Friday, June 6, 2014

Gourmet Comfort Food at Bamba Bistro

I am finding more and more reasons to pay BF Homes Parañaque a visit nowadays. The restaurant scene is poppin', and I am very happy to live close enough to experience the lot! I was saddened when I discovered the institution that was Gourmet Burger had closed its doors - that place was such a staple of the Aguirre Avenue scene and a favorite with the students and drinking crowd.

As sad as I was there for a moment, I was equally as happy to discover that the folks who put up Gourmet Burger had just moved to another part of the huge village, with their newest baby, Bamba Bistro, serving up a few of the old burger favorites and a lot of interesting new dishes - the chef's take on comfort food, on soul food, on downright good food!

Cooking demands attention, patience, and above all, a respect for the gifts of the Earth. It is a form of worship, a way of giving thanks.
Ever the curious foodie, Jericho, his sister Justice, and I, paid Bamba Bistro a visit one afternoon after a morning of cupcake supply shopping, and we just fell in love with the quaint little bistro next to Sinagtala Village, with its homey ambiance (well, I guess once upon a time it was someone's home) and its diverse yet nicely executed array of dishes. After having a big bowl of Linguini Cristina (P295) and  What's My Name Again?! (P170) for dessert, I sorely wanted another excuse to pay the place a visit, and I got it when my foodie friends - blogger couple Abet and Joan of The Food Alphabet - paid Alabang a visit.

Owned and run by Chef Tina Legarda, this is a place you'll definitely want to keep coming back to. Chef Tina serves up her versions of comfort food - everything from burgers to ravioli - with her signature twist! I love how she incorporates her personality into each dish, making each her own. The restaurant got its name from the Ritchie Valens song, La Bamba, which was a song she'd sing to cheer her up when she was growing up. Funnily enough, I have a few good memories shaking my butt off with my dad and singing along to that, too!

We were a pretty big group on my second visit to Bamba - with Jane of Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice and her kids joining the fray, as well - and that meant a lot of hungry mouths to feed! We started with Huevos Flamencos (P210), a kind of tapas dish with bits of chorizo, ham, ground beef, stewed tomatoes, olives, onions, and egg, this is all drenched in some good olive oil and tossed with a handful of pine nuts before being served with bread that's been brushed with oil and thrown on the grill.

Another Bamba appetizer that was simple yet delicious is their Artichoke Crostini (P290). The artichoke looks like little florets on top of a nice crusty bread, with basil puree and ricotta cheese in between and drizzled with some sweet balsamic vinegar.

Ate Fitspiration, Jane's eldest, ordered their Mesclun Salad (P235). A fresh twist from the French classic, Chef Tina's version has a mix of assorted fruits, feta cheese, and grilled chicken, along with crispy, crunchy papadom chips and drizzled with a simple and light house vinaigrette. Bamba makes salads look (and taste!) good!

Ate Fitspiration also ordered Bamba's Surf N' Turf Tacos (P595). This are basically two soft tacos filled with two totally different ingredients, I wanted to dig my hamsters into them! One soft taco held grilled tenderloin, sriracha aioli, corn kernels, and salsa verde. Fish and shrimp, a watermelon salsa, garlic aioli, unagi sauce, and alfalfa sprouts filled the other one. Both were amazeballs!

Chef Tina also brought out these really cool looking La Cochon Sliders (P350) - crispy pork belly with unagi sauce, topped on a red cabbage slaw with fried wonton wrappers giving the little burgers a loud crunch with each bite.

My personal favorite sandwich at this place is the Bamba Burger (P220), as it reminds me so much of the stuff they used to serve at Gourmet Burger, only so much better! This beef burger also has American cheddar, tomatoes and onions, served with a smoked bacon mayo and tomato jam with crispy string onions on the side in lieu of fries.

Now, the first time I had this (ok fine - Jericho was the one to actually order it, I just swiped a little off his plate) I was a tad bit disappointed that they didn't serve this with French fries, but then I dipped the crispy onion strings into the smoked bacon mayo and I could swear I heard angelic voices singing in the distance and the devil on my shoulder telling me to polish off Jericho's sides.

Jane's youngest, the Baby Unicorn, ordered her staple - The Morning After Sandwich (P350), Bamba's decadent take on the humble Croque Madame. In between slices of homemade bread lies a slice of ham, and cheddar cheese, with an egg done sunny side up on top of the sammie, slathered with cream, truffle oil, and honey. The best part for me was dipping the thick cut fries into the excess honey-truffle mix and enjoying the sticky sweet and salty flavor.

If you're looking for a dish that involves some type of rice, the Grilled Prawns (P695) is to die for! This beautiful mess beneath the giant prawns is a smokey-flavored roasted tomato risotto, covered with a generous helping of goat cheese berlinoise before being drizzled with a balsamic reduction.

The Duck Ravioli (P495) at Bamba Bistro nearly blew my marbles - the stuff was so good! Not to mention hella affordable - I pay an arm and a leg for almost the same thing in the posh BGC restaurant. Each ravioli pocket was filled with duck and ricotta cheese, swimming in a porcini mushroom sauce with the truffle oil tickling my senses. Three thumbs up for this!

For dessert, we had Chef Tina's Pizzookie (P230) - a soft cookie made so bit it looked like a personal pizza. This was served served ala mode with a salted caramel sauce and chopped walnuts. I had to resist the urge to lick the dainty shot glass with the salted caramel sauce clean - may I haz some moar?

Overall, I was tickled to know that our guests from up north enjoyed the food and had a marvelous time. Bambe is officially on my list of "Great Places to Grub in BF Homes", along with the small ramen place near Lopez, the Italian home-in-the-wall, the Greek souvlaki place, and the Japanese restaurant that looks like a yakuza hang out but actually serves super cheap sukiyaki. Thank you, chef Tina, for having us!

When mucking around BF Homes in Parañaque, do yourself a favor and opt for Bamba Bistro and order up a storm! They have an ever changing specials menu as well, so if you haven't tried the #BOOM Burger or Toblerone Fondue, it would be best to head out there now before they disappear from the menu completely!

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Bamba Bistro
+63 2 519 7097
55 Aguirre Homes, BF Homes, Parañaque
Operating Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 11am - 10pm