Your Local opened in 2014– a time when I was focused on just sharing recipes on this site and pretty much oblivious about new food spots in the metro. But I think it’s a testament to how good this restaurant genuinely is when two years later, it’s still the talk of the town. In fact, one could argue that they got better at their craft, prompting Conde Naste Traveler to recognise them as one of the best restaurants in the world.
They are the lone entry from the Philippines on that list.
I’m not one of those food bloggers who feel pressured to be the first in line whenever a new and hip restaurant opens up, so I didn’t really mind that it took me this long to try Your Local. But daaaaang, I sure realised how much time I’ve wasted! How many Your Local meals could I already have under my belt if I had tried this little gem out sooner? Because I sure want a taste of each and every dish after this visit!
Your Local serves up what I feel is a really interesting fusion cuisine– Southeast Asian with a Western flair. This is not the first restaurant to dabble in such a fusion, but I can honestly say they are one of the few that really understand how to pull it off. I’m trying to recall if I’ve ever eaten such unique dishes before anywhere in my life, and I am really coming up short. In fact, I sometimes still dream of the dishes we ate here as I attempt to wiggle another visit into my schedule!
Your Local is located along a really quiet street in Makati so it might be easy to miss if you’re not watching for it as you drive along Esteban Street. If you know where Yardstick Coffee is located, you’ll find this place right beside. In fact, you can actually order some coffee from Yardstick if you want to. Just flip to the last page of Your Local’s menu for the choices.
If you’re more of a wine person, then they’ve got lots of those too. Plus other alcohol drinks and cocktails of course.
The ambiance of Your Local reminds me a lot of the hotspot eateries in New York where they really take the concepts of their interior design up a notch. Your Local seems to be a mixture of basement-slash-industrial with a cozy vibe. I also love the old-school feel of being in here. My only gripe is that the place is kind of dark with yellow lights overhead, so snapping pictures can be a bit difficult. 😛
The open-kitchen setting where you can sit as though you’re at a bar does remind me a lot of the restaurants in New York City too, although that’s becoming a real trend among the more recently-opened local restaurants these days. At this age, inspiration is just one click away after all.
The service at Your Local is efficient and friendly, even when it started getting busy at around 12.30PM. I was initially afraid that we wouldn’t be getting any more seats if we arrived later than 11.30AM, but people started coming in droves just before 1PM. I guess Makati peeps enjoy a later lunch, but it’s useful to keep this in mind. When we arrived a few minutes after noontime, we were immediately ushered towards a table and our orders were promptly taken. About 20 minutes later we started our little feast.
Shrimp Roll (Php 550)
Dark brioche envelops a kewpie-based mixture of shrimp, century egg, laksa leaves, and yuzu. Served with a side of parmesan fries and truffled ketchup.
What a great idea to add century egg to a shrimp salad-esque sandwich! I know that not everyone likes century egg, or maybe they’re just letting the dark colour of it intimidate them, but not to worry, this one doesn’t taste strongly of the stuff. I think they managed to balance it out quite well. You get a taste of the century egg in every bite, but just enough to know that it’s there. Mostly you’ll get sweet shrimp and a hint of tang from the yuzu.
And for people who go weak in the knees for french fries, the parmesan fries-truffle ketchup combo will be your new best friend. I don’t really like fries that much but even I couldn’t resist these!
Tofu Steak & Eggs with Rice (Php 370)
Flavourful pan-seared tofu is laid atop roast corn and shiitake black rice. The whole thing is topped with fried eggs and shiitake mushrooms.
This one’s for the vegetarians. There’s actually a large slab of tofu underneath that egg, but I couldn’t take a good photo of this dish being eaten because it started disappearing fast thanks to my brothers haha! What I like about this dish is that it’s “layered”, and the best way to eat it is to get a whole layer of rice, tofu, eggs, and mushrooms on your spoon. Pop it in your mouth and you’ll find that it’s such a party of flavours! P
Torched Salmon Donburi (Php 550) 🌟
Norwegian salmon is torched just until cooked medium, placed over roast corn and shiitake black rice, then topped with mentaiko (fish roe), ebiko (shrimp flakes), oboro, and salmon skin.
