In 2012, Recovery Food first opened its doors in BGC, humbly serving what are now iconic rice bowls that cured late night hunger.
This year, the 24/7 comfort food restaurant is celebrating their fifth year of operations — that's five years of RF curing hangovers, hunger, and heartbreaks through their bowls of simply delicious meals that could fill one up even when you only have P200 in your wallet.
You think you know your favorite late-night haunt by heart? Maybe not, as Oye and Malou Fores, the couple behind Recovery Food, share some interesting facts behind RF that you probably didn't know about!
1. Happy Beef is inspired by the couple's favorite late night pares served at a 24-hour joint in Magallanes, now long gone.
"One of the interesting stories about Recovery Food is the basis of the concept," Oye Fores shares. "Really, it came from a food concept of maybe 30 years ago. It was a food kiosk out in Magallanes, when Malou and I were still in high school and college. When we were going out, on our way home there was this 24 hour stall called Happy Eater." Back in the day Happy Eater was one of the very few 24-hour food spots in the area, and Oye shares that the store sold a beef brisket dish ("with spring onions and garlic," Malou adds). Today it is lovingly called pares, and it was something that the couple would eat on their way home to work on a hangover.
"When we wanted to open a new concept, we thought about that place, and our most popular dish which is the Happy Beef actually comes from that," says Oye. "And I swear, it tastes exactly like that! And that's how Recovery Food started."
2. Recovery Food's nickname is 'RF,' also stands for the initials of the owners' son (Raul Fores), who is now all grown up and runs his own restaurant, Made Nice.
"Raul, our son, if you notice the initials–RF for Recovery Food–he named it Recovery Food," shares Malou. "That's also his initials. Besides the Happy Beef, my son and I were toying with the idea–what if we open something that's more casual, since we already had Mamou? Oye already had the 24 hours concept in mind, and my son and I were thinking, it would be nice sana if we had all these nice dishes in a bowl. Now he opened his own restaurant together with some friends in Legaspi village called Made Nice."
3. Since day one, everyone has been obsessed with their two beef dishes: Happy Beef and Tapa de Morning are consistently the top two best-selling items on the menu.
Oye himself actually coined the term 'Tapa de Morning' for their famous tapa bowl over a few (or many) drinks. "If you notice the dishes that are out here, they are very hearty, mostly full-bodied, in other words, 'crazy' food," he says. When they created the concept, that's what the couple really had in mind–a place where you can go to recovery, or to start your recovery after a long night. He also adds that with RF, there's no particular cuisine, and that anything goes. They have bowls that remind you of your favorite Pinoy breakfast at home, noodles that pay homage to mami and ramen. "We'd like to think that with us, there's no deal breaker. Like when you go here, the way we constructed the menu, there is something for everyone, and we want to keep everybody interested."
Who is Sandro in ChampoSandro? ChampoSandro, like many of the other dishes in Recovery Food, is named after relatives of the owners or people who have been instrumental in the creation of the dish. In this case, ChampoSandro is named after the grandson of one of the owners. Hope this clears things, guys!
4. The names of their dishes are deliberately punny and playful, and most are named after special people in their life.
The couple wanted the dishes to have some sort of comedic relief to it, and so they try to create puns with everything. "The Porqua for example, it's named after one of our partners. His last name is Qua," Oye says. "If you really look at it, it's people that are part of our restaurant or our life. The adobo (Amadobo) is named after my nephew, the champorado (ChampoSandro) is named after another nephew. It's just a playful thing."
5. In love with their SST rice bowl? Here's a tip from Malou Fores: you can actually buy the tuyo they use in that dish.
If you are a regular at RF and have occasionally bumped into its owners during your visits, you'll know that Malou Fores is behind those mouthwatering steaks and delicious truffle pasta in Mamou and Mamou Too. She also co-owns The Blue Kitchen — and reveals that in the store, they actually carry the tuyo many customers love in Recovery Food! So just in case your craving for a bowl of warm Sweet Spicy Tuyo served with rice and egg is beyond recovery, try looking for the bottled tuyo at The Blue Kitchen and tuck it in your cupboard in times of need.
There are still many things to discover in this five year old restaurant, and Malou Fores keeps on refreshing their menu to make loyal patrons keep coming back for their old favorites and new flavors. "It's still my goal to make another tapa dish that's not too sweet," Malou shares, "I'm still trying to figure out how."
While we wait for that tapa dish and more new dishes (plus a new branch opening!) from Recovery Food, here's one that will interest foodies that want to put more vegetables into their diet: you now have veggie rice, aside from the white, brown, and talangka rice choices!
Recovery Food is available 24/7 at their branches located in Crossroads BGC, Stopover BGC, Molito Alabang, UP Town Center QC, and Mall of Asia. They are opening soon in Greenhills, San Juan! Visit www.recoveryfood.ph, and follow them on Facebook (/recoveryfood) and Instagram (@recoveryfood).