COMFORT ZONE DEFENSE
Guilty pleasure is the name of Miguel and Maria’s game
All around the metro, restaurants specializing in comfort food are slowly gaining momentum and starting to become a thing, but most of them still hide under a façade—some sort of painstakingly-crafted identity, if you will. You will know, somehow, that they’re comfort food, but it’ll be dressed up nice.
Miguel and Maria, nestled in a cozy little bungalow on Marikina’s Lilac Street, makes none of these pretenses. They explicitly advertise themselves as a restaurant that wants to bring you comfort food, straight from your mom’s kitchen. There are no fancy trappings; the restaurant is a house that’s largely unchanged. The walls are intentionally adorned with posters that make the insides look like a guy’s bedroom or living room.
The restaurant is co-owned by me and my wife,” says Miguel Gloria, obviously the Miguel in the restaurant’s name. He and his wife Maria were corporate bankers before they decided to switch lanes. She’s passionate about cooking. She just suggested that we come up with a restaurant.”
The food, then, is no-frills, standard American and European homecooking. Miguel and Maria’s star players, the grilled baby back ribs and mac n’ cheese, appeal to a wide range of customers. After all, who doesn’t like baby back ribs and mac ‘n’ cheese? The beauty is that all the dishes are cooked just the way you’d like them, just the way you’d imagine them when you think about going to a place like this.
The servings are all huge; they’re theoretically just for one, but are easily for sharing. Gloria justifies it as food you don’t want just a little of, especially if you’re coming home” and unwinding from a stressful day. Just to have that kick,” he says. Ayaw mong mabitin eh.” It’s the comfort food formula. It’s safe, but it works, and works well.
In a scene that’s seeing more and more establishments styling themselves as comfort food places, what does Miguel and Maria do to stand out? When you eat [here], you feel like you’re eating something prepared from your house, from someone you actually know, from something you’re familiar with,” assures Gloria. That’s not a bad idea at all to come home to.
Then newlyweds Miguel and Maria Gloria put up the restaurant, treating it as a house they’ve always wanted to own.