5 Reasons Why I Fell in Love With Bistro Lokal
Updated: Feb 5
Alright. Let me start with an embarrassing admission. I am not a foodie. There. I said it. I'm not that adventurous when it comes to food and I don't hop around from one resto to another seeking various culinary experiences. No sir. I'm just your typical comfort food-loving type of girl. Drop a plate of your best good old Adobo in front of me and I'm happy as can be.
However, in this day and age, we are experiencing a sudden rise of ingeniously eccentric restaurants who have the audacity to start new trends. And although I'm still reluctant whenever I'm presented with something new, I cannot deny that there are moments where you can consider my interests piqued.
Watching the chefs do their magic in the intriguing Bistro Lokal is definitely one of those rare times. Bistro Lokal by Chef Miko Dy is a hidden gem in the outskirts of the city, where you can find the culinary experience of a lifetime. Here are the top 5 reasons why I'm head over heels with this chic new place.
1. IT'S EASY ON THE EYES
Let's face it. Every single thing that we do goes straight to our social media. The places where we dine is not an exception. We usually scour the city with aesthetics in mind as we try to look for the most Instagrammable backdrop we can find. Well, Bistro Lokal fits the bill quite perfectly. It's nestled in the midst of establishments with different target market which made it stand out even more.
Going up the stairs, you'll be warmly welcomed by an aura of sweet simplicity. You'll emerge to a vast array of concrete and wood with a touch of wrought iron in the right places. Thanks to the brilliance of the young architect Che Del Castillo, the place was a whole experience in itself. My favorite? The sea of incandescent bulbs with their romantic glow. Every nook and cranny is illuminated with that warm yellow radiance.
The gorgeous driftwood-inspired chandeliers are definitely the center of the spotlight. Pun intended. It's perfect, really, since Bistro Lokal also offers intimate dinner dates for couples to celebrate their anniversaries, engagements, birthdays or just a fancy date night. You and your significant other can enjoy a more private table on the loft while basking in the dimly lit ambiance listening to your personal violinist. Just thinking of that makes me swoon.
In addition, the kitchen is also laid bare for all to see. It's amazing how you can witness your food being prepared in a small but effective space composed of coordinated chaos.
2. IT'S A HOME FOR CREATIVITY AND PASSION
During my first time dining on Chef Miko Dy's table, I was already in awe of the way he presents his dishes. Along with the Robin to his Batman, Chef Reden Molina, the duo was quite apparent in showing that you're not only paying for the meal per se but the skills of these chefs as well. It's amazing to see how they transform their passion into something creative and delicious.
Imagine your familiar Cordilleran and local comfort food prepared and presented in a playful manner that will not only dazzle your eyes but also tickle your artistic side. Every dish presented to us was giving us all the happy feels like a kid at a birthday party! It's like one magic trick after another! All I could manage were unintelligible "Ooohs" and "Aaahs".
Who knew food could be both delectable and entertaining at the same time?! And I don't mean a full production like the dancing china and cutlery from Beauty and the Beast but more on art installations done on plates instead of canvas! Chef Miko and Chef Reden have reiterated that their menu will be changing every once in a while. That just shows how hard they are working on Bistro Lokal. They would like to create a different menu every few months or so to keep their guests excited. Although they would still be bringing back the favorites, their goal is to keep their diners on their toes in expecting what they'll experience next.
3. FOOD, DELICIOUS FOOD
This February, they will be introducing a new set of menus. I was very privileged to be one of the first to try these yet to be released dishes. And just like my first Bistro Lokal experience, this did not fail to make me clap like a little girl.
However impossible, Chef Miko and Chef Reden have upped the ante. This time, taking a leaf from Taiwan's cookbook, they managed to prepare Sinigang in front of us using only hot stones. Yep. No fire. Confused? Well, me too, at first. But the shrimp cooked by the stones were super juicy and so I just swallowed it along with my disbelief and washed it down with a gulp of my Sampinit-Strawberry Kombucha.
Also, one of the things that will surely drag me back is the Organic Ginataang Kalabasa and Sitaw. This dish is the absolute bomb. My husband usually teases me since I don't eat vegetables that much but, man, oh man, I could eat this every day. The tiny Kinuday pork bits along with the crunchy fried Sili leaves and squash blend harmoniously with the coconut milk and so whatever unrealistic expectations that I have about vegetables are surprisingly met. I promise you, this is purely impeccable.
4. THEIR CARE FOR THE COMMUNITY
I highly respect Chef Miko and Chef Reden's love for our farmers. There's a dramatic change in today's food industry wherein more and more consumers are becoming very conscious than ever before of where their food comes from. And if you have been caught up in the current issues of our Cordilleran farmers, then you'd know their cries and pleas for help. Chef Miko understands all of these and so he wanted to help our local people in every way that he possibly can. The chocolates for his pastries are from our very own Cordilleran, Dulche Padua Chocolates, who also works hand in hand with local farmers. The butter for the sourdough bread is also from Baguio Dairy Farm.
In addition, instead of bread, customers will be soon served with a vegetable salad featuring the harvests of our very own Benguet farmers. They managed to partner up with various farmers and producers within the highlands and they currently get their produce from our farmers in Buyagan, La Trinidad, Tublay, and Tuba to mention a few.
Creating this system helps Chef Miko make his goal of having a "Farm to Table" set-up into reality. Even the Sampinit or the wild berries that we used to forage when we were little kids are being sourced out from the locals through the group Slow Food Community Foundation for Biodiversity.
With that in mind, it just feels so good knowing that when you dine there, you're not only supporting a local business grow but you're also helping out one of our nation's less popular heroes, our dear farmers.
5. THEIR EXCELLENT TEAM
Sustainability is a top priority but in order for it to work, it requires a certain amount of flexibility and creativity not only from the chefs but from the kitchen staff as well. For Bistro Lokal, you would certainly notice how rigorous their staff are trained. Chef even mentioned having to change his mindset and adjusting to his staff's culture and attitude whenever he disciplines them. A feat that not all employers have. I personally witnessed how playful he was with everyone on his team and yet firm and strict when cooking is involved. The staff were all respectful and patient. (Shout out to Sir Russell and Sir Jay-Ar who were eager to assist us and our silly requests during our stay!)
I guess it's safe to say that you can also attribute a part of Bistro Lokal's success to Chef Miko and Chef Reden's bromance. Their chemistry is palpable which just makes their team even better. If you're not convinced, here's a photo:
By the way, Chef Miko is very open to suggestions. He wanted real comments and honest opinions. If you have tried or will try Bistro Lokal in the future, you are welcome to share your two cents or comment on your experience below. I hope your taste buds were tickled just like mine was.
-The Highland Mama