June 12, 2017

Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie Tomas Morato

When travelling, I am more excited about trying the local food of a particular area. Most often than not I also buy delicacies to bring home with me and give to family and friends. Just like when my friends and I went to HK last year, I already researched where to eat and made sure to eat HK street food as much as we could. I believe that a cuisine of a place tells a lot about it and is what separates it from other places.

If you would take time to get to know the history of a lot of restaurants that serves international cuisines in Manila, they are usually inspired by the travels of its owners or from where their roots came from. This is exactly the story behind Vanderlust Patisserie and Bistro but this young player did not concentrate to only one country or region, but a continent: Europe.

The restaurant was conceptualized after Mark Anthony and Valerie Tan’s honeymoon around Europe. They decided to bring home with them their favorite European eats that they know would greatly appeal to the Filipino palate. Vanderlust stemmed from the word Wanderlust which means a very strong or irresistible impulse to travel or a strong longing for or impulse toward wandering. . But if you’ll take time to check out their logo, you will notice that the first letter is an overlapping V and A which are the first letters of the couple’s name. Also Vanderlust is how the Germans would pronounce wanderlust (yeah just like Volkswagen being uttered as Folks-Vah-gen, I think... I don’t know... but you get the point right?) 

The store is reminiscent of Europe’s side street cafes, small but well-maximized spaces with artsy touches here and there. I specifically love the mural at the entrance which defines what a wanderlust is and tells you in huge and bold letters to “Follow your gut”. The second floor’s wall is lined with white tiles bearing Vanderlust’s logo. One of the foodies I was with that day commented that it kinda reminded him of the walls of some of the subways around Europe. 

Here are the European dishes that we got to try:

Arancini Al Margherita - (Italy) Risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella cheese, topped with pesto and Parmesan cheese and served on a bed of margherita sauce. I think anything stuffed with cheese will and always be my favorite. The sourness of the margherita sauce balanced the saltiness of the cheese. And the basil flavor gives this dish some earthy flavor. 

Espaguetis de Chorizo - hearty pasta with simmered tomatoes and Spanish sausage with a kick from smokey paprika served with a side of baguette. I am not a fan of chorizo since it is quite sweet. Yet the pasta was firm and tomato sauce was packed full of flavor. 

Cacio E Pepe Mushroom Truffle - an Italian pasta dish which means cheese and pepper, served with a side of baguette. Vanderlust offers 4 types of Cacio E Pepe: Classic, Basil Chicken, mushroom Truffle and Prawns and Lemon. My favorite among the pasta dishes that we tried and the truffle flavor was very on point. The truffle taste was very distinct, which I love! Moreover, I always liked dishes with cream and hints of pepper, one of the very good combination. Simple yet earthy and tasty pasta dish. This is definitely a must try. 

Catalan Baked Fish with Potatoes and Asparagus - Spanish-inspired baked white fish with herb crust served with olives, sautéed potatoes, asparagus and tomatoes. The fish was fresh and the coating was crispy. A healthy dish if I can say so myself. I love the olives that came with it too.

Schweinekotelett with Mustard Cream Sauce - known as German porkchop, approximately 300g of pork chop with creamy mustard sauce with German fermented cabbage and mashed potato; pork skin cooked to crackling perfection from the Schweinshaxe inspiration. This was very good, the meat was delicate, really juicy and not though, the skin was cooked to crispy perfection. The sauerkraut was a good addition to really achieve that authentic German flavor. And I have to do a special mention of the mash potato, this was just a side dish but should be commended. It had a good texture, thick, creamy and buttery.

Bocadillo de Calamares - this is a sandwich of fried calamares, caramelized onions and zesty aioli in toasted baguette. This is usually seen at plazas in Spain, so this is unique in the area. The calamari was tender and fresh; not greasy too. Personally, I like more aioli on it, it was a great dressing for the squid. This was an interesting sandwich.

Mon Cheri Poulet - new item on Vanderlust's menu and means "my darling chicken”. This dish contains roasted chicken, a crispy bacon strip, omelet and cherry tomatoes.  The chicken is great, perfectly-roasted and juicy with a sweet sauce. And you really can’t go wrong with bacon and cherry tomatoes. Every component was a treat; they all came together and I dig it!  

Spanish Churros Tradicional - plain churros with cinnamon sugar syrup and the dark chocolate syrup. I love the plain churros, it was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, which I think how authentic churros should be. Both dips were good but I like my churros always with chocolate, they’re the best combination for me. 

Spanish Churros Prima - these are the flavored and luxurious version of Vanderlust’s churros. We got to try the following flavors: Parmesano and Jamon (parmesan and ham); Maplecino (maple and bacon); Jaleahuete (PB and J); Choco Loco; La Valenciana; Red Velvet I love that the flavors were unique and innovative. My favorites were the Red Velvet and the Jaleahuete (PB and J).

Cannoli - cannoli are deep fried pastry dough with ricotta cheese filling. I like cannoli a lot but this is the first time I’ve tried them flavored liked this and I was excited for them. We got to try the Purple Yam, White Chocolate Lemon, Blueberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Chip, Earl Grey, Chocolate Pistachio and Sesame. I like that the ricotta cheese flavor was not lost even if the cannoli were in different variants. They were so cute and I didn't want to ruin them! But you know, they have to go, and in my tummy off they went.  My favorite are the purple yam, blueberry cheesecake and chocolate chip.

Schneeballen - the Schneeball, also known as snowball in English, is a 300 year old pastry made from shortcrust pastry. popular in the area of Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany). Its name is derived from its round, ball like shape of about 8-10 centimeters in diameter. Traditionally, this German pastry is decorated with confectioner's sugar. This was the dessert I was most excited about because I’ve read about them and got super curious. The pastry is hard, just like hard biscuits, so you have to put in a paper bag and hammer it before you can enjoy it. After hammering that’s the time you pick pieces and enjoy them. It was fun breaking and eating them. My favorite flavor would definitely be the Strawberries and Cream and Hazelnut Crunch. 

I loved and super enjoyed that I got to try a lot of new dishes that day and they somehow gave me an idea of the taste of Europe. Now I know what to expect to when I go travelling around there someday soon. (p.s. it has been in my bucket list since time immemorial). So if you also want to get a taste of what European cuisine is like, no need to book a plane for now, just head on over to Vanderlust.

100 Scout De Guia, cor. Tomas Morato Ave.,
Sacred Heart, Quezon City
Contact Nos: 029540401 / 022469069 ext:152 
Email: ph.vanderlust@gmail.com
Facebook: facebook.com/vanderlustph
Instagram: instagram.com/vanderlustph

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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