For most of us, a good after-hours weeknight involves a comfortable place within vicinity the workplace where you can chill with workmates or friends over a delicious meal, accompanied with a round or two of your choice of poison. The problem, though, is that the places we usually head to after work are full when we get there, so we end up looking for a place we’re hoping can be just be as good, won’t be crowded, and will have decent food at the very least. Chances of finding such place are slim on a Friday night, but if you’re out of ideas of where to go, it’s a good idea to try Madison’s Bistro Moderne in Mandaluyong.
Located at the ground floor of Shangri-La EDSA Hotel, the bistro is sleek, with neutral tones, modern accents (they’ve got these cool steel, medieval-looking chandeliers), and a cozy al fresco space with black ceiling fans. The restaurant seems high-brow for a seemingly laidback Friday night, but once you get settled, the place will seem less intimidating. The manager Stephen is friendly for starters, the menu has gourmet comfort food, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable for a hotel restaurant. The place also has a bar with a wide selection of spirits and wines to keep you drinking until daybreak – or at least until the restaurant closes. Of course, before you do get sloshed, getting a few bites will sustain you a little longer.
The Speck and Goat Cheese Mousse app is the best way to get started. Truffle-scented goat cheese mousse wrapped with speck or lean slices of thigh pork, the dish is an immediate eye-roller once it touches your tongue. There are only six pieces an order, so be a good man and order more than one portion. Or you can just order the bone marrow and forego all desires of living a long life when you order this dish of fleshy sinfulness served with crostini slices and salsa verde. Be sure you wipe the smear off the corners of your mouth after.
For the main course, there are several tasty options to choose from. The Braised Lamb Shank is one of them, and it’s a crowd favorite for good reason. Placed over a bed of vegetables with a heap of mashed potatoes, the meat is ginormous, tasty, and doesn’t at all require rigorous sawing to enjoy. For something a little richer, the Confit Pork Belly with thyme jus or steak will cut it for you. An inch thick, the slab of pork belly is served over lentils with a touch of balsamic, its sour note a refreshing touch after all that porky goodness. The beef, on the other hand, will already get you salivating even before it hits the table. Served on a rustic wooden board, the steak, either dry aged rib eye or tenderloin, is served alongside vegetables, your choice of siding (string potatoes, creamed spinach, duck fat fried potatoes, cauliflower gratin, etc) and sauce (foie gras, mushroom, truffle butter, or Bernaise). If you don’t want too indulge too much, the salmon is an excellent choice. Served with risotto that tastes like valenciana and glazed cipollini onions with a touch of balsamic that adds tartness to the dish, the Norwegian Salmon Fillet is cooked well and won’t leave you satiated like the other dishes.
A dessert, if you aren’t in a hurry to get buzzed, is worth a try as well. The warm peanut butter and chocolate fondant with caramel sauce will certainly complement your rich dishes of the evening. If you aren’t too crazy about desserts, though, head straight for the bar and order your usual. Our favorite remains to be the French Martini, which is a mix of vodka, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice, and lavender. It’s hardly boozy when you drink it, but you’ll immediate feel the buzz after. There’s a great possibility you’ll have more than one glass of this, but since you’ll be very happy after such a carnivorous fest, there’s no need to worry. It’s the weekend after all, so yeah, drink on.
Madison’s Bistro Moderne
EDSA Shangri-La, Ground Floor
7 AM to 2 AM (Mondays to Sundays)
*Published in UNO Magazine’s 93rd issue*