Steel lockers strategically placed on the walls; elements you’ll find in the periodic table hanging on the ceiling; a library-themed room – these images will transport you to your high school years.
Welcome to Recess.
While scanning the menu, nobody would think that Recess serves different cuisines that would take you from places to places – a trip around the world for your taste buds. The menu is on the pricier side but they have big servings which is good for sharing.
Panizzas is what Chef Chris is famous for and he made sure to make a batch that is suitable for the Filipino palate. If you don’t know yet, Panizza is a kind of pizza but instead of it being round, it’s rectangular and you have to roll it with alfala and arugula before devouring.
Here's the proper way to roll a panizza:
Recess has recently launched a new set of The Originals. The new set is made up of Filipino breakfast favorites with clever names to match each flavor. TiTo (P790) consists of smoked bangus bits, tomatoes and red egg, fresh red onions. PoTo (P790) captures the Filipino palate as it is sweet because of the fine slices of pork tocino, red onions and salted egg. BeTa (P790) is beef tapa with onions and pickled sayote atchara. CoBe (P790) on the other hand came out soggy because of the sauteed corned beef, egg, caramelized onions, potatoes with fresh marjoram.
For appetizers, we had the Recess Sausage Rolls (P450) which is made with their home-made sausage, baked golden in mustard brushed puff pastry served with catsup and horseraddish dip. They also surprised us with a plate of adorable Recess Risotto Orbs (P320) which are crispy fried Italian rice balls with two cheese, chorizo and herbs served with a light and tangy pomodoro sauce.
Recess Sausage Rolls
Recess Risotto Orbs
While waiting for the appetizers, you might want to try the Recess Salad (P390) which is a mix of greens, assorted grapes, apple slices, orange segments, cherry tomato and cucumber tossed with light grape seed oil dressing and topped with balsamic caramelized almonds.
Moving on to meatier territory, the Recess Double Trouble (P490) is one beef and one sausage patty topped with cheddar cheese, grilled tomato, and onion, lettuce, served with golden fries. Their well-seasoned sausage patty (which they make in-house) was a hit in our table. Who in their right mind would turn down an Angus beef right?
Recess Double Burger
All the pasta dishes are cooked al dente to perfection but the creamy Penne D.M.S. (P540) tops the list. It has a perfect combination of fried artichoke hearts and chicken fillet slices tossed in parmesan cream sauce with fresh herbs.
The Spaghetti Fra Diavolo 50:50 (P490) is called 50:50 for a reason as it is comprised of Recess' very own meatballs that are 50% beef, 50% bacon. Aromatic spiced tomato sauce with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese make the dish 100% delicious.
Spaghetti Fra Diavolo 50:50
Spaghetti Verena (P520): salmon fillet dices sautéed with anchovies in virgin olive oil, enticed with garlic, broccoli flowers, asparagus and fresh mushrooms.
A vegetarian? No problem! Recess has a few dishes on their menu just for you. Their Ratatouille is the classic southern French vegetable ragout with aubergine, zucchini, assorted peppers, tomato, onion, garlic and fresh herbs and is served with crusty garlic bread. Another one for the veggie lovers is the Fried Tofu with Roasted Eggplant, Tomato and Red Onions Chutney served on brown rice pilaf with raisins, pine nuts and fresh coriander.? The brown rice pilaf with raisins is a must-try!
Chef Chris also has specialties for the pescetarians or for people who prefers fish over meat any day. A golden fried boneless fish coated with their special spice mix, flour and corn meal topped with rich shrimp gravy served on butter rice and collard greens comprise Creole Style Catfish (P690). For those who like it hot, the Tuna Steak with Chimichuri Sauce (P740) is perfect with the right amount of spice it needs as it is a Mexican style tomato pilaf and stew of roasted pepper, onions and tomatoes.
Creole Style Catfish
Tuna Steak with Chimichuri Sauce
And then, chicken! Firstly, what could be any better than a tender chicken wrapped in glorious bacon? Recess Favorite Chicken Fillet Wrapped in Bacon (P690) is a pair of tender chicken breasts presented over penne pasta with walnut parmesan cream sauce and garlic glazed Italian broccoli.
Recess Favorite Chicken Fillet Wrapped in Bacon
The Chef Chris Special Chicken Curry which reminds the chef of his younger years, is his favorite dish in the menu. It is chicken fillet in coconut and tamarind gravy with spices, tomatoes and coriander served over freshly steamed basmati rice and accompanied by Indian flat bread.
Chef Chris Special Chicken Curry
Need to stock up on protein? Recess has got you covered. Their Grilled Pork Bratwurst with Spicy Mustard (P590) is presented on slow braised apple sauerkraut and boiled parsley potatoes. The classic Lengua Estufado (P650) is comprised of tender imported ox-tongue slices in gravy with tomato, mushrooms and green olives, served over butter whipped potatoes. Another one is a Filipino-Spanish dish, the Special Callos Casserole (P510), a classic stew of imported ox tripe with tomatoes, olives, chorizo, red peppers and green pease, served with golden roasted potatoes.
Special Callos Casserole
Lastly, the Carolina Style Barbecued Mustard Lamb (P990) deserves a blue ribbon for instantly winning our hearts! It is an amazingly tender slow-roasted lamb ribs served with homemade coleslaw, golden fries and baked beans.
Carolina Style Barbecued Mustard Lamb
A total of 21 dishes were served that resulted to an almost food coma. After that sumptuous meal, Chef Chris presented us his wife's specialties. Who could turn down a sweet offer? The Pavlova is not overwhelming at all; the sliced almonds created texture and the fruits complemented the meringue well. Whenever I see chocolate cake, I remember the movie Matilda; their Decadent Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce is an excellent end to a full course meal – it's moist (just how a chocolate cake should be) and the sweetness level is just right. The Lemon Cheesecake on the other hand has this subtle lemon hint to it, no umay factor at all, the smooth texture of the cheesecake, the candied lemons and the crisp crust harmonize well.
Decadent Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce
Our tummies were filled with 24 different kinds of mouthwatering food (not complaining though!) in just one sitting. Chef Chris proved that a restaurant does not need only one type of cuisine for it to work. Just like in any cafeteria, you can eat anything depending on your mood and that's how this restaurant is. Because with Chef Chris, it's always recess time.
Recess by Chef Chris Locker is located at 50 Jupiter St. Bel-Air Vilage, Makati. Open weekdays 11am to 10pm and weekends 11am to 11pm. Call 899-1818 and 09177264992. Group reservations accepted. Like them on Facebook at https://facebook.com/RecessbyChefChris.