It’s been a while since I’ve had steak, so receiving this invite from #ZomatoPH woke me up from my slump and steered me towards a culinary road I haven’t traveled yet. Jupiter Street of Makati is extremely popular to the night crowd because of its wide selection of restaurants and watering holes offering verious cuisines, and Cow Bell Steak House is one of the newest players to invade the area.
Cow Bell’s wood-and-brick interior is rather small, so grabbing a table during lunch rush or dinner dash should be tricky. All around the place you’ll find motivational quotes about eating (as if you need motivation to eat), injecting a young, cheeky appeal.
The stars of the menu are steaks of course, but they’ve also got different kinds of pasta dishes and sandwiches, and their drink list includes coffees and imported beers.
We started with some soup. I had some clam chowder, which I thought to be thick and well-seasoned. The creamy concoction was very filling, though I wish the clam bits were a little bigger.
Appetizers came in the form of nachos and chili cheese fries. I loved that they topped their nachos with jalapenos aside from the mandatory meat, cheese, and tomatoes. The fries were thick-cut, and the cheese wasn’t just tucked in one corner of the plate but poured all over the potatoes.
When the owner said Oriental chicken salad, I kept a straight face but grimaced a bit on the inside. I know from past experience that when something is labeled ‘oriental’ or ‘Asian’, it’s always sweet. And this one was no different. But this one didn’t bother me as much. The sweetness was actually a nice compliment to the chicken, which was savory and tenderly cooked. Crunchy noodles also added a nice texture to the salad.
Next, we had two kinds of pasta: gambas aglio olio and truffle cream mushroom linguine. I’m impressed with their generosity with the shrimp and thought the dish was pretty well-seasoned. Well, except for one thing: I could hardly taste the aglio (that’s garlic, in case you didn’t know), which is too bad because save for this flaw, the dish is actually pretty good.
Truffle oil puts me off sometimes. Some chefs are a bit heavy-handed when it comes to this ingredient, which ruins an otherwise great dish. Not this one. The truffle may come off strong when you first catch a whiff of the pasta, but the flavor’s just right. They said the dish has three kinds of mushrooms (portobello and white and brown button mushrooms). Maybe I’m just not a trained mushroom connoisseur, but I couldn’t really tell one from the other, so it didn’t make a difference to me.
Chicken skewers and fish and chips were up next. The chicken was tender and the rosemary really punched up its flavor. I also liked the rice it was served with, as well as the mayo-like dip. The fish, when eaten alone, is very underseasoned, but the sauce (which reminds me of the kind you use on shawarma) that comes with it flavors it very nicely.
We were served three different kinds of beef dishes: baby back ribs, a 10oz Angus rib-eye, and the Angus beef salpicao. The salpicao was a heavenly blend of tender chunks of meat, sauteed garlic, and well-seasoned sauce. I wanted to tuck into the entire plate, but I had to share it with other people, so bah.
The baby back ribs, unfortunately, were less than stellar. Aside from the marinade being Chinese-ham sweet, the meat itself was pretty dry.
I like eating steak in its bare form so I usually pass on gravies and drippings, at least until I’ve savored the beef’s untainted flavors first. But of course you still need a bit of salt and pepper to really bring out the taste of the bovine. Sadly, Cow Bell’s Angus rib-eye hardly had any. As tenderly cooked as it was, it barely tasted like anything. Kind of disappointing since this was the one I was looking forward to the most.
Cow Bell’s menu doesn’t include desserts, but they do serve them by request. That night’s sweet treats were dulce de leche and salted caramel cakes. Both were devilishly good, making me curious about who their supplier is.
A meal for two should run you about Php 500 granted you split everything (which would actually be a good idea since they’ve got hefty portions). Not bad at all for a steak house, but I do hope they improve some their main offerings because I wouldn’t mind coming back for more.
Overall rating: ★★★✭☆
Cow Bell Steak Cafe
1C Eurocrest Building, 126 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati City
Disclosure: This visit was organized by the restaurant’s management in cooperation with Zomato Philippines. The opinions expressed in this post are based on my own experience and were in no way influenced by said groups.
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