Just three months old, Bamba Bistro is a corner restaurant in BF Homes that has given comfort food an elegant look and a new meaning.
Bamba Bistro, located along Aguirre Avenue
Modern Bistro + Confiteria
Bamba is a two-in-one dining place – the larger restaurant area with indoor and outdoor seating and the cozy confiteria where you can grab a cup of coffee or a serving of their desserts like Queen Elizabeth (a medley of dates, walnuts and butterscotch sauce) and a chocolate-y concoction called What’s My Name Again?! (interrobang included).
There was a small sign in the confiteria that caught my attention. Written in chalk, the words were: “No, we don’t have wifi... talk to each other!!!” and I was so glad that there is this is one place that encourages and allows people to have real conversations without competing with a news feed.
“You’re just going to eat here for two hours, might as well make it a good salu-salo,” says chef and owner Cristina Legarda. “I believe a table is sacred – you eat there and you talk there. It’s not everyday you’re together with someone, even if they live [with you] in the same house. It’s just nice to sit down and eat together,” she adds. I couldn’t agree more.
The more I repeated the word “bamba” in my head, the more it seemed familiar. Where have I heard this word before?
“It comes from the song ‘La Bamba’ because my dad plays the guitar, and when I was young, every time I’d cry he’d play that song--which is very upbeat--and it would make me happy,” says Chef Tina. “So it’s a good memory that I have that connotes comfort.”
A Modern Take on Family Recipes
Re-invented family recipes make up Bamba’s simple yet diverse menu. From My Mom’s Canneloni to Spanish stews like Lentejas (lentil soup) are dishes that Chef Tina enjoyed sharing with her family as she was growing up. “Even our special sangria is my lola’s recipe,” she shares.
Comfort food is elevated because of the beautiful presentation that is telling of what the chef has under her belt. Chef Tina’s culinary experience includes working under Chef Jessie Sincioco of Le Souffle fame and Chef Billy King. She also worked in Osteria Mozza at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, a restaurant owned by the formidable trio of Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton and Joe Bastianich.
So naturally, it felt like I was in an episode of Top Chef when the first plate of food came out. After having a few sips of their House Brewed Iced Tea (P95), the Mussels cooked in Chorizo Cream (P290) was laid on the table. The serving and the addition of the chorizo bits make it a filling dish and one that you can eat with some steaming rice.
House Brewed Iced Tea
Mussels cooked in Chorizo Cream
The B.L.T.C. (P280) is another option if you’re not keen on (or unfortunately allergic to) seafood, and is one of Chef Tina’s personal favorites. It’s made of bacon, marinated lettuce, ricotta cheese and sundried tomato piled on top of grilled bread. Its flavors are well-balanced and each bite has a nice texture and a bit of crunch.
Quite interesting for a sandwich, the Le Cochon Sliders (P350) is a feast for the eyes and for the lechon-craving belly: crispy pork belly, red cabbage slaw and wansoy in between bread and drizzled with eel sauce (whose taste is somewhat similar to teriyaki sauce) that adds a little punch of flavor.
Le Cochon Sliders
One of their Specials (and my favorite out of everything I’ve tried) is the Grilled Prawn (P695) served with roasted tomato risotto, goat cheese berlinoise, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. It has a freshness to it because of the tomatoes and the basil and the sweet, sharp flavor of the balsamic vinegar reduction goes perfectly well with the cream sauce.
For dessert, I had a helping of Chocolate Raviolinis (P215) served with drunken vanilla sauce. To properly consume these sweet things, dunk a ravioloni into the rum-laced sauce before taking a bite of its hazelnut-filled center.
Out of curiosity, I asked Chef Tina what a Beergarita (P190) was. For the ladies who aren’t big fans of drinking beer because of how un-ladylike it seems, this drink is for you.
“Food is music to the body, music is food to the heart” says author Gregory David Roberts. And what of conversations over good food? I would think it’s nourishment for the soul.
How to get there:
From South Superhighway, exit to Sucat. From Sucat Road, turn left to the BF Homes entrance and go straight along President’s Avenue until you reach Aguirre Avenue. Look for Sinagtala Village on the left. Bamba Bistro is outside of its gate.