Legends Café: Thinking local

By Samantha Goerling ,

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Legends Sirloin Steak with Grilled Breadfruit is set to hit the specials menu.

Legends Sirloin Steak with Grilled Breadfruit is set to hit the specials menu.

After only seven months in business, Legends Café is ready to take it to the next level. 

Soon customers will be able to enjoy the seaside dining experience in evenings too. 

Located on Taumeasina Drive near the soon-to-be-opened Taumeasina Island Resort, the café is adjacent to the Vanya Taulealo Gallery, and seating on the veranda area overlooks the sea. 

Owner of both the café and gallery, Dr. Vanya Taule’alo previously had her gallery situated in Si’usega.

However, after hearing that the proposed Taumeasina Island Resort should be opening in 2016, she decided to relocate and add a café to the gallery. 

Dr. Taule’alo recounted how she made the decision in 2014 and told her husband, Tuu’u Dr. Ieti.

“I said that we would bring the gallery down to the family land and I’m going to add a café. It was just like that, very spontaneous.”

It was in March 2015 that building began and on 15 June 2015, Legends Café was officially opened. 

The café’s culinary decisions were informed by Dr. Taule’alo’s environmental and health conscience. She explained that as well as past experience.

“My husband and I have been involved in the environment for a long time. A lot of my artwork is revolved around the protection of the environment and the special role that the environment plays in our lives and lives of all sorts of other creatures. 

“You could say that we were hippies so when we were in New Zealand, we had our own garden and produced our own food. I’ve always been interested in that sort of philosophy.”

This has led to the majority of the food being grown in Dr. Taule’alo’s garden in Siusega of the café gardens. Importing products is avoided at all costs.

“I have a big garden at the back of the café which unfortunately has been badly flooded. Up until we were flooded we supplied about seventy-five percent of our own vegetables,” said Dr. Taule’alo. 

“It has to be environmentally friendly, it has to have a low carbon footprint. I don’t see the point in bringing things from overseas at all. I mean there are basics, that of course, you have to like sugar, flour, butter. If my chefs can’t justify why they want something to me, then I say you’ve got to think of a local alternative.” 

Aside raising recognition of local produce, Dr. Taule’alo enjoys introducing customers to highly nutritious vegetables that they may not have previously encountered. These include the Drumstick Tamaligi tree, Kang Kong, creeping spinach and purslane. 

As the menu is built around local produce it changes seasonally. With mangoes nearing the end of their season the smoothies and garnishes will soon be adjusted. 

Underpinned by both an environmentally friendly and health orientated philosophy a “clean and fresh” style of dishes are served at Legends Café.

Currently there are three chefs and one in training who prepare the elegantly plated dishes.

Food dishes range from $15 to $38. Some of the most popular dishes include the Legend’s Tower Sandwich, the Laxa Soup, the Slipper Lobster and the Stuffed Squid.

Vegetarians are not left out in the cold. A three cheese eggplant lasagne is available. The chefs are also able to adjust dishes to different dietary requirements such as gluten intolerance. 

For the juices, beginning at $6, the LG&T (Lemon, Ginger and Turmeric) is a standout. Smoothies start at $10 with the most popular being the Sensational Sasalapa. None include berries as these would have to be imported. 

The coffee is also the locally grown Coffee Samoa. Rocky Paula, a barrister for three years and a former art student now mans the coffee machine at Legends Café. 

He has been able to apply his artistic talents to create coffee art and even takes requests. Teddy bears, leaves, hearts, suns and dogs have all featured on the coffee. 

Lion Tasi is one of the chefs and loves helping people eat healthier, learning from the other chefs and the teamwork involved in creating new recipes.

While the food is not grab-and-go, this is the perfect place to sit for a relaxed brunch or lunch. Dishes will take about fifteen minutes to prepare and will be perfectly presented with excellent service. 

Dr. Taule’alo believes that this same relaxed meal experience beside the water will be perfect in the evenings. 

As Taumeasina is a dry village, Legends Café will not be serving alcohol. However, it will be BYO with no corkage charges. 

The lovely Legends Café can be found on Taumeasina Drive only a short drive from Apia.

Currently, opening hours are from 8am-3pm Monday to Saturday. Although, stay tuned for the soon to be announced evening hours which are likely to fall on three days of the week to begin with. 

Legends Café are on Facebook and can be contacted on 20011 or 7772993.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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