Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Restaurant Discovery: Matgalne

Korea has stolen the hearts of many Filipinos—from dramas to music to food. I’d say, I have this long-term serious relationship with samgyeopsal. Throw in the word “unlimited” and I am yours!

Eat-all-you-can samgyeopsal for only PHP299 for lunch (11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and PHP399 for dinner (5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.), then throw in more than 20 side dishes, not a bad deal right? I was lucky to receive an email from A about this place called Matgalne that serves Korean dishes at friendly prices. Since curiosity got the best of me, I decided to pay Matgalne a visit during elections.  

It was rather hard to find the place if you’re not familiar with going around Makati but one landmark to remember is St. Giles Hotel and you’re almost there. I was lucky that I could read Korean as we totally didn’t notice the hotel’s signage. But for easier reference, here’s a photo of the façade. :)
When we arrived, I was surprised that the place was quite packed. Yes, the restaurant was slightly small, similar to how most hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Seoul are but this one could easily seat around 30 people and almost every seat is occupied by a hungry customer. Again, I was lucky as I instantly got a seat as I was in touch with A.
My only shot of the spread as I got too excited to eat right away!
Soon, I started to fill my plate with side dishes. First one I took was the Chapchae (or jabchae), one of my favorite dishes! I love that the sweet potato noodles (Korean 101: Sweet potato noodles is called dangmyeon in Korean) are not as oily and the vegetables included were fresh and quite crunchy. I just love it.
I also got some Jumeok Bap (Korean 101: Bap means rice). It was really yummy! I love the sticky texture and the saltiness of the seaweed.
See that little ball covered in nori? Yes, that’s Jumeok Bap!
There were also a lot of “jeon” available such as ham jeon, mushroom (Korean 101: Mushroom is called beoseot in Korean) jeon, and zucchini jeon. The key ingredients namely ham, mushroom and zucchini were [separately] batted in eggs and flour. If you adore fried oreos, pancakes or anything batted in eggs and flour, you’d like these.
I have mentioned several times that I do not like spicy dishes but some manage to be my “exemptions” and one of which is Matgalne’s Dak Kang Jung (Korean 101: Dak means chicken), sweet and spicy chicken. It was flavorful and it wasn’t very spicy at all. It was just right, and an instant love!
I also enjoyed the Kimbap. It was big and rich in flavor as well. I remember that I used to buy a roll to serve as my meal when I was in Korea as a student. It was filling so try to avoid eating a lot of this.
The Chwinamul (seasoned aster scaber) is also a great side dish! It was fresh and crunchy! Though it was slightly spicy too.
The Mattang (Korean 101: Mattang is sweet potato glazed with caramelized sugar) is also good. I was expecting that it would be very sweet but it has a slight hint of saltiness. It was surprisingly… good.
Other side dishes available that I wasn’t to try are the following—Ojingeo Bokkeum (Korean stir-fried squid), Kimchi (fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables), Kimmari (seaweed roll), Hobakjuk (Korean porridge made from winter squash).
There’s also a bibimbap (mixed rice) station which one of the bloggers tried and she liked it! She also mentioned that the chili pepper paste wasn’t very spicy. I guess I should have tried it too.

As for the meat (both beef and pork), the cuts were pretty thin so make sure that you check your meat from time to time as some of mine ended up crisp. It’s best to eat samgyeopsal a not overly cooked so that there’s still a bit of juice from the meat.  Wrap it in lettuce and rice and top it with red pepper paste.
I surely enjoyed my dining experience at Matgalne and I’ll visit again soon. You should too as the PHP299 lunch price is good until June 30, 2013. Prices will be back to PHP399 after.

But one more thing to be excited about is that Matgalne is working on selling packed lunch meals where there will be about 2 to 3 side dishes, one viand, and soup to boot for a friendly price less than PHP200. They do offer reasonable priced meals but they definitely do not cut short in quality.
Matgalne Restaurant is located at 4768 Kalayaan Avenue Corner Mariano Street, Poblacion, Makati City. They also have another branch at 2F Millenium Place BIdg., Meralco Avenue Ortigas Center, San Antonio Pasig City. Feel free to call 890-2949 (Makati) or 632-9714 (Pasig) for inquiries. Operating hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every Monday to Saturday.

4 comments:

  1. Let's go back! I want more jumeok bap.

    I know, I'm so weird that my favorite thing was nori-covered rice balls! :))

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    Replies
    1. Let's try the one in Pasig next time? :)

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  2. Replies
    1. You have to try it! For P299, it's a steal! :) Plus they seem to offer more side dishes compared to Don Day.

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Comments or other recommendations? :)