It was quite the surprise when Thea de Rivera and Gab Bustos, known in the food world as the Girl and the Bull, invited for an intimate dinner. In their brightly lit corner at the Grand Midori building amid supporters they've had since Day One, they described the event as "the only dinner launch we’ll have in a while” and the pair cooked their heart out for a magnificent one-of-a-kind feast.
When de Rivera and Bustos opened the first iteration of The Girl + The Bull in BF homes, they were in their early '20s, a couple of creatives who wanted to exercise artistic (and thankfully delicious) license in the kitchen. Now, with two restaurants under their belt, the latter explains, “I think it’s just now that we’re starting to find ourselves and [becoming] more confident in expressing our craft.”
Inspired by Korean cuisine, Bustos started the dinner with a selection of banchan (those tiny side dishes-slash-starters they served in Korean restaurants) to pair with the main dishes. He had an impressive 11, including red kimchi, white kimchi, baby anchovies with gochujang, spinach with garlic and yuzu, tomato soup with tomatoes, uni, dashi, ube chips with fish sauce and caramel, shiitake mushrooms topped with a quail egg and tare, baby corn smothered and grilled in doenjang and panko, egg custard with ikura and calamansi nestled in the center, and a duck liver katsu with pineapple. True to tradition, these tasty portions were unlimited, with six served first and the rest at pace with the other courses.
Bustos fired up a total of four main dishes: Mackerel, his famous Fried Chicken, Duck, and Wagyu Hanger Steak. These all came in large servings to be shared, family-style, by each table (or, rather, each section of the table). The richer, meatier dishes were complemented by the small bottles of soju (quirkily labeled “The Girl & The Bull) they were handing to their guests throughout dinner. Their usual selection of cocktails, beers, and nonalcoholic drinks were also available to order.
Dinner ended on a sweeter note, with their classic matcha Twix dessert, which gets better and better each time they make it. Many had it with coffee, freshly brewed in their bar on the second floor.
With their youth and boundless creativity, it's easy to predict that as Bustos and de Rivera continue to grow, The Girl + The Bull will continue to change (for the better).
The Girl + The Bull is at Grand Midori Building, Bolanos Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City; available only for dinner service.