Behind Bamba Bistro’s craveworthy comfort food in the South is chef Tina Legarda. At her restaurant, which has been around for about nine years now, you can expect to find food that will remind you of home, soothe the soul and fill the stomach. The charming neighbourhood watering hole, which has become a frequented spot over the years, continuously introduces new, innovative creations to its many fans. In the middle of the pandemic, she was able to smoothly transfer to a new location and revamp her menu all together while being able to launch secret menu-drops too!
With chef-owner Legarda in the driver seat, a woman who eagerly and happily pours her soul into her restaurant, Bamba Bistro’s secret sauce for success is no secret at all. It is Legarda’s hard work and passion for her craft. She is known for an extremely hands on approach, putting in the hours and ensuring the team is well trained, well fed and proud of what they do too.
Prior to opening Bamba Bistro she worked under chef Jessie Sinsioco, Billie King and then in Singapore with Mario Batali at Osteria Mozza. With years of valuable on-the-job training, she excitedly launched Bamba Bistro, an establishment bursting with flavours rooted in Filipino and Spanish culture, packed with memories of her youth and beloved family.
Food truly can transport you through time and can be quite nostalgic, and for this chef, family means a lot. When asked what recipe evokes great memories, she shared her Lola Charito’s Pollo con
Mantequilla. Her father’s mum taught this dish to chef Legarda’s mum, who then passed it down to the chef and her brothers. Hear what she has to say:
“Everything about it is comfort to me. It that kind of a dish that’s for everyone. I super love how I remember enjoying it as a kid. For some reason, the smell alone brings me back to a time when I would see it being served from my Lola’s kitchen, where they would cook 30 chickens because we were such a big hungry family. Plus, the memory of it is in all my favourite places—the home I grew up in, Sundays at my Lola Charito’s house, family trips to Baguio, all our beach trips and now in my restaurant. It’s a dish that doesn’t stop giving!”
LOLA CHARITO’S POLLO CON MANTEQUILLA Ingredients
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 bar salted butter, softened
1½bar unsalted butter
1 pc white onion