Sunday, June 23, 2024

Philippines’ culinary delights: La Bamba Bistro in Parañaque City

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Diplomat Magazine
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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

By Anton Lutter

When one walks down Aguirre Avenue in Paranaque City (Manila) a simple facade hides one of the best restaurants in the Philippines. Once inside, one imagines oneself in a French bistro; the menus are accordingly.

I was the guest of chef and owner Tina Legarda there. Besides Tina – who mainly rules the kitchen – I found myself in select company including her father former oil company executive Chito Legarda and mother Bettina Kahn-Legarda, whose sister is married to former senator Ramon Magsaysay junior (son of the former president Ramon Magsaysay), Monsignor Achilles Dakay of Cebu archdiocese accompanied by Cebu business lady Leslie Cokaliong and PCGA Rear Admiral Ramon Moreno. As a non-Filippino I hugely enjoyed the conversation about Philippines’ old world life and history. Of course, the Monsignor chipped in about religious life in The Philippines, with the Catholic Church being the foremost religion.

The energetic Mrs. Tina Legarda is a highly appraised chef, who recently teamed up with Philippine Airlines to enhance their menus for international flights.  She started cooking at the age of eight and loved it so much that she’s made a profession of it, having been multiple awarded by Tatler Dining. But she couldn’t have done without her mother whose old world recipes are closely guarded family possessions.

The restaurant has a homey country style, which makes you instantaneously comfortable. This is reflected in Tina’s creative cooking which is neither snooty nor expensive, yet wouldn’t be out of place in Europe’s leading cities eateries. For starters we enjoyed the Patatas Fritas (which sounds like the Dutch Patat Frites, but is completely different), which is fried potatoes with Chorizo, ham, beef topped with a poached egg. This was followed by the Bistro Street Salad, consisting of lettuce, tomatoes, grilled tenderloin, blue cheese and walnuts and the artichoke Crostini, with cottage cheese, almond, pesto and a dash of balsamic. Main course Crispy Lapu Lapu (fish) served with chorizo rice and garlic oil. Ending it all with the lovely Strawberry Schaumtorte desert, which consists of strawberries, almond meringue, whipped cream and toasted almonds.

As Tina Legarda exclaimed “my aim is to bring the tradition of Filipino, Asian and Spanish flavors in a modern manner, simply presented in comfortable surroundings”. In this La bamba Bistro not only succeeded with flying colours but represented the best what culinary Philippines has to offer.

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