At a glance, Madeca is quite an eye catcher already. With its red and green sign, signifying the colors of the Mexican flag and a typeface that brings to mind casual eateries in Mexico, one would be lured into taking a closer look.
Located at the 5th Level of The Podium
Painted IKEA chairs, nautical flag pillows, huge painted order numbers, and a counter showcasing a nautical flag pattern—there’s no doubt that Madeca takes pride into communicating their brand through great design. This is not surprising, with graphic designer and illustrator AJ Dimarucot, as one of the establishment’s owners.
Deriving their name from the Manila de Acapulco galleon trade between the Philippines and Mexico in the 1500s, this fusion of words is a nod towards the fact that the Kastilas (Spaniards) in the Philippines during that time are actually of Mexican descent. This makes our Hispanic culture somewhat closer to Mexican culture. With this in mind, fusing Filipino cuisine and Mexican fare becomes the next logical thing to do, and Madeca does this effortlessly.
We started our feast with Madeca’s Chips and Chili Con Carne (P195), which aren’t the usual corn tortillas. Theirs are made of flour, resulting in an almost white, near-smooth texture. Paired with the chili con carne, it is quite the appetizer.
Chips and Chili Con Carne
Give it a few drops of red pepper sauce, which is available upon request, the dip transforms into a requisite side dish perfect for much of the dishes available at Madeca.
Fast becoming Madeca’s bestseller, the Sisig Burrito (P225) comes with all the elements of a typical burrito—rice, wheat flour tortilla, salsa and sour cream—but what makes it such a hit is not new to the Filipino palate: the much-loved pork sisig (which are parts of a pig’s head and liver, in case you didn’t know). We Filipinos love our pork, and in Madeca, they show their fealty to the mighty sisig by making it a burrito filling. Because—why not?
Part-crunchy and part-chewy, half of a roll can already satisfy one person; too much might knock you out prematurely. So, if you’re really hungry and you plan to devour the whole thing, do yourself a favor and pair it with a cocktail or a chilled beer.
Like the Sisig Burrito, an order of the Salpicao Burrito (P255) gives you two hefty rolls that can already be shared by two. The origin of beef salpicao, a Filipino dish that has an intense garlic and soy sauce flavor, is not really documented. One thing’s for sure, though: we Filipinos love salpicao and we prefer it with a lot of garlic. This burrito delivers that, as the tender beef cubes nestled between the soft rice bursts into a combination of salty and subtly sweet flavors, punctuated by the strong flavor and lovely smell of garlic.
If you’re hankering for a good old rice meal, you can select from the four kinds of Mexikanin (Mexican rice) they offer. We opted for the Lechon Kawali Mexikanin (P265), which is composed of flavored rice, a slab of lechon kawali, chili con carne, chips, salsa and sour cream.
Lechon Kawali Mexikanin
Essentially, it is just burrito without the tortilla (except the chili con carne), which makes it lighter in carb content, but heavier on the meat. With a crisp and tenderness that are essential to a good lechon kawali, this dish is a welcome surprise. Who knew rice, lechon kawali, sour cream and salsa would be so awesome together?
Their Chicken Soft Tacos (P165) are personally my favorite. No-frills; just flavorful chunks of chicken nestled in shredded cabbage and fresh salsa.
Chicken Soft Tacos
It’s just the kind of comfort food that is both filling without giving you too much guilt. Remember to dress everything up with jalapeno green pepper sauce. You’ll thank me later.
Fish Soft Tacos
Considered by our party of four as one of the best fish tacos we’ve ever tried, this particular whitefish works well with the flour tortilla because of the cabbage coleslaw and salsa that dress up the fillet. A single order of Fish Soft Tacos (P165) contains two soft tacos, some flour chips, and a small serving of salsa and sour cream. Request for a lime wedge and squeeze it on top of the tacos for that extra zing.
Having a coronary just reading about their meat offerings? Fret not. There’s room for vegetarians at Madeca. They have two types of quesadillas that cater to non-carnivores: the Roasted Bell Pepper & Caramelized Onion Quesadillas, and the Spinach & Mushroom Quesadillas (P125).
Spinach & Mushroom Quesadillas
We sampled the latter, knowing that it has melted cheese, which is “queso” in Spanish and is actually the origin of the word “quesadilla.” An order gives you four wedges, and the requisite chips, salsa and sour cream. Simple but very tasty, these quesadillas are filling enough, but not to the point of penitence.
Wash all the meat and beans with their refreshing beverages, all nicely presented atop a wooden coaster. Their lemon Iced Tea (P40) looks pretty in a quilted jar with a daisy cut out on the lid.
Take note of the cute paper straws (which I would gladly buy if they start selling them)!
The Guyabano Mojito (P135) is highly recommended, and is reason enough to come back.
I’ve never had guyabano (soursop) with alcohol, so this is a revelation. Never overpowering the delicate balance of mint and lime, the white fleshy fruit takes the cocktail several notches higher with its sweet-sour creaminess. It’s an instant favorite! Methinks, I will shell out P135 for this, from time to time, and especially during summer.
Or, I can always go back for their happy hour.