In the Philippines, Bonanza isn’t so much remembered as the name of an old-school American cowboy series than it is as the name of a company that has been dishing up the most delectable roast beef since 1967. Many well-heeled Filipino families have ordered Bonanza’s signature roasted calf for special occasions while schools and companies order these magnificently tender-meated beasts roasted by the Bonanza crew on-site for major affairs. The tender beef (or veal if you’re having the calf) is amazingly delicious even without its attendant mushroom gravy. It’s the sort of treat that many of us dream about – and, today, it’s become totally more accessible.
Bonanza recently opened up a stall at one of my favorite lunchtime stomping grounds: the Galleon Food Avenue down along Paseo de Roxas. While the stall doesn’t exactly roast up whole calves or steers on the premises (no room, obviously!), there’s always a steaming, fresh-roasted haunch of beef carved up and served either on rice or as a sandwich in a bun.
If you’ve quite an appetite, the set meal options are always great. Seen above was Friday’s lunch: the beefy bacon mushroom bowl. If you’re a fan of those burgers topped with button mushrooms and cheese, you’ll love this. Good strips of roast beef are doused with a peppery brown mushroom gravy over rice, then topped with coarsely chopped bacon and a drizzle of tangy nacho-style cheese sauce before serving.
It’s a combination that works: the smoky bacon and tangy cheese add a wallop of flavor, but they don’t mask the ferrous tang, the unique savor of the beef. The gravy adds a welcome heat to the dish and keeps it from being too rich on the tongue or in the belly. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s mostly bacon: there was a huge heap of beef strips under the topping – and, alas, you may be forced to buy another half-cup (or bloody hell get another full cup!) of rice to take the beef and gravy down the proverbial hatch.
Bonanza Roast Beef – The Galleon Food Avenue, BA Lepanto Bldg., Salcedo Village, Paseo de Roxas, Makati