(SPOT.ph) It can be really tempting to dismiss any and all attempts at fusion cuisine as a mere attempt at banking on novelty—ergo the term, fusion confusion. But once in a while you come across instances where fusing multiple cuisines, genres, or influences are done with clever thought behind it, the smooth mingling of opposing elements, and great dexterity in execution—and you can see (and taste) what we mean for yourself at the upcoming 8-Course Tasting dinner, where Legazpi Village haunt Your Local is collaborating with Japanese-style food purveyor Taste & Tell! The brands will soon be taking reservations for the dinner on April 7 and 8; if you’re curious about what to expect, we got a sneak peek, and here’s what went down.
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Here’s what you can look forward to at the upcoming Your Local x Taste & Tell collab dinner:
Asian traditions—mostly Japanese, but with occasionally also other parts of the continent—are given modern spins in the dinner, with results that are as eye-opening as they are, simply put, hella delish. Your Local, of course, is no stranger to the idea of remixing Asian eats; they’ve been killing the genre since they opened in 2014, with now-icons like the Beef Rendang Buns and their signature Torched Salmon Donburi that are best paired with their own craft cocktails. Taste & Tell on the other hand is a relative newcomer that was born in the midst of the 2020 quarantine, initially focusing on the pandemic superstar that was sushi bake (with flavor-bomb combos and using high-quality ingredients!) but also expanding to other umami bites like donburi and grilled fish—their way.
Your Local's current Head of Culinary Operations is Chef Patrick Go, formerly of Black Sheep and currently also of Gochu-Gang at The Grid as well as delivery-only brand Dan Dan Asian Eatery (formerly Mister Dandan). For the collaboration, Go shares that he “threw in different ideas” with the folks of Taste & Tell, with each team bringing their own dish to the lineup but also directly joining forces in other dishes. The result is an eight-course affair that simultaneously delivers on flavor impact plate after plate—yet with clear progression and smooth transitions between each dish that it overall makes for a smooth ride.
We start light and bright with a zesty libation of gin, kaffir lime, lychee syrup, lent zip thanks to perilla leaves. Meanwhile, an amuse-bouche of savory-sweet char siu on a light prawn cracker makes for a small yet impactful bite as the melt-in-your-mouth tender meat is met with the crackliness of the cracker. Shortly after, the first course is served: Hamachi a.k.a. yellowtail, fresh from the Land of the Rising Sun—and its relatively neutral yet buttery character is breathed life into with a sweet miso sauce, while a topping of fried onions and leeks add a welcome dose of earthiness and textural contrast.
A more indulgent number follows: the Unagi, a three-bite affair with the savory-sweet grilled eel atop fried mantou. It’s on the rich side, yes, but crisp and piquant pickled onions, leeks, and cucumbers balance the other elements out. Succeeding this is the Sake Nigiri course—for which you can choose your fighter. Sake or shake translates to salmon and on the plate are two pieces of nigiri with different expressions of the fish—one is a more straightforward affair with toro (the fatty part on the belly side of the fish), ikura, and leeks, while its comrade gives you a smokier, more deeply savory bite as the fish is torched and paired with wakame and crisp bits of salmon chicharon. A gingery Whisky Mojito serves to cleanse the palate afterwards, similar to the gari typically served on sushi and sashimi plates—and oh, are we suckers for that kick.
Soon the Kitayama Wagyu course arrives, and this plate is similar to the Sake Nigiri in that it lets you try its namesake two ways. One-piece goes luxe with torched foie gras and wasabi; the other is a fierier piece with sriracha mayo, garlic chips, and leeks! Past that, the Tuna course delivers peppy forkfuls; this tartare-like course has yellowfin tuna with elements that include juicy pomelo, crisp cucumber, briny mentaiko, a creamy avocado sesame sauce, and crisped-up lotus root—and it’s best taken scooped onto the crispy, spiced papadum served alongside.
While most courses so far have been on the zingy or rich end of the spectrum, the next dish delivers a no-fail dose of comfort: the Chili Blue Crab, where shredded blue crab is flavored a la Singaporean chili crab and spooned over a warming bowl of chicken congee along with mantou croutons. And as the citrusy and spiced Whisky Masala is served to amplify the crab course's hearty, warming character, so, too, arrives the star of the night.
That star of the night, of course, is the US Striploin. For this plate, the aforementioned beef is cooked to a perfect tenderness—think the kind that’s subtly smoky outside yet boasts a glistening deep-pink hue inside, delivering rich beefy flavor with little to no chewing needed. It’s paired with an earthy pumpkin laksa puree, as well as a savory-sweet soy glaze sweetened with gula melaka (a type of palm sugar similar to our own panutsa) that bridges the other components together for a seamless transition. And with the sweet ending that is the Kaya Matcha Tart—a composition of a wedge of matcha cheesecake on a tart crust, topped with vanilla ice cream, shards of a pistachio crisp, and a sweet-umami soy sauce caramel—plus a bonus black sesame-charcoal dessert dubbed the Black and White, the dinner comes to a lucid conclusion.
How to Book a Slot
First, the bad news: the 8-Course Tasting dinner’s original announced dates of March 31 and April 1 have sold out. But Your Local and Taste & Tell just announced that they’ll be holding two more nights of the collab on April 7 and 8, with reservation slots of 6 to 8 p.m. and 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.! Seats go for P4,500+ a person, and you’ll want to give the brands’ social media pages a follow as they’ll be opening the link for reservations tonight, March 18, at 8 p.m. The event will be held at Your Local’s premises along Esteban Street, Legazpi Village, Makati.
this strange new world.