Award-winning Asian fusion dishes delivered by Chef Nicco Santos
If you’re looking for Singapore’s cult-favorites Chilli Crab or the sensational Chicken Rice, or award-winning Beef Rendang of Malaysia, or even a Japanese-inspired Salmon Donburi with the most exquisite flavors, then head on over to Your Local along Esteban Street in Legaspi, Village, Makati.
The best of Asian flavors meets the best Western techniques and aesthetics, thanks to Chef Nicco Santos.
“These are flavors that I personally love,” Santos told Expat. “It was just a matter of [tweaking the recipe a little bit] to cater better to the Filipino palate.”
When asked about his favorite cuisine, Chef Nicco professed his undying love for Asian flavors—that perfect balance between sweet, spicy, salty, and sour that hits the right spot every time. In his travels, he never fails to get inspiration for possible combinations that’ll eventually give birth to culinary ideas.
“We’re constantly improving our current dishes to make sure that we always serve the best [possible form of a certain] dish,” he shared.
A chef’s job is never done even when he is outside the kitchen. In Chef Nicco’s case, he is also in-charge of training the staff and managing their employees. A task he still finds challenging everyday, but he has found a way of getting it done.
“I treat them as family,” Chef Nicco said. “We work together, we grow together…I have been with some of them long enough to see them learn the ropes and then excel at what they do…It makes me very proud to see them get better everyday.”
This feeling of family—of belongingness—is something that Your Local wants to exhibit towards their customers. By their name itself, the goal of Your Local is to be your local hangout place—the default choice for a great meal with family or after-work drinks with colleagues or a celebratory get-together with old friends. With this in mind, Chef Nicco often goes from one table to another to strike up a conversation with the customers. And if you’re sitting by the bar, you won’t feel alone because there will always be someone with whom you can share a friendly chat.
Aside from great service, Your Local has also won several recognitions for their excellent food. One of the most notable is their Beef Rendang Bun, which was named the best by Esquire Magazine.
“Getting recognized, getting awards, is a very humbling experience,” Chef Nicco said. “But these are just bonuses. For us, it’s always about serving great food to satisfy our customers.”
And speaking of great food, when at Your Local, make sure to try their bestselling items like their Chili Crab Buns (sweet crab meat tossed in that signature chili sauce with cucumbers served between crispy fried mantou—Chef Nikko’s own twist to the Singaporean favorite), Chicken Rice (which he agonizingly
perfected for months, plus a separate knife skills training session just to get the slices right), and my personal favorite, the Salmon Donburi. It took him roughly eight months to conceptualize the dish and I say that’s time well spent. It has sweet oboro flakes, smooth and creamy mentaiko, tangy leeks, crunchy salmon skin, and the most succulent torched salmon I’ve ever had. All of that and more on top of flavored black rice. It’s not just a dish, it’s an experience —served with a friendly smile.
Your Local also has several signature cocktails that are worth trying and we suggest getting Tinker, which is earl grey-infused vodka with rosemary.
So if you’re looking for something new to try this weekend but also searching for that feeling of familiarity of a friend, Your Local is the place to be.
Your Local is located at Esteban Street, Legaspi Village, Makati. For more information, like them on Facebook or follow them on Instagram @yourlocalph.
By CHING DEE