5396 General Luna, Poblacion, Makati
Open Mondays to Sundays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Poblacion is known to be party central in Makati. There are bars and clubs on almost every corner. But in recent years, Poblacion's also made even bigger strides in the food scene. Many exciting restaurants and hole-in-the-wall spots have been popping up and serving diverse cuisine to locals and tourists alike. With this in mind, Araw Hospitality—the group behind UNWND Lux Hostels—decided to add one more notch to their belt by adding a full-blown restaurant on the ground floor of their Poblacion property. Thus, Mamser was born.
Mamser serves Latin American cuisine. Its menu features favorites from Mexico, Cuba, Peru, and Brazil. Open from morning 'til night (7 a.m. to 11 p.m. to be exact), this restaurant serves a variety of dishes from small plates, main courses, desserts, and drinks—both alcoholic and non-alcoholic kind. One thing's for sure, if you're craving Latin American cuisine, you'll find something to fill that void in Mamser.
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Once you enter the grand doors of Mamser, you'll immediately feel the place's easygoing, chill vibe. It could be an effect of the warm and dim lighting combined with the upbeat Latin American club music playing in the background. Mamser's vibe is relaxed. Despite having club music playing throughout the night, it's kept at a reasonable volume which is a plus in our book. That way, we don't have to shout to have a conversation. We see this place as somewhere we could bring a date or have catch-ups with friends before going ham and partying it up in a club. Yup, this place is 100% perfect for pregaming.
When we say Mamser is perfect for pregaming, we're talking about the fact that it has everything you need to jumpstart a great night. Aside from an awesome vibe, the place also serves bangin' cocktails. Yup, don't leave Mamser without having at least one of their boozy sips. Our personal favorites include the Mamser and the Beat the Heat. Mamser is the signature cocktail of the restaurant made from dulce de leche-infused vodka, ube cream, salted caramel, and condensed milk topped with skewered banana slices. If you haven't guessed yet, this drink is rich, creamy, and, most importantly, sweet. To be honest, if we weren't told that this was a cocktail, we would never have guessed it had alcohol. The earthy ube flavor and condensed milk do a great job of making this cocktail taste like a spiked ube milkshake.
But if you're looking for something a little more light and refreshing, we recommend getting the Beat the Heat. This drink is the cocktail you'd be sipping poolside or by the beach. It exudes a tropical vibe, as it should since it is made from vodka with dalandan, cranberry, lime juice, bitters, and syrup. Like the Mamser, you could also barely taste the alcohol in this. It's so good you could easily down more than one glass of this drink.
Don't fill up on cocktails alone! You'd want to save some space for Mamser's bites. If you're looking for a quick and light bite to pair with your drinks, you won't go wrong with ordering the Ceviche. Their version uses cured white snapper fish in a yellow pepper vinegar mixture, topped with cornick, and pisco brandy. We'd easily put this as one of the best takes on ceviche we've had in a while. You still taste a bit of the fish's salty flavor, but the yellow pepper vinegar freshens up the overall flavor profile by bringing a zingy tartness to the dish. The Ceviche also gives you excellent textural contrast, especially if you get fish and cornick in one bite. You get a slippery and soft bite from the fish contrasted by a crunch courtesy of the cornick. Making a good ceviche is all about balance and freshness, and Mamser's rendition of this appetizer has both.
Another small plate you must try in Mamser is the Coxinha. Their take on the Brazilian street snack has a deep-fried dough with a creamy chicken filling, served with UNWND's secret sauce. It sounds like a very humble dish, and it is, but Mamser's take stands out in its great execution. The elements come together in perfect harmony: think wonderfully crispy on the outside and moist and creamy on the inside. Also worth noting is that though it is deep-fried, there's no excess taste of grease. It becomes even creamier and slightly tart with a bit of heat when dipped into the secret sauce.
After a few servings of the small plates, you might already feel full but trust us when we say you shouldn't skip the mains, especially if you want to fuel up for a night of partying and bar hopping in Poblacion. If there's one main not to miss in Mamser, it's got to be the Fejoada Brazil, a hearty dish of stewed pork knuckles with bacon, chorizo, and pork belly in thickened black bean sauce. This is savory pork heaven. The stewed pork knuckles are fork-tender and have a garlicky smokey flavor. On the side are seasoned bread crumbs, blanched greens, and sliced oranges—pro tip, get a bite of everything at once and watch as the flavor profile exponentially becomes even more impactful. Also, this dish goes well with rice (and we're not just saying that because we're Filipino). Perfect pregame dinner.
If you're not a fan of pork and want to opt for something lighter and with a little more tang than savoriness, you can order the Pescado a lo Macho, a pan-fried fish fillet and seafood medley in a wine and yellow-pepper sauce. Again, Mamser did not skimp on the seafood in this dish. There are mussels, prawns, clams, and even a moist and flaky fish fillet mixed in the slightly spicy yellow pepper sauce whose heat slowly creeps up on you. Again, you could have this dish on its own or eat it with rice. Either way, you'll for sure feel satisfied.
If you still have room in your tummy after the small plates and the mains, Mamser's desserts also don't disappoint. These are served in shareable plates of bite-sized pieces. You can try the Alfajores, decidedly sweet lemon cookies with dulce de leche filling dipped in dark chocolate for a creamy, crumbly cookie bite. For something a little more decadent, try the Brigadeiro Bonbon. Brigadeiros are Brazilian sweet treats made from condensed milk and cocoa, similar to the Filipino yema, and Mamser rolls them into sliced almonds and desiccated coconut for added fun.
Many more dishes on Mamser's menu deserve to be eaten, but if we write about them all, we'd never finish raving about this latest Poblacion food haunt. We'll leave those items up for you to discover on your own. But trust us, next time you're planning a Poblacion trip or food-slash-bar crawl, we highly recommend adding Mamser as a stop. Heck, we'll say it, start from there, and you're pregame will 100% be fire.