M A MO U

Let’s Eat - - LETS EAT - WORDS BY SPANKY HIZON EN­RIQUEZ

You say you want a rev­o­lu­tion? Let me tell you the story of a restau­rant rev­o­lu­tion: the story of a tiny restau­rant called Mamou. The restau­rant’s open­ing was a big bang that re­ver­ber­ates to this very day. In­spired largely or in part by Mamou, hun­dreds of restau­rants have opened in the past decade; many have pros­pered, but sadly, many have failed too. But for the one that, ar­guably, started it all? It shows no signs of stop­ping. It’s been draw­ing crowds ever since it opened back in 2006, and to this day, it’s still as pop­u­lar.

Eleven years ago, most peo­ple still called the whole area now known as BGC as “The Fort”. There were still a lot of wide open spaces back then, it was a breezy dis­trict with very lit­tle traf­fic. A far-flung des­ti­na­tion, ac­tu­ally. Peo­ple were ex­cited to ven­ture forth and dis­cover the rare and few de­lights it had to of­fer. A new mixed use com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment on the edge of the for­mer Fort Boni­fa­cio had just opened. It was called Seren­dra. Not too long after, Malou Forés opened her es­tab­lish­ment there, and the rest is culi­nary his­tory.

His­toric, be­cause it led to the restau­rant boom: the suc­cess of Mamou in­spired many peo­ple with zero F&B ex­pe­ri­ence or train­ing to con­sider open­ing a restau­rant of their own… it looked easy: com­fort food, a cozy set­ting, an at­ten­tive staff. How hard could it be? Well, the an­swer, they soon found out, and as Mamou’s founder her­self will tell you, it’s not easy at all. It never is. But in the case of her name­sake restau­rant, the stars aligned.

Maybe it was des­tiny or maybe it was luck or maybe it was a case of per­fect tim­ing. Maybe she’d found the ideal lo­ca­tion. Got lucky with trust­wor­thy sup­pli­ers. Blessed with a won­der­ful front of house led by her sis­ter, An­nie, and a skilled and loyal kitchen team. Or all of the above, and more. I’d call it serendip­ity, or more ro­man­ti­cally, magic. Or to be more pre­cise: a large part of Mamou’s overnight pop­u­lar­ity was due to a most mag­i­cal steak.

PHO­TOS BY GABBY CANTERO

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