RECOVERY FOOD – your drunken best friend
By Kathy S. Molina
When the lights start to dim in the middle your cocktail-induced small talk, it signals you to head on out for the real stuff. It’s a Saturday night! – The only night for most of us to exhaust what’s left of our energy from a filled to the brim work week. This is the night when we say, guiltlessly, that we deserve to go out, have a few drinks, girate our bodies in every direction possible and pass it off as “dancing” – no one around you is credibly sober enough to judge you anyway.
So, on a particular Saturday night, my friends and I dove into the sea of strobe lights, raised hands and various amounts of beer and liquor, while following the current of the DJ’s highly manipulated beats. Young adults of this generation screaming out YOLO (You Only Live Once) – the motto to justify the realizations for the morning to follow – as the breath of intoxication took over the party scene. (Not really my style but what the heck, YOLO! … – Yes, that’s sarcasm.)
After hours of sweat and delusion, there’s nothing more heavenly than that burst of fresh air that slaps you in the face as you squeeze your way out of the mosh pit. That was fun and all but dawn is coming and it is time to recover.
A few hours in on Sunday (but, of course, in our timeframe it’s still Saturday), we head to a quieter side of Bonifacio Global City, just a few blocks from the party fiasco, to experience one of the after-hours restaurants, primarily designed to cater to those who want to “recover” and to maybe avoid possible hangovers. The restaurant is, literally, called “Recovery Food.”
From the same creator as Mamou and Blue Kitchen, Recovery Food has been up and running since November of last year – fairly new in the market but already up to speed with other 24/7 joints, of the same audience. The place is quite small with only about 4 tables that would fit 4-6 people comfortably (I say this based on my blurred memory – bear with me). We had to wait a while for a table which only took about 3-5 minutes. I immediately realized why having a small dining area would be enough for a place like Recovery Food: most customers would go in to have their warm meals then leave once they’ve filled their hollow bellies – Eat, Recover, Leave. That’s probably why people didn’t mind the short wait.
Needless to say, they didn’t need an extensive menu to satisfy their customers. What Recovery Food offers is specific to their audience – Filipino comfort in a bowl. We sampled a few of their dishes in hopes of coming out sober. Warm bowls were on our table just a few minutes after ordering (which was only right – you wouldn’t want to keep hungry drunken customers waiting).
Common dishes in 24/7 Filipino eateries – frequented by those who are looking for comfort or are simply just awake at this time of day – would be Tapsilog (Beef Tapa, Garlic Fried Rice and Egg) or Tapa, Sinangag at Itlog and Beef Pares, which is braised beef cubes usually paired with Garlic Fried Rice and Beef Broth soup. True to their vision, Recovery Food has their version of these two Filipino dishes:
Tapa De Morning – Beef Tapa, Sunny Side-Up Egg, Brown or White Rice and a side of Ensalada (side salad made of red onions and tomatoes). The Beef Tapa was well-marinated – just the right combination of sweet and salty. Its flavor mixed well with the rightly cooked egg and brown rice. Definitely recommended!
Happy Beef Rice – Tender Beef Cubes on top of Brown or White Rice. This meal is reminiscent of the Filipino Beef Pares (without the beef broth soup). The Beef is very tender and tasty. We ordered this paired with Talangka Rice (small crab roe or crab fat rice).
Craving for something hot and easy to ingest, we ordered an interesting noodle soup, called Rau Men – Ramen noodles swimming in peanut-based broth. I was immediately fascinated upon seeing this on their menu. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the role of peanuts in Filipino cuisine would be Kare-Kare (Filipino stew made from peanut sauce, oxtail, beef and vegetables), so I thought of Rau Men as a unique kick to the role of peanuts in the Filipino food landscape (although ‘Ramen’ really comes from the Chinese and then later on introduced to the Japanese – but we’re all brothers and sisters here so this is forgivable!)
I enjoyed the Rau Men very much, actually. The soup had a good amount of carrots, crab sticks, shitake mushrooms, young corn, and bean sprouts. The noodles were cooked very well and the whole bowl was at the right temperature from start to finish. It was the warm, wake-up call I was looking for, with the additional kick from the peanut flavor and mild spice.
Overall, I think Recovery Food delivered what I had expected. It was casual, laid back and comfortable, at an affordable price.
Filling our stomachs with warm, Filipino comfort food was not only a good remedy to our intoxication but a great way to cap off the night and to bid farewell to an awesome weekend.
Note From the Fat Kid Inside: I’ve tried Recovery Food both in the wee hours of the morning and for dinner. To be honest, the food tasted better after a couple of drinks. I guess that is the purpose of this place. So i wouldn’t recommend coming here for dinner, but only when you really need something to make the world stop spinning before hitting the sack.
Other late night/ early morning favourites: Rufos (don’t ask me why i just really like their saucy tapa), North Park (i think i spent my teens in here – pork buns and tendon soup!!), Ziggurat (for when you need the spice kick), Whistle Stop (nothing says ”screw you body” like a 2am burger), El Chupacabra (Mexican delights) and even though Burgos is the red light district of Makati, roam around (not into the bars), but the restaurants around them and there are a couple of korean, greek and late night food gems.
I’m also working on this restaurant concept for Makati avenue, to open in October, but more info on the soon ;) Fat Kid Out!