They say that with age comes wisdom. Twenty-Three years should make one very wise and this was proven to be true when I dined at Melo’s. The pioneer of certified US Angus beef in the Philippines has perfected the art of preparing, cuts, and cooking steak and they have the laurels to prove it. As said by Paul and Carolina Santiago-Macasaet, the husband and wife team behind Melo’s Alabang who invited me that night, Melo’s strives to provide personalized service to all their clientele. They get to know each guest and find out his dietary habits then come up with meals which suit them.
Ambience, Design and Space
Lest you might think that Melo’s restaurants are stuffy relics where old farts hang out, you have another think coming. They keep up with the times. This goes for the food as well as the restaurant itself.
The one where I was invited to is in Alabang, just near Alabang Town Center. It is surrounded by other restaurants and there is a mall currently being built in the complex. The area has ample parking space and is well-guarded.
Inside Melo’s, they retained the old Melo’s colors of red and cream but transformed the general design into something more contemporary. Everything is designed by the patriarch himself who certainly knows more than a thing or two about aesthetics. Ambient lighting, the use of lines and space, sculptures and paintings by national artists add to the comfortable yet classy appeal of the restaurant.
The whole time I was there, the staff were very attentive to our needs. The waiters stayed in the background when serving our orders and didn’t disrupt our conversation. When asked about food choices, they seemed knowledgeable. Perhaps they should have smiled more but there’s a possibility that smiling might distract me. I don’t know…I just think it will make the place appear friendlier.
Food and Price
Keep in mind that Melo’s is a fine-dining restaurant so expect the price to be higher than average restaurants. Served to us that night were: complimentary Crostini with Duck Pate (free), Oyster Rockefeller (P400 for 8 pieces), Foie Gras Balsamico (P600), Raclette Cheese (P380), Gambas Ajillo (P270), Waldorf Salad with Duck Breast (P330), and the Chef’s Specials.
The Chef Specials price varies according to the grade and size of steak you want served. The price is P1,930 for 4oz. and P3,700 for 8oz. Grade 8 Wagyu for both. The Chef Specials are Tenderloin Wagyu, Filetto Tartufato and Tenderloin Wagyu Foie Gras.
Besides Chef Specials, I got to try the classic Rib Eye Wagyu (Grade 6 – P225 per oz.).
We also tried Melo’s pastas: Creamy Truffle Pasta Farfalle with Mushroom (P490) and Spaghetti Vongole (P350).
For dessert, we had Red Velvet Cake (price unknown) and Raspberry Cheesecake (price unknown).
The duck pate was creamy and very spreadable. The crostini were warm and crunchy. The Crostini with Duck Pate in place of bread rolls places Melo’s at an advantage over their competitors.
Melo’s version of Oyster Rockefeller is the best I’ve tasted. It is baked with hollandaise sauce and topped with bacon (BACON!!!) and parmesan cheese. I couldn’t get enough of it and I will come back to Melo’s even just for this.
The Foie Gras Balsamico is served with balsamic reduction, raisins, grapes, raspberries, caramelized onions and croquette. It was perfectly seared, creamy, and the balsamic reduction contrasts the sweetness of the fruits to highlight the taste of the foie gras. The croquette is an added bonus.
The Raclette Cheese comes with marbled potatoes, cocktail onions and pickles. This is another favorite of mine. It is always served warm. Raclette is really good cheese and eating it gooey was a delight! I ignored the potatoes, pickles and onions. I just wanted the cheese. It was while I was eating this that I wished I ordered wine too.
The Gambas Ajillo was slightly spicy. The shrimps were small but juicy and light and didn’t spoil my appetite. The shrimps are soaked in olive oil and have a sprinkling of fried garlic. It was very nice.
I wasn’t too happy with Melo’s version of Waldorf Salad. I find it too sweet but my companions liked it. The salad has duck breast, walnuts, apples, raisins, and Melo’s homemade mayonnaise. I think it was the homemade mayonnaise which makes the salad sweet.
The Rib Eye Wagyu is a classic which comes with mixed vegetables and mushroom. It was very tender and succulent and the marinade was simple and I liked it a lot. I like my steak with some fat in it and the cut which was served was nicely marbled with fat.
Tenderloin Wagyu is served with morel mushroom and Cabernet toasted garlic sauce, mixed vegetables and mashed potatoes. As I expected, the wagyu was very tender. I like my steak medium rare and Melo’s has perfected their cooking technique. The morel with cabernet and garlic added a woodsy taste to the steak. The cut was purely lean meat.
The deadly Filetto Tartufato was fantastic. It is a fillet mignon wagyu with pan-seared foie gras and truffle oil sauce. It comes with mixed veggies and mashed potatoes. This is another favorite because I love truffles. The steak is soft and tender and the truffle oil makes it smokey and earthy.
The Tenderloin Wagyu Foie Gras was superb. It comes with red wine cranberry sauce and truffle oil mashed potatoes. The pan-seared foie gras that was served was thick and perfectly seared. The wagyu was soft and juicy just like the other steaks. The sauce enhanced the flavor of the steak and was not too sweet. The truffle oil mashed potato was heavenly. Did I tell you that I’m a fan of mashed potatoes? Good mashed potato this certainly was.
Steaks come with the soup of the day. You may also request for steak rice which is white rice mixed with beef drippings and/or fried fat which is taken from the steak you order. Both are free.
By this time I was very full but I persisted. The spaghetti was cooked al dente. The shaved parmesan, olive oil, and boiled clams were abundant. The Spaghetti Vongole is a very filling dish.
I prefer the Creamy Truffle Pasta Farfalle with Mushroom over Spaghetti Vongole. As I said earlier, I love truffle and this pasta screams of truffle. The farfalle was cooked al dente, the mushrooms seemed fresh since they weren’t rubbery. I took half of this home with me.
The Red Velvet Cake is different from others I’ve tasted. The frosting has a distinct taste of lemon zest which awakened my senses. The cake was spongy, light, and airy.
Melo’s Raspberry Cheesecake was good. The cherries were fresh and the cake was not so sweet, just cheesy good. I ate it with gusto.
Melo’s serves good food. There is no doubt about it. They wouldn’t last this long if they didn’t. If you want to impress someone, take that person to Melo’s. If you want to have a date with your wife or girlfriend, take them to Melo’s. If you want to indulge yourself, go to Melo’s alone and you will still enjoy the experience. Whatever the occasion, this restaurant has been tried and tested by hundreds, maybe thousands, of repeat customers which means that whatever Melo’s is doing, they’re doing it right.
BTW, Melo’s also offers catering. If you live in alabang, just contact the number below and look for Frankie or Randy.
C-41 Westgate Filinvest
Alabang, Muntinlupa City
7713945 and 7712288