So I’d hit the gym and worked up a good sweat. I’ve been focusing on getting myself back in lean, fighting shape, so I did a lot of super sets with high reps. Naturally, that really takes a huge toll on the muscles. What do gym rats do after a good workout? Why they Recover.
Recovery is the term for the process by which your body knits back its muscles after strenuous use, like a hard session at the gym. When you pump that iron, thousands of micro tears occur on your muscles, which begin to burn as you pour on the intensity of your workout. To “recover” from such a workout, your muscles need nutrition — lots of protein and carbohydrates, basically. With that, your muscles repair themselves and become stronger and larger than before. Well, theoretically.
Body builders have been drinking protein shakes for ages to help that recovery process. But failing that, a good meal filled with lots of protein and some carbs also does the trick. It turns out though that there’s actually a restaurant chain that is targeting gym rats looking for a quick, healthy meal right after hitting the iron! That place is called Recovery Food.
The places looks a lot like this ill-fated restaurant called “Rice of the World” which also used to be in Alabang (in Fastbytes, Northgate in particular). Thank goodness that abomination to rice and to the world is gone. It has a red, white industrial motif, with lots of metal and not-so-classy white monoblock chairs on white metallic tables. The place gets a zero for interior design, but I guess the rugged look is meant to appeal to the average gym rat.
One nice thing about it, as it proudly boasts on its signage — is that it is a 24/7 restau, making it prime targets for midnight snackers and call center agents alike. God knows there’s no shortage of Call Centers in the sleepy South.
As I entered, I was greeted by a very enthusiastic waiter. He was very nice, kind and polite. The service was great. He was attentive, and offered a lot of insight on the menu. Here’s a look at the menu, both the food and drinks menu.
The prices are a little steep for what’s basically tapa, or that’s what I thought. You get a bowl of tapa or other stuff for 150-200 pesos or so. There’s an option to “upsize” your meal to “Full Recovery” which basically means more rice and more meat. Admittedly, though, I have a pretty big basket but one bowl of their tapa was enough to get me full and satisfied.
Today I ordered their best seller, called “Tapa de Morning.” According to the menu, it’s “home made tapa, scrambled egg, ensalada and organic plain rice.” There’s also the option to have the egg sunny-side up, and your rice can be brown or white. You can also have “talangka rice” for an extra 35 bucks. As I am allergic to crabs, I just opted for brown rice.
The great thing was that I had barely set the menu aside and brought out my phone to do what nerds and geeks do when alone in a restaurant with nothing to do, but the food arrived in barely three minutes and I was surprised at how fast they whipped my meal up! Definitely huge stars for service here.
Most of the menu is basically rice bowl dishes. With the extra ramen in the menu, the Japanese-style bowls and the chopsticks, I’m seeing a strong Japanese influence here. This is basically Donburi, Filipino style. I have to say I like it.
The dish though was tapa through and through. The “ensalada” disappointingly (but predictably) was just a small serving of atsara, in all its sour goodness. Its far from the best atsara I’ve had — Tapa King’s atsara for instance is superior — but as a side dish I paid it little heed. The important thing was the bowl of steaming beefy goodness in front of me.
Thinking of it as some Gyudon, I mashed the egg and mixed the tapa into the rice. However, since the yolk was well cooked it didn’t seep into the rice. There was no dashi, so the rice had to make do with its own flavor. The tapa was not oily, but was of fine striated beef that was seasoned quite well, not with too much vinegar like you usually get with tapa, but with a more soy sauce-like marinade. Topped with green onions, it tasted pretty good. It was not very sweet, just a little salty but with that mild toyo flavor, and a lot of savoury goodness to it.
Eating this dish felt very healthy, especially with the brown rice, as opposed to eating some Tapsilog at Sinangag Express. It’s basically Tapsilog anyway, but it wasn’t oily, it was fresh-smelling and tasting, it had some green onions as token veggies, and it had delicious brown rice. I have to say, I’ve become quite a fan. The serving was pretty big, but most of it was rice. I had already finished off all the egg and tapa and I still had half a bowl of brown rice.
I definitely need to ask if there’s a “more meat” option in the Full Recovery — I am told “Full Recovery” (which is about 80 bucks more expensive) is more meat and more rice, but I don’t need more rice, I just need more meat! This is really the only criticism I can levy at the place, aside from its failing points in the decor department.
The food was good, the price was reasonable for what I got, it was healthy-feeling, and the service was fast and superb. They even serve you a bottle of water (literally, it looks like a green souju bottle recycled with distilled water) and you get a choice of three sauces to add to your dish if you want to improve the taste to your liking.
I can give this restaurant hearty recommendation. The name isn’t catchy, the place looks like a cheap hole in the wall, but the food is good, the service is great and the price is right. I could see myself dropping by here after every workout.
I am interested to try the “less healthy” options like that “Doc Sisig” in the picture. I’m simply curious to see if they somehow manage to make one of the unhealthiest dishes in Filipino Cuisine somehow health-friendly. I’m also excited to try the “Porkqua Curry” and the different Ramens they have (not that there’s much). This restaurant will be seeing more of me in the future.
This branch of Recovery Food is found in Molito, Alabang, across Gold’s Gym and a bit down the street. Since it’s Molito, you can’t miss it.