The 13-year Stake Out

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Melo’s has been around for quite some time…far longer than I have been in Manila in fact. It has been 13 years since I first came to know the name – since I first heard stories of their Angus steaks. But for so long the place to me was like Antarctica. You know it exists, you know where it is, buy you don’t really bother to get there, and for long periods of time you just don’t think about it. It’s a place only for those who can pay to get there.

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

13 years is long enough to earn a bit to get there I guess (Melo’s, not Antarctica), so one day when the image of tender juicy beef flashed into my imagination again, I asked myself “well, why not try it after all this time?”. And so I did, with the determination of a conquistador heading to the west.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

The Melo’s of yore that I heard of was in the old Greenbelt, but they’ve branched out to other places in more recent years, and for this conquest of mine, I brought my family to one of their newest ones at Burgos Circle in the Bonifacio Global City. It was a quiet Saturday evening, with a shower of rain from an incoming storm. The area usually bustles with the white collared crowd from the nearby offices during weekday nights, and carries some of that life into the weekend evenings, but this time around we were just among the few souls who braved the rain. It was wet, quiet and peaceful, like a scene from a movie.

We were the first customers as we went in, and we were quickly guided to our table. The place was so quiet, you would have heard a pin drop, and the subdued lighting gave the place a romantic feel. That that would have been the perfect date moment.

Lettuce Soup

Lettuce Soup

Their menu gives a comprehensive list of the best beef in this part of the world. There’s the Angus that made them famous, plus every imaginable grade and cut of Wagyu. It would have been meat lovers’ heaven, except that the column to the right (where the price is), will drop a mere mortal back to earth, with a loud “thud”.

14 oz. Wagyu T-bone

14 oz. Wagyu T-bone

My wife had an 8-oz. Wagyu with pasta in red sauce on the side, while I had a 14-oz. T-bone – a more manly size of meat. Both were of the “lower grade” of Wagyu, a term which in itself sounds so sinful, for how can such a pricey chunk of meat ever be called “low grade”. But still, even if Wagyu is the king of beef, not all Wagyu are equal. Even cows have a social heirarchy, apparently.

8 oz. Wagyu Rib-eye with pasta

8 oz. Wagyu Rib-eye with pasta

But our “low grade” steaks are low grade only to the snobbiest of meat lovers, as our knives sliced through the pinkish, juicy meat like a warm knife through butter, my wife’s rib eye most especially. She had her steak cooked medium-well – a good compromise for having the meat cooked through, yet still a little juicy. I on the other hand, being the more adventurous half, had mine cooked medium – still red in the middle, yet perfectly cooked outside. And while my T-bone was not quite as tender as the rib-eye, it’s still the best T-bone I’ve had anywhere, and I devoured all 14 ounces of it like a caveman with silverware. Both steaks felt like the Neanderthal version of MnM’s – melt’s in your mouth. (If you are new to Wagyu, I would highly recommend the rib-eye, just so you’d know what tender really means.)

Steak sauces, though I didn't really need it. The meat was already good as it is.

Steak sauces, though I didn’t really need it. The meat was already good as it is.

Both our steaks came with a choice of soup, and either rice or pasta on the side. Overall it was a dinner to remember, both for the truly exceptional food, and the equally exceptional bill – but what the heck, it’s been 13 years.

Melo's at Burgos Circle

Melo’s at Burgos Circle

Photos taken last September 2013, with an Olympus EPM-2 and M. Zuiko 14-42mm IIR.

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