Mazendo: Taiwanese Fare in S Maison, Conrad Manila

This blog might have gone on a hiatus for the past year or so, but I definitely did not take time away from eating out! And yes, if you may ask, I've racked up quite a huge pile of backlogs. So before I bury myself deeper under my unwritten and unpublished restaurant reviews, let me share with you one of our food encounters with Mazendo.

Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumplings from Mazendo

Mazendo, which opened in the first quarter of 2017, is a restaurant that's serving up Taiwanese cuisine. And having been to Taiwan twice now, I can't tell you how much I love and how often I'd crave for Taiwanese fare! However, it took the ex-boyfriend-now-husband and I a good look at Mazendo's menu before we realized they're serving Taiwanese food and not Japanese. Not sure if it's just us, but when we first saw their signage, we really thought they were a Japanese restaurant. Mazendo just looks and sounds Japanese to us. Or is it just us? (・∧‐)ゞ

Anyhow, we're always up for trying out new restaurants. Or restaurants new to us, at least. So despite our initial disappointment that they don't offer our favorite stinky tofu, we ordered a few items to try.

Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumplings
Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumpling
Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumpling (P180)

I was keen on ordering boiled dumplings either in sesame or spicy sauce, but since I knew the then-boyfriend wouldn't help me finish a serving (he's not a big fan of peanut-based sauces nor food too spicy), we opted to get steamed pork and shrimp dumplings instead. These were not the best dumplings I've ever had, but they're more than satisfactory. The pork, shrimp and vegetable filling was juicy, nicely seasoned and of good amount -- not skimped but also not too full. The dumpling wrappers were of nice thick/thinness too. But the next time we're coming back to Mazendo, I'll definitely get the boiled dumplings in sesame and spicy sauce! They might be more interesting.

Pan-fried Pork Dumpling (P145)
Pan-fried Pork Dumpling
Pan-fried Pork Dumpling (P145)

I know it may seem redundant to order another kind of dumpling with pork, but I just had to get it since I love the crispy starch part of this style of pan-fried dumplings! I wish there were more of the crispy starch though, but this dumpling hits the spot. I really prefer my pan-fried dumplings (they were still slightly steamed though) than boiled or steamed ones, as I get to enjoy a softer top and a crispy bottom (or vice versa depending on how you eat it).

Red Roast Beef Noodles (P340)
Red Roast Beef Noodles
✔ Red Roast Beef Noodles (P340)

For my main dish, I opted for their hand-pulled noodles and roast beef in a hearty soy sauce and tomato-based soup. I can't remember now whether the hand-pulled noodles had a nice bouncy texture, but I don't remember complaining, so that's a good start. The beef pieces on the other hand, were soft and tender. Even without teeth, I think I'd be able to savor it! And the soup, I might have missed having tomato-infused beef broth in Taiwan, but I can get on board with this! It's rich and savory with a hint of sweetness from the tomato. Not at all weird-tasting.

Matsusaka Pork Jowl
Matsusaka Pork Jowl Rice (P380)
Matsusaka Pork Jowl with Rice (P380)

The ex-boyfie on the other hand, ordered for this rice set. We've both loved pork jowl (cured and smoked pork cheeks). And because we can't always have it, we love it even more! So we were just happy when we saw this on the menu.

The name of the dish is a bit misleading though. From what I know, the name Matsusaka Pork is commonly used by restaurants in Taiwan to describe a cut of pork that has a perfect fat-to-meat ratio, similar to the Japanese Matsusaka Beef. But it doesn't mean the pork they use is from Matsusaka in Mie, Japan. I'm not 100% sure if this is also the case with this dish at Mazendo, but I feel like it is.

Anyhow, whether or not they used local pork or imported, we're fans of pork jowl, so we loved this dish. Sadly, we found the portion of the pork jowl a bit small. As much as I wanted to have my fill, I was even returning the slices the ex-boyfie was giving me, as I know the serving isn't enough even for him alone. And this rarely happens! The soup that comes with the rice set is also nice though.

Mazendo S Maison Conrad Mall of Asia

THE VERDICT

What I love about Taiwanese food is how tasty and satisfying they are without being too expensive. This might not be the case here in the Philippines though, as we always needed to splurge a bit to enjoy Taiwanese fare. However, it's still nice that we can have our fill even away from the cuisine's country of origin.

For Mazendo, our visit didn't leave us immediately wanting for more (compared to how we always are when we were in Taiwan). But the food is generally good and we found interesting menu items we'd be ordering again or will be ordering next time (Mala Noodle Soup, Spicy Dumplings, Dumplings in Sesame Sauce v(*’-^*)). Portion of their food is decent, but if you're a big eater, it may be a bit bitin. Service was efficient, prompt and friendly though. And the place albeit not too big is nice, with warm lighting, modern interiors and even an open kitchen to entertain (or for checking the place's cleanliness).

Taste 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Mazendo, S Maison
2/F S Maison, Conrad Manila, Seaside Boulevard Cor. Coral Way,
Mall of Asia (MOA) Complex, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 824-7834
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