickles “to cut the fattiness,” he said.

Roasted Bone Marrow (P395) and Wagyu Steak Tartare with White Truffle Potato Crisps (P495) came next. The bone marrow was oven-roasted with white truffle oil and served with a baguette while the steak tartare used tenderloin with mild aromatics and topped with what Mr. San Diego calls a “perfectly poached egg.” The dish is to be eaten together with the homemade potato chips, he said. The crunch of the potato chip and softness of the tartare were a delightful complement to each other.

For the main course, Penne with Pancetta (P385) in a spicy tomato vodka cream sauce, and Malcolm’s Bistecca ala Fiorentina (P4,000) were served.

The pasta’s sauce was tomato-based with cream, “the spiciness of the vodka adds a kick to the pasta while the cream is to neutralize it,” said Mr. San Diego. Meanwhile, the Bistecca is a one-kilo porterhouse cooked with olive oil, rosemary and garlic.

The beef is first sous vide (a method of cooking in which the food is sealed in airtight plastic bags and slow-cooked in a hot water bath) for half an hour then charred. It is served with sliced arugula dressed in lemon vinaigrette on the side and is good for three to four people.

“You drizzle some chili oil over it, a bit of sea salt and red wine sauce,” Mr. San Diego demonstrated before taking a bite himself.

An off-the-menu dish was also served to top off the whole meal and complement the steak -- a sinangag-style fried rice cooked in a bit of oil, steak and salt.

“Malcolm’s concept is to really showcase the [KitaYama beef] and serve the highest grade of KitaYama available. It’s an upscale sort of steakhouse for family-style dining,” said Ms. San Diego. “It’s local and it’s something to be proud of.” -- Camille Erika R. Sarte

MALCOLM'S is open daily, 10 a.m. to midnight and is located at 138 H.V. Dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati. For inquiries and reservations, call 403-9484.