Chef Chris Locher of My Kitchen in Paco, Manila has not only overcome his recent health issue, he’s opened an excellent new restaurant on Jupiter in Makati. Last week Stella organized a dinner for six hard-boiled media practitioners who know that when Stella says, “You have to try this restaurant,” the only acceptable response is, “Sure!” It’s like the part in the first Terminator where the T-800 has laid waste to a club and Kyle Reese tells Sarah Connor, “Come with me if you want to live.” You just go.
The restaurant is called Recess, and Chef Chris describes its menu as “eclectic comfort food”. To us, all food is comfort food, not eating food being a prime source of discomfort.
Chef Chris is probably best known for his invention of the thin pizza that you eat in strips with alfalfa sprouts and arugula rolled up in them—a genius way of making people like us eat our vegetables. He can’t use the name of his creation because it belongs to the restaurant he used to work with. At Recess, this dish is called The Original. This being the Philippines, we prefer D’Original.
The Original comes in a dozen varieties, all named after elements you can see on the ceiling designed as a stylized periodic table. We tried three of the all-day breakfast specials: the CoBe—sauteed corned beef, egg, caramelized onions and potatoes with fresh marjoram; the PoTo—finely-sliced pork tocino, red onions and salted egg; and our favorite, the TiTo—tinapang bangus bits, tomatoes, itlog na pula and fresh red onions.
We were only going to pretend to eat our greens, but it had been a sweltering day and the Recess Salad of mixed greens, grapes, apples, oranges, cherry tomatoes in a grapeseed oil dressing with caramelized almonds was so refreshing.
In fact we even tried another salad: the J50 with romaine hearts in gorgonzola, pears, a 7-minute boiled egg, and bacon. Bacon makes everything better. To think that as we trudged towards Recess on that hot night, we were telling ourselves that it was too hot to eat. We were wrong hahahaha.
At this point we could’ve ended the meal and gone home happy, but there was more. Risotto orbs—crispy fried risotto balls with two cheeses, chorizo and herbs.
A juicy tuna steak with chimichuri sauce.
The very tender Carolina-style barbecued mustard lamb ribs. Good thing there were six of us sharing the dishes, or we might’ve eaten ourselves into a food coma. The portions are good for sharing, and by “sharing” we mean “can feed two people who are not on a diet or some other deprivation plan.”
If we’d been responsible adults, we probably would’ve declined dessert. Luckily, we are not. There was lemon cheesecake,
a decadent chocolate cake that went beyond decadent,
and a light, delectable Pavlova. Next to it you see our glass—we finished most of a bottle of Chardonnay and were useless for the rest of the evening. Useless, but happy.
A meal for two consisting of one mini-size The Original, one salad, one lamb ribs and one dessert comes to about Php550 per person. With a glass of wine, add Php200. For the whole shebang described above, probably Php1,500+ per person.
Recess by Chef Chris is at 50 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati, between Paseo de Roxas and Makati Avenue. Visit their Facebook page. For reservations, call (02) 899 1818.