Posted in Restaurant Hopping

In Which One Has a Rather Swank Burger and Crisps…

Care to join me in a burger and crisps?
Care to join me in a burger and crisps?

If kurobuta is supposed to be the Rolls-Royce of pork, its equivalent in the beef side of the equation is something that has long been contested by various quarters over the passage of time.  When I was very young back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the only good beef had to be US Prime.  Later on, upmarket Japanese restaurants began serving Kobe beef – the kind that came from thoroughly pampered steers who had beer in their diets and enjoyed regular massages.  Kobe beef eventually gave way to what is currently perceived as the beef on top: wagyu beef.

The name itself literally translates as “Japanese beef” (wa [Japan] gyu [beef]), so Kobe beef itself is, essentially, wagyu.  If you want to get really technical about it, wagyu should come from a specific breed of cattle developed by Japanese agriculturists.  Honestly, though, I’d rather not quibble about that.  But it should be noted at this point that there is locally-farmed wagyu beef here in the Philippines as Japanese cattle are being reared at the foot of Mount Kitanglad in Bukidnon and sold in Makati at a quaint little Japanese-style butcher’s shop called Kitayama Meat Shop.

Bronzed on the outside, red and rare within

However, while I’ve seen the Kitayama Meat Shop along Pasong Tamo in Makati, I’ve never actually been there.  I have, nevertheless, sampled their wagyu beef – specifically at the recently-opened Malcolm’s Burgers at the Laza Food Plaza.

If the name sounds familiar to Manila foodies, it’s a part of the same group that runs Malcolm’s, one of the more popular bespoke steak houses in Makati’s Salcedo Village.  This arm of the chain, however, doesn’t serve steaks; but, as its name so obviously suggests, specializes in burgers, sausage sarnies, and the sides that go with them.

Seeing how I was peckish, I decided to give the mushroom burger (P 120.00 each; add P 15.00 for a side order of potato chips) a try.  The burger comes smothered with sauteed mushrooms and a tangy horseradish mayo which, surprisingly, does not distract from the proper beefy tang of the patty which is cooked to a nice medium-rare: burnished outside, red within.   I wish the patty had been thicker, but at P 120.00, why complain?  Besides, the mushrooms also added some serious, meaty heft to the sandwich.

Nice and crunchy!
Nice and crunchy!

Malcolm’s has a number of nifty side dishes ranging from Buffalo wings to onion rings and standard-issue French fries.  Right now, though, if you throw in an additional P 15.00, the fry-cooks at Malcolm’s will throw in potato chips {crisps} on the side.  They’re more like  the thin-cut chips you get from a supermarket pouch, but they’re freshly cooked and are fried till bronzed over and absolutely crispy.  They’re very lightly seasoned, so the little tub of tomato ketchup works like a charm here.

It’s a trifle pricey compared to your standard-issue fast-food cow in a bun, but the quality is good and having a burger here is like giving yourself a nice little indulgence.



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

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