Remember La Cabrera? They're Slashing 40% Off Their Steak Prices
Going on four years of operations, La Cabrera Manila has finally given in to chef and owner Gaston Riveira’s insistence that they offer happy hour.
With continuous patronage from a loyal expat crowd and carnivorous locals who swear by the excellent quality of their steaks, Carlo Calma Lorenzana (not to be confused with his business partner Carlo G. Lorenzana or the architect Carlo Calma) initially thought that a happy hour was far from necessarily. “There’s that misconception that when an establishment starts doing happy hour, they’re not doing well,” shares the part owner in his well-modulated drawl. However, Riveira insists that it’s a great way to keep the store’s inventory moving and also to give a curious yet hesitant clientele the chance to try their food.
The La Cabrera experience, after all, is truly quite the spectacle. Their large grill alternates between charcoal and wood, imparting the smoky flavor to several of their dishes prepared on the parilla. The dining room gives you a prequel to the Argentine countryside without being too Nat Geo, lending some gaucho touches to what is otherwise a crisp and pristine dining room. The space manages to exude warmth despite being upscale, making it ideal for both family celebrations as well as intimate dinners.
Lorenzana’s other business is distributing Lagarde wines—also from Argentina—and its fitting since they go so well with La Cabrera’s indulgent menu. The cremant-style sparkling wine is a crisp companion for starters such as the chicharones (floured and fried beef fat) and the provolota con pancetta y albahaca. The latter benefits greatly from its grilling time over burning coals, the smoke perfuming the salty cheese and the thick bacon.
Creamed spinach side dish
Potato gratin side dish
Milanese de pollo
Provolota con pancetta y albahaca
It is tempting to save some of the avocado, tomato, and egg salad to accompany the mains, but you really won’t need it. Their expertly grilled steaks come with an array of side dishes (“The cold ones are savory, the hot ones a bit sweet,” Lorenzana advises) which one might want to consume sparingly to save space for the succulent meats. While Filipinos tend to zero in on the ojo de bife (ribeye), an Argentine favorite would be the cuadril (coullote). Leaner, yet juicy and much more flavorful, Lorenzana specially requests this cut from his US beef supplier. “That’s the pope’s favorite steak,” he adds, proving only what we already concur—that cuadril is truly a superior cut of meat.
Ojo de bife
La Cabrera addresses the sparse lunch crowd and remedies it with more non-steak options. With Argentina’s huge population of Italian migrants, it’s not such a stretch to offer Milanesa de pollo—a chicken roulade stuffed with tomatoes and cheese. A chorizo carbonara linguini might seem like an abomination in Italy, but makes perfect sense in an Argentine restaurant that knows its history.
From a meaty Malbec, Lorenzana decidedly switches back to the bubbly as an accompaniment to their popular desserts. Their alfajores is quite legendary—shortbread sandwiches filled with dulce de leche—and is a worthy companion to their strong Lamill coffee. An impressive degustacion of sweets offers a pavlova and a chocotorta that Lorenzana is quite proud of. “You can order the whole cake,” he says, and it will surely be a treasured gift by whoever receives it.
A 40% discount is not something to balk at and is a considerable markdown even the moneyed regulars of La Cabrera will surely appreciate. For example, an 800-gram ribeye will set you back by approximately P5000 with taxes. When a guest comes from 5 to 6:30pm, they only pay almost half of that. And, one need not be a math whiz to know that, with the high quality beef and expert treatment it gets in La Cabrera, that is quite a bargain.
La Cabrera Manila is at G/F 6750 Ayala Avenue, Glorietta Center, Makati City.