We Tried Your Local’s Cocktail Omakase (And You Should Too)
This is an omakase experience you won't want to miss!
ILLUSTRATOR Camille Georgia Uy
The next time you ask someone, "Anong gusto mong kainin?" (What do you want to eat?) and they respond with, "Kahit ano," (I'm good with anything) here's a suggestion: bring them to an omakase.
An omakase is a kind of course menu featuring dishes chosen by the restaurant's chef. Omakase is a Japanese word that means, "I'll leave it up to you," and in this case, it means you are letting the chef decide what to serve you.
While the concept of an omakase may not be new to you, and neither may be Your Local, the popular Asian fusion restaurant tucked away in Makati, here's a fusion to be excited about: Your Local's 5-Course Cocktail Omakase! Known for its penchant for combining Asian flavors with impeccable execution, Your Local now offers a limited-seating omakase menu created by Chef Patrick Go that can inspire a greater appreciation for bar chow and cocktail pairings.
Here are the dishes to look forward to enjoying at Your Local's 5-Course Cocktail Omakase:
1 Tuna Pomelo Lime Tartare and Gin Lychee
Anyone who enjoys tuna sashimi or even kinilaw will appreciate this appetizer course. The tuna loin was marinated in a delicate kaffir lime dressing: delicate, because even though kaffir limes are known for their strong tang, you'll only get enough of a hint of it before the fresh tuna flavor comes in. As you bite, the pomelo chunks and chopped chives provide pops of refreshing bittersweet and savory notes. It is topped with papadum flakes, whose crunch and rounded, earthy spiced flavor balances the soft texture and seafood taste of the tuna.
Paired with a Gin Lychee cocktail, the first course whets the appetite as it urges you to go from a bite of the tartare to a sip of the drink. The Gin Lychee was fruity but had a hint of ginger and a mellow undertone of lychee that served an instant palate cleanser. This course was the perfect preview of the masterful cocktail pairings that followed it!
2 Salmon Kushiyaki and Whiskey Mojito
In this second course, the Salmon Kushiyaki (the Japanese term for skewered and grilled food) is elevated by Indonesian flavors as it is topped with crunchy fried ikan bilis and peanuts (an Indonesian snack made with fried dried anchovies and peanuts) and served in kecap manis (a sweet Indonesian soy sauce). Each bite is a discovery of a different flavor or texture each time: the seemingly firm salmon all but flakes off the stick, and you are first hit with a smokey flavor that gives way to the flavor of the salmon, a hint of parsley, and the deep umami of the kecap manis. Following that is the crunch of the ikan bilis that livens up the soft and flaky bite.
Though made with almost the same ingredients as the Gin Lychee, the Whiskey Mojito features ginger juice and ginger ale, giving it a lingering spice that's balanced by the orange mixed in the cocktail. Just as the first course, this was a push-and-pull between the brightly flavored kushiyaki and the more earthy mojito.
3 Truffled Kropek and Gin Aperitif
The third course elevates the humble kropek, a fried Filipino prawn cracker, with aonori (dried powdered seaweed) and dried pepper flakes. Not only does the fried-to-a-crisp kropek crunch then melt in your mouth; the aonori and pepper flakes give it a sort of smoked umami flavor with just a hint of heat. This is served with a truffle mayo dip that offsets the quiet spice of the crackers with creaminess. Suprisingly, the truffle in the dip also does not overwhelm; its unique earthiness meets the deep and smokey aonori and this rich combination is neatly tied in by the tang of the mayonnaise.
This course felt like a little snack in between; a fun little break after the in-your-face seriousness of the first two courses. Paired with the Gin Aperitif (which funnily enough is served mid-meal as opposed to, traditionally, before the meal), the playful Truffled Kropek meets its match in the stronger cocktail which packs quite a bit more of an alcoholic punch than its predecessors. The gin and bitters in the Gin Aperitif is just barely tempered by the pineapple juice and lemon, but it works so well because the stronger alcohol flavor cuts through the spice and creaminess of the kropec and dip combo!
4 Crab and Corn Toast and Your Local Sour
What hits you first in this fourth course is how the textures of the dish played with each other. When you bite into the Crab and Corn Toast, you feel the corn kernels burst before it gives way to the pillowy blue crab and shiitake mushroom in hot and sour sauce. Then you get the crunch of the fried mantou (a type of Chinese bun), which gives way to its soft, sweet center. The bite leaves a warm, spicy aftertaste, which is soothed by a sip of the Your Local Sour. The refreshing and revitalizing cocktail washes the spiciness away, but without first transporting the spice from your mouth to the back of your throat in a good way! The spice goes away, but it leaves a little warmth that brings you down gently from the high of the first three courses.
5 Pork Chasyu Tostada and Whiskey Garam
Do not be fooled by the unassuming bowl this dish was served in! Beneath the perfectly fried wonton wrappers of the Pork Chasyu Tostada, you'll find the best bites of the night: chashu bits that hit you with its smokiness before bursting with a juicy flavor that's a mix of the shoyu-based marinade and pork fat. Each bite of the Chasyu Tostada is somehow the perfect ratio of lean meat and fat, which the togarashi aioli and pickled onions beautifully cut through. Follow this bite with a fried wonton, and it's like having firecrackers and a comforter in your mouth at the same time.
Here's a surprise twist: where the previous pairings featured dishes and cocktails that balanced each other out, in this last course, the Whiskey Garam instead build on the flavors of the tostada. The Whiskey Garam it comes in with a mellow, bittersweet flavor that tones down the fat and tang of the Pork Chasyu Tostada and then leaves you with a faint, pleasant imprint of the sumptuous bite you just had. Unlike the previous courses where contrast was the name of the game, this course was a masterclass in harmonizing and bringing all the flavors home.
Bonus Dessert: Dark Chocolate Brownie with Kaya Cream and Patis Caramel
This was a surprise dessert course we didn't know to expect but were happy to receive. The dark chocolate brownie bits were soft but chewy and had rich bites of chocolate chunks. Its flavor was elevated by the (you read that right) patis caramel and tempered by the kaya cream. It is a stroke of genius: it works because the patis caramel is much like salted caramel but with the addition of a deep umami flavor. The dessert was sprinkled with cocoa powder and matcha powder, which felt like a grounding island in a sea of decadent flavors whenever you got a hit in a bite. This was the encore you didn't know you could ask for, and a fitting end to an impeccably crafted course meal.
Is your mouth watering yet? Your Local's 5-Course Cocktail Omakase is going for another round on November 9 and 10, 2022. They have two time slots: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Seats are limited and can be reserved at tasteless.ph for P1,900, exclusive of the 10% service charge.
Your Local is at 106 Esteban Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
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