This is one of Your Local’s signature dishes, and it is the one that I was really looking forward to trying. I must say I was not disappointed even a little! It is as delicious as everyone says! The salmon is fresh, tasty, and seared to a perfect medium. For maximum flavour and experience, you must eat it with a mix of the toppings plus that delicious rice underneath! (They make some really mean stir-fried black rice over here!) I do suggest mixing the toppings like a salad and then spreading it on top of the salmon before consuming. OH SO GOOD!
Wow so many exclamation points used over here! I really love salmon (in any measure of doneness apparently) so this was one of my favourites for the day. 😀
Chorizo Sandwich (Php 490)
Juicy 1/3-pounder chorizo and onion patty, with pepperoncini cream cheese, sunny side up, and seasonal greens, inside a squid ink bun. Served with parmesan fries and truffled ketchup.
For the longest time, I’ve been so curious about these black buns from Your Local. Squid ink is really getting a lot of interesting uses these days! I think I was a little underwhelmed by the patty because I was looking for a bit more chorizo oomph, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this. It was definitely juicy and all the components came together nicely, but I think what this needs is a little more smoky kick.
Can’t deny I love looking at those layers!
Otak Otak (Php 380) 🌟
Ground salmon is mixed with starch and spices, then grilled inside a banana leaf. It is served with coconut rice, plus a set of sides including Asian-style chili, cucumber, and scrambled egg with chili sauce. Shredded laksa leaves add colour.
I know the Salmon Donburi gets all the stars from people who have visited Your Local, but this one deserves lots of attention too. It’s fabulous. In fact, I would like another order right this minute!
I’ve eaten otak otak from a street vendor in one of my trips abroad a long time ago, but it was never so good! This meatloaf-like fish is flavourful on its own, but if you eat it with the chilli sauce, or the coconut-based chilli that comes with this dish, it might just blow your mind! All the components on this plate have their own solid flavours and yet they come together so beautifully, especially when eaten with the fragrant rice! I highly recommend this!
Chocolate Earl Grey Pudding & Lime Mousse (Php 290) 🌟
Earl grey-infused chocolate pudding is plated with a dollop of lime mousse plus a scattering of milk crumbs. The side of the bowl holds a black sesame paste that provides a contrasting flavour.
At a glance this looks like one of the most avant-garde desserts you will ever lay eyes on. To some people it might not look very appetizing, but you have to taste before you give a verdict. And wow does this dessert deliver all the components as listed!
The chocolate pudding is smooth and creamy with a solid earl grey note. The lime mousse gives a nice tang against the sweet milky crumbs. But I think it is the yummy black sesame paste that provides a balance to what would’ve been a rather rich dessert, so make sure to get a portion of that with every bite. You might not notice it clinging to the side of the bowl, but that shiny black streak is not a decoration!
Cereal Milk Ice Cream (Php 265) 🌟
Ice cream infused with the flavours of your cereal-filled childhood. Some berry mascarpone and a sprinkling of Fruity Pebbles complete the dessert.
I’m not sure if Milk Bar‘s Christina Tosi was the one who started this whole cereal milk flavour trend, but I like that Your Local has adapted it into their own menu, and brilliantly I might add! The ice cream really has that cereal flavour (Fruity Pebble, I believe) locked inside every bite.
The point is to make it taste like the leftover milk after you finish your cereal, and this delivers exactly that kind of feeling. Except it’s in a cold and creamy form! The ice cream has just the right amount of sweetness with the unmistakable flavour of cereal. The berry mascarpone slathered on the side of the bowl is definitely a bonus!
There are quite a few things I’m still excited to try here, like the Double Dong Fu Yu Burger, and the Beef Rendang Slider that the poster below says is so good. The one thing that makes me sad is that Your Local is not open for dinner on Sundays, which means it will be hard for me to try out their dinner menu any time soon since I rarely go to Makati on weekday evenings. That’s what I don’t like about restaurants that have a different menu for lunch and dinner. 🙁
In any case, I can’t say I can complain about any of the dishes we did try during our meal here. Every single one of them was good, while the standouts Torched Salmon Donburi and Otak-Otak were simply exceptional! Even the desserts, simple or distorted as they look, really pack a punch in the flavour department.
The price is something you would expect from a restaurant in the area serving this kind of food, but depending on what you order, it doesn’t really feel that expensive. The dishes are big enough to share, and more than filling for one person to finish. I definitely think it offers great value for money in both size and flavour.
Well I think I’ve done enough gushing on the whole post. I just really cannot wait to come back here and eat everything else on the menu!
Full disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way and opinions are 100% mine alone.