Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chairman Wang's Prime Beef Noodle House

While on a three-day weekend staycation with my foodie family at Bellevue Manila and B Hotel respectively, the guys who lived up north made the most of their south side trip by trying out some of the newer restaurants in the area. Molito, especially, is slowly turning into the go-to place for good grub down south. The lone Starbucks store over there now has lots and lots of company, with new restaurant concepts and old franchises popping up left and right.

One of the new restaurant concepts is Chairman Wang's Prime Beef Noodle House. Recently opened, we headed over there - Jericho, Justice, a few other friends, and I - curious to see what kind of Chinese food they served (aside from the obvious). In truth, I was expecting it to be some kind of high-end Chowking joint, but was pleasantly proved wrong. And then some.

The weather was not our friend that day, as the heat was pounding down on us really hard. It was almost painful to be standing out in the sun for more than 15 minutes. So upon entering the restaurant, the first thing we wanted was a tall, refreshing glass of... anything!

Our waitstaff heeded our urgent request for liquid refreshment and poured us a glass of China Blossom (P120) made with cherry blossom tea, chrysanthemum flowers, grapes, pomelo, honey, and mint leaves; another glass of Lemon Ginger Ale (P180), with lemon juice as the base, soda water, sliced lemon, fresh ginger, honey, mint leaves; and a zingy Fruit Tea Sangria (P120) made with strawberry tea, mango juice, orange juice, soda water, grapes, and more mint leaves.

After cooling of a bit and getting our bearings, I finally started to appreciate the attention that went into designing the space - the high ceilings, the Chinese accents, and the beautiful big lanterns.

We started off with some appetizers, going for something I found totally bizarre - Chilled Tofu Block with Century Egg (P150). The earthy flavors of the century egg were softened with the cold, silky tofu and the hoisin-like sauce. I don't see myself ordering this again, but it wasn't so bad if you've acquired the taste for both of the really Asian flavor profiles.

Chairman Wang obviously doesn't have a knack for naming his dishes. Case in point: the Black Fungus and Jellyfish Salad (P120). This is something I'd stuff down my mouth hole and ask for seconds any day, with the mushroom that has a bit of a bite as well as the chewy jellyfish. I don't know what kind of light sauce its in, as both the mushrooms and the jellyfish sucked up all the flavor. But damn, was this good. Just don't read the title of the dish so it doesn't turn you off from ordering it.

You can order the Pork & Chive Dumplings (P180 for 8 pieces) steamed, fried, or both. We got both, although I do like my fried dumplings more. These had a good balance of pork and herbs, and as anything gyoza-looking is Jericho's favorite, he polished most of it off.

Jericho took a peek at the kitchen where one of the noodle dudes were pulling egg noodles for what was going to be in our next couple of dishes. Pleasant-natured Alyz, their marketing lady, told us how Chairman Wang came to Manila for a while to teach the cooks the art of noodle pulling, and that he was very happy that most of them were quick studies.

Chairman Wang's is inspired from Northern Chinese cuisine - the brothy, at times oily, sometimes spicy, hearty cuisine that does the job of filling belies while keeping you warm at night. When I thin of Sichuan cooking, I think of a lot of chili, but it wasn't necessarily the case.

Holy shiz, can I just say, you have to order the Smoked Duck Breast Noodle Soup (P240) when you visit! This super pretty looking bowl of noodle soup was big enough to split between three hungry adults, so price-wise, it's super cheap. I was surprised at the blah-looking broth. It was creamy yet light, with the hard-working stock giving the base of this noodle soup a lot of backbone, lifting the flavor of the duck breast, with the chewy egg noodles happily schlurping at it too, getting fatter and fatter the longer it stayed there. Much like what was happening to us. Haha!

I tried the Chairman's Prime Beef Noodle Soup (P280) next. The soup base for this was a lot lighter than the duck. I should've tried this first before the smoked duck breast, as it now seemed bland and boring in comparison. They should've named this place the Smoked Duck Noodle House instead.

I gave my bowl away and traded it in for another round of fragrant soup, duck breast, and chewy, chewy hand-pulled egg noodles.

I did a double take, seeing lamb on the menu. At a Chinese restaurant. Who knew, eh? The Chinese Curry Lamb Casserole (P550) is something I'd have over and over again. The flavor profile is more Indian to me than anything, but then again, the idea of eating a meaty curry to keep one warm in the winter makes a lot of sense.

This was heady and thick, with the lamb being very tender with just a hint of gaminess. This is another dish you'd want to share with people at the table, so the price is pretty reasonable considering the portion size. And that it's insanely delicious. The Arab in me was tickled - so I'm definitely making a trip back here again.

Jericho, Justice, and the rest of the ricevores loved Chariman Wang's Black Olive Fried Rice (P280). The color probably comes from the chopped up olives in the rice, which also gives it a bit of a salty, briny flavor. This was too salty for my taste, but the ultimate rice monster in the group, Rina of Rina's Rainbow, gave it her spoon(ful) of approval.

I was so busy with the lamb curry that I didn't pay the Black Pepper Beef on Iron Plate (P480) any attention. But I can't help but chuckle at the name of the dish. Chairman Wang's name in Mandarin means Captain Obvious. I keed.

I tried a small piece, and liked that it had a little bit of heat. But it was also very, very oily, which I didn't like. This'll probably be something I'd save for a cold, rainy day. Or maybe ask the server to pour out some of the oil so I don't feel so bad about myself afterwards.

Dessert was a nice change of pace from the otherwise heavy meal we thoroughly enjoyed. Everyone liked the simple Chilled Coconut Milk Soup with Sago and Fresh Fruits (P350), and it cleansed our palates of all the salty, oily, creamy, spicy textures and flavors we tasted that afternoon.

Overall, I;m very happy that a concept as unique (and delicious!) as Chairman Wang's chose to open in the south. With a new take on Sichuan cuisine, I think this restaurant is definitely something to look out for. I will definitely back for more of their Smoked Duck Breast Noodle Soup and Curry Lamb Casserole, that's for sure!

When mucking around Molito, bring your family and try Chairman Wang's Prime Beef Noodle House! The portions are meant to be shared, and the prices are affordable. You already know what I'd strongly recommend, so get your butt over to Alabang, try them out, and let me know what you think.

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Chairman Wang's Prime Beef Noodle House
+63 2 828 8477
Molito Lifestyle Complex
Alabang, Muntinlupa
Open Daily: 11am - 11pm