Ah, Metro Manila. A stronghold of cities filled to the brim by 11 million people, busting through the seams with its everyday-is-Friday traffic. We all love to hate it, but there’s really nothing like your home city—teeming with promise, brimming with excitement. There’s certainly a lot going on, even for a city that houses the smallest of industries. And to coincide with the fifth issue of our print magazine—dubbed “identity”—we wanted to showcase what makes our beloved Manila so rich with potential: its restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, galleries. We reckon that you haven’t lived in Manila if you haven’t wined and dined in its grittiest holes-in-the-wall, danced in the smallest of discos, and gargled in the tsunami of local art and talent, so here is a guide of places to see and be seen at. It’s not a best-of-the-best list—because let’s face it, we are far from the best—but rather a rundown of what makes this a city we truly love, even if we don’t want to admit it.—Ed
Tucked in the heart of Parañaque’s Aguirre Avenue, where a lot of restaurants have found their home, Meat Depot aims to leave its mark as something different —it isn’t a restaurant. It is a meatshop capable of serving restaurant-grade steaks for less.
Meat Depot is actually a showroom for the Alcorezas’ Carne Fresca — a company which supplies beef, pork, and lamb to restaurants, hotels, and other institutions. In order to also cater to the homes nearby, it opened in July 2014 with the goal of selling premium fresh meat sans the mess and hassles of going to a wet market.
The area is well lit, mostly because of the natural light coming in through the glass doors. The chairs and tables placed in between the rows of chillers and freezers, were ruggedly wooden, evoking that ranch/farm feel. In case you do not want to feel like you’re eating in a meat shop, there is a secluded area from the displays of meat.
The place has no waiters, nor menus. Instead, an assistant will be available to be there to help you choose among the meats displayed in their chillers. Meat Depot offers a wide range of choices from imported beef like Wagyu and Angus, local grown grass-fed Batangas beef, and marinated Pinoy favorites such as Liempo and Tapa. Once done with the picking phase, they will cook your meat of choice for only PhP 100.00 per kind of meat, which comes with a choice of mashed potatoes, french fries, or rice.
You can start off with their Chicharon Bulaklak, which is actually intestines fried to a perfect crunch. It has a distinct umami taste, is crunchy and crumbly, and melts in the mouth while chewing it.
The quality of their prime cuts are proven by the excellent flavor of their steaks. Simplicity is king, as the only seasonings added to your steak is the usual salt & pepper plus a squeeze of lemon.
While steaks may be Meat Depot’s expertise, one should not miss out on their Tapa and Liempo. The Tapa is not the usual sweet one which becomes brown because of sugar. Grilled medium rare, think steak except that it is thinly sliced, and its juices still ooze out when sliced.
The Liempo on the other hand is also tender, and is delectably savory and sweet, which the Filipino tongue will surely love. It isn’t too sweet, but it complements the flavor of the grilled pork. A special white sauce that comes with it is a good contrast to the sweetness as it was very creamy and had a homey herb taste with it. The white sauce also went well with the other steaks.
As per the dessert, their Brownie a la mode was the right balance of cocoa and sweetness. It maintains the subtle bitterness, crumbly on the outside, and quite moist and tender all at the same time.
By word of mouth, Meat Depot has now gained a significant number of customers, and is now planning to open up a new branch up north in Quezon City, ideally in Maginhawa.
Meat Depot can be found along Aguirre Avenue inside BF Homes Parañaque, and is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. However, their cooking services are only available from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.