You have probably heard of or seen a Malcolm around the metro. There's a Malcom at Fort Bonifacio, a New York-style deli (Malcolm's Deli). There's another Malcolm, a smaller one that specializes in burgers (Malcolm's Burger). But the big daddy of them all is Malcolm's Place, serving fusion food, pastas, sandwiches, and special dishes showcasing their popular meat: the Wagyu beef. The establishment has now renamed itself simply to 'Malcolm's', reinventing its menu and ambiance into a fine-dining food destination for meat loving foodies.
Malcolm's is at 138 HV Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village
If on your visit to Malcolm's you find Vicky Lauchengco in the restaurant, let her indulge you about the genealogy of their famed KitaYama Wagyu beef. It's equal parts systematic and interesting, how pure Wagyu cattle were personally selected, imported, and bred with our own cattle to produce a 'signature' cattle breed. Malcolm's is also proud of sourcing their beef from the country's first and only Wagyu farm, a spacious land area where cattle are fed with pineapple pulp, using absolutely no hormones nor antibiotics. It's good to know that my meat at Malcom's is 100% natural.
A Hearty Start
I wanted to partake of the slabs of meat like a voracious vulture, but being inside a posh restaurant, of course I had my manners in tow, and also, several appetizers prior to the Wagyu overload. While waiting for our orders, we nibbled on some complimentary homemade foccacia toast with olive oil. Their glass of Fresh Grape Shake (P150) tasted pure and yes, fresh, while an order of Malcolm's Flavored Iced Tea (S - P150, L - P240) comes in this cute little carafe. It's not your run of the mill powdered iced tea -- it's brewed and just mildly sweetened.
Malcolm's Flavored Iced Tea and Fresh Grape Shake
The Seafood Chowder (P225) I am told is a bestseller that Malcolm's used to serve back in their 'Malcolm's Place' years. I'm glad they retained this soup, as it's now one of my favorite seafood chowders in Manila. The soup has all the elements I am craving for in a seafood chowder: a creamy and thick consistency, generously chunky (or chunkily generous?) with bacon bits, chicken pieces, potato cubes, and whole pieces of shrimp. The slice of foccacia that comes with it makes for a tasty swizzle stick, soaking in the soup with just a slight crispness.
We sampled more seafood in the next dish, the Pinot Blanc Steamed Clams with Tomatoes and Shallots (P295). Again, another dish at Malcolm's that dismisses the notion that all there is to the place is their steak. This light appetizer with pacific clams is savory enough to please the palate.
Our lunch group sampled a pizza-pasta combination next. Just a little nibble or two and a forkful, I thought, as our meaty dishes were still in line for tasting. But I couldn't resist a second helping. A slice of Prosciutto Crudo and Arugula Pizza (P485) is crisp and fresh, a thin crust pizza with a home-cooked appeal. The Homemade Linguine with Truffle Cream Sauce (P450) was also served for lunch although it is available only for dinner. Good thing they did, because this is one sexy pasta dish, with its titillating aroma and equally exciting, luscious flavor. Truffle, cream and cheese. You can never go wrong with that in my book!
Prosciutto Crudo and Arugula Pizza
Homemade Linguine with Truffle Cream Sauce
A couple of bowls of Napa Salad (off the menu) arrive, and a couple of my lunchmates skipped the greens to make more room for the Wagyu. I, however, chose to line up my stomach with some fiber to prepare myself. And it's a vinagrette salad, my favorite dressing, so I just had to get a small serving of it.
Meat Your Match
Next, we were served something that must be deemed illegal because of its obscene awesomeness: two platters of Roasted Bone Marrow (P395, off the menu/upon request). It's just not right (and oh so right) to be having this before steak. It feels improper, dirty, and just plain sinful. In other words, glorious and worth every calorie gained.
You're served a cross section of a Wagyu bone, revealing a column of fatty, gelatinous marrow, peppered with some herbs and spices. Toast rounds come with this dish, and so does a slice of lemon and a small serving of salt. You partake of this little devil by spreading the marrow onto the bread, and squeezing just a little lemon juice on top and sprinkling some salt. One bite of this canape will send your tastebuds straight to fatty nirvana. The salty-tangy tug of war eventually caves in to the lush glob of Wagyu jelly.
"You have to try the Wagyu chicharon," Vicky prodded me, her eyes twinkling. Uh-oh. I was still fresh from the fatty knockout of the Wagyu bone marrow ("Waiter, can I have hot tea, please?") that the thought of having it in chicharon form just sounded plain blasphemous. But this is special and off the menu, you have to try it, just one bite, they say. So I gave in, and honestly, I had to wave the white flag after one bite. The fat was too concentrated, maybe I should have eaten it with lots of white rice as chaser, or doused the spoonful with a lot of lemon. Only for the brave (and healthy), folks.
Dare to try the Wagyu Chicharon?
After several minutes of tea-drinking, walking around the restaurant and taking photos (Wagyu fat gives a killer K.O.), we were prepared to move on to our main courses.
Roasted Wagyu Short Ribs with Homemade Barbeque Sauce
First up, the Roasted Wagyu Short Ribs with Homemade Barbeque Sauce (P495). We were served a platter that was equivalent to three orders (as seen in the above photo). The meat was so tender that it just surrendered at the slightest touch of my knife. No fight at all. The sauce, which Malcolm's makes from scratch, is tangy and subtly smokey. One order comes with mashed potato, which makes a good pair to balance out the flavors in your mouth.
Before our Aged Rib-eye (P4,500 - 500 grams) was cooked, the slab of meat was first presented to our table by our waiter, so that we can appreciate its thickness, rawness, and fine marbling. The next time we saw our meat was when it was served to us on a wooden board, cooked perfectly medium. Its aroma was intoxicating and it was also a sight to behold, commanding presence. This particular meat was aged from 32 to 35 days (Vicky gave us the 411 on dry-aged and wet-aged beef). I honestly get a little lost with all the jargon, similar to when wine connoisseurs ramble about their favorite bottle of vino. What I do completely know and trust, though, is my own taste and preference in food, and Malcom's Wagyu rib-eye is truly stellar. When your steak is so succulent even before you put steak sauce, you know you have a winner.
Save Room For Dessert
It was a struggle to find some space in ourselves for dessert, but we were able to accomplish it. I'm glad we did, because they have a couple of noteworthy sweet endings at Malcolm's. A glass of Espresso Martini (P250) will wake you up from that food coma, with its bold perk-me-up flavor. Their Cheesecake (P180), though seemingly boring and simple, will surprise you with its compact body and rich flavor. Chocoholics will find comfort in the Flourless Chocolate Cake (P180), a 'half-baked' super moist and fluffy slice, with deep notes of chocolate.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Malcolm's, now without the 'Place,' is still one of the best places to meat all you can in style. Roasted bone marrow, I am most certainly coming back for you! As for the Wagyu chicharon? Perhaps once was enough. Next time, I'll be prepared for battle, armed with carnivorous cravings of gargantuan proportions. Food coma will be a thing of the past. I'll probably bring along my brother, who can always out-meat me like a caveman. We'll be back, Malcom's. Just you wait.