New Restaurant Alert: Eum-Ma-Nae at Capitol Commons, Pasig
Traditional Korean food in a contemporary style
G/F Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Oranbo, Pasig City
Contact: 997-0391, 0927-837-3862
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Thursday) and 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Friday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) You enter Eum-Ma-Nae and it looks like your usual steady pub. It's not as noisy or crowded, but still similar. Then you look up, notice the cherry blossom installation on the ceiling, the menu peppered with Korean-sounding dishes. This is no pub. Welcome to your modern Korean restaurant—with a twist.
Eum-Ma-Nae, which means "mother's place" in Korea, is where you can taste authentic Korean recipes by TV and radio host Grace Lee and her mom. The mother-daughter tandem brings to the table everyone's favorite Korean dishes (don't worry), but they're also taking things to an entirely new playing field by updating traditions and branding them with a unique flavor profile.
Korean Jerk Chicken (P650)
Baked Bacon and Cheese Mandu (P355)
Honey Glazed Salmon with Momil Noodles (P610)
Take, for example, the Bulgogi Jalapeño Poppers (P375) served with cilantro sour cream, gochujang tomato salsa, and crispy taro chips. Each piece is a surprise outburst: It's spicy and cheesy, like your classic hollowed-out peppers, but beef bulgogi puts in a flavor that the Asian palate might find comfort in.
The Bulgogi Ribs (P690) are a favorite, that is, if you believe the menu, and we do. Chef Niño Logarta, Eum-Ma-Nae's consultant, puts a playful spin on the all-time American South favorite. Instead of locking it in a smoker, the pork is slow-baked, glazed with gochujang barbecue sauce and served with everyone's favorite banchan, like pickle salad, kimchi, and corn on the cob spritzed with nori.
The dessert may be the biggest revelation of all. The kitchen merges old-fashioned and trendy pairings in the Gochugaru Chocolate Brownie (P225). It's served a la mode, with chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Classic enough? Chili, which has already proven itself to be a worthy foil to chocolate, makes itself known once you get in on this dessert. That heat comes through from a spray of Korean chili powder.
Gochugaru Brownie and Banana Milk Cheesecake
A subtler ending may be found in the Banana Milk Cheesecake (P225). Your favorite cheesecake is made creamier with banana milk, which is very popular in Korea. Topped with whipped cream and with validation from banana slices, who can resist?
At Eum-Ma-Nae, things don't end with dessert. This restaurant offers soju lovers a different experience by mixing the popular alcoholic Korean drink with Filipino comfort flavors. Get your buzz from a soju shot with hints of Yakult, aloe vera, cinnamon, buko pandan, coffee, and more. This is the kind of fusion we like.