Thursday, March 14, 2019

First Bite: Manam Café

My first Manam experience was love at first bite. From its superb sisig down to creamy leche flan, everything was spectacular and memorable. And when Manam opened a spin off brand Manam Café, I was excited and curious at the same time especially after hearing that it offers different dishes.

Hello, Manam Café.
Manam has been one of my favorite Filipino restaurants in town and just when I thought I couldn't love this brand more, The Moment Group has something in store for its patrons, Manam Café.
True to the Manam brand, Manam Café continues to serve Filipino favorites. But what sets this apart from the always packed restaurant is that it has a more casual vibe and more options for lighter meals.
Suited as an afternoon snack stop, my friends and I paid its newly opened Podium branch a visit and we went with Super Arroz Caldo (PHP170), All Day Batchoy (PHP235), Crispy Pancit Palabok (PHP200), Root Crop Chips with Dip (PHP55), Bibingka Galapong with Salted Egg (PHP155), Puto Bumbong with Muscovado Butter (PHP150) and Calamansi Tart (PHP230). We also had a handful of its refreshing drinks. I went with Strawberry and Camias (PHP155).

Since the place is still new and we visited during non-peak hours, some of our orders were served in less than 10 minutes.
I started my heavy afternoon snack with my bowl of Arroz Caldo. Since I wasn't feeling that great, I figured that this is the best dish for me. And it tasted really good!
I love that there were a lot of toppings too giving the dish rich texture and flavor. I requested for calamansi too for that addictive tangy taste! This dish is definitely bang for the buck given its generous serving.
K told me that her bowl of batchoy was a bit on the salty side. I also noticed that the serving of miki noodles and its mouthwatering ten-hour pork, braised pork shoulder and housemade chicken liver pate were a bit small. 
The staff was overly generous though on the beef bone broth.
M's Cripsy Pancit Palabok is yet another gem! The thick and rich savory shrimp sauce covering the crunchy glass noodles on a bed made with chicharon, fried garlic, shrimp, squid and tinapa flakes made me do an eye roll from gastronomic orgasm. It was the very definition of perfect balance of flavors and textures! I loved it so much that I took a mental note to grab a plate of it when I visit again (which is very soon).
F's Root Crop Chips was a lovely light snack too. I already like it as is but dipping it in what I think is an aioli sauce made it even more enjoyable.
As a big fan of bibingka and puto bumbong, I was giddy and looking forward to sinking my teeth into these goodies. In fact, I was just halfway through my bowl of Arroz Caldo when I took a bite of bibingka.
And it was good! I love that it was rather bouncy and fluffy than extremely dense and overly moist. I would have enjoyed this more though if there were more salted egg and if it had muscovado.
Puto Bumbong wasn't bad too. An order comes with six pieces of this purple buttery goodness with grated coconut and muscovado on the side. Best to ask for extra muscovado sugar as they tend to scrimp on that.

I had high expectations on the Calamansi Tart as we were told that it is Manam Café's bestselling dessert. F also said that he loves it.
The server recommended that we top our forkful with some whipped cream to balance the tangy taste of calamansi. But it seemed that I need a whole can to tone down its tangy flavor. I love sour dishes but this one was a bit on the extreme side. Needless to say, it's not for me.
But I love my Strawberry Camias drink. It also had this tartness but tolerable and something I'd consider refreshing.
Overall, it was a lovely visit. Service was quick despite the weird way the "Manam Café experience" started (we were asked to wait for a table when there were more than 10 available). Most food are reasonably priced, not to mention tasty! I'll definitely be back!
P.S. Please open up North!

Manam Café is located at Ground Floor, Podium Mall, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

Manam Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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