New Food Now: Your Local Unexpectedly Nails Fusion Food at the Heart of LegaspiJune 29, 2014
Legaspi Village. Known for its quiet, busy streets that are home to some of Makati’s bustling offices, is one of the last places you’d think of when searching for a more upscale dining destination. There’s reliable Balkan, serving up stews and other comfort food of Yugoslavian descent; La Grotta, if you’re in the mood for Italian; Ba Noi’s if you’re craving Vietnamese, and then, there’s Your Local. The newest stud in the neighborhood by Chef Denny Antonio and Nicco Santos, it’s ballsy enough to fuse all these cuisines together, and come up with something entirely their own.
The interiors are straightforward and a bit of a throwback—a combination of hip and minimalist, with Monocle issues lying near the windowsill, and a vintage phone tacked on a tiled wall. The cuisine is a cultural conversation that speaks volumes about the countries the owners have traveled to, with flavors spanning from all four directions meeting at a precise point, and translated into their meticulously prepared menu.
For example, a vegemite sandwich blanketed with melted white and yellow cheddar cheeses then topped with a delicate sous vide egg is a punch in the gut to the standard grilled cheese, while mischievous chili crab mantou buns deceive you with a sweet start, ending in a fiery finish.
A Hebi Hiam pasta dish is an offspring of Singapore and Italy, but can pass as a sibling of Pad Thai on the surface. The Lamb Rendang here is succulent, and has enough mint, cilantro, and sweet soy to balance the gamey flavor of the meat. A sous vide egg binds the dish together, with red raisin black rice a cushion for the yolk and flavorful oils. There’s also that fresh egg salad and salmon sandwich that contains ricotta and a generous serving of twice-smoked salmon tucked in between two squid ink buns—a crowd favorite, Nicco points out.
Given the number of disastrous stories about restaurants who’ve tried to marry cuisines from opposite poles of the globe, I tend to exercise caution—and a lot of it—when trying dishes that boast of geographic freedom. But Your Local seems to have nailed it. With dish ideas from different countries, they’ve managed to step on territorial borders with deft and ease. Finally, a restaurant that’s got it right.