I first came across Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie through a Booky article. The main focus of that article was actually this German dessert you hit with a mallet to break open, and needless to say I was very curious about it.
I’m not particularly knowledgeable about German desserts and I can say for certain I’ve never seen anything like it before. So when the opportunity to eat there presented itself, I was pretty excited about getting to try something new at a place that was relatively new to the Tomas Morato food scene.
Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie stands at the corner of Tomas Morato and is located along a small street at Scout De Guia. Parking is at the roadside, and there isn’t much space. However the restaurant itself is surprisingly more spacious than I expected. It is not big by any means, but it doesn’t feel cramped.
There are a lot interesting things to see immediately upon entering, and you get a good preview of their very yummy-looking dessert collection from the display window. You will feel like buying everything!
On the right side of the display you will see some information about the highlight dessert here: the German schneeballen. (We’ll talk about that more in a bit.)
The motif makes the second floor look quite dark since it is mostly in dark hues, with black and white tiles on the walls that bear a VA logo.
VA stands for the initials of the owners of this restaurant– husband and wife Valerie and Anthony. If you notice, that’s also the two starting letters of the name of the restaurant, Vanderlust. It’s obvious that they based it off the word “wanderlust”, since this restaurant’s concept was after all taken from the couple’s travels to Europe.
Their menu is actually quite interesting, and you can expect a mix of dishes inspired from different parts of Europe. But since we were a group of 10, we decided to avail Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie’s value “Christmas Feast” for Php 6,628.
It would allow us to sample a good number of different dishes plus desserts, and at that price it’s quite a good deal for 10 people, I think. But as always, I’m saving my verdict for after the meal.
Jamon Serrano Croquettes (16 pieces, originally Php 218 for 8 pieces)
Deep-fried croquettes filled with creamy bechamel and topped with Spanish Jamon Serrano. Served with lemon garlic aioli.
Nice bite-sized finger food to start the meal with. The interior really is as creamy as promised, and I appreciate the jamon serrano on top. It’s hard not to like croquettes when they’re nicely done like this: fried to a crunch with a contrasting soft filling, and not at all soggy.
Cacio E Pepe Classic (2 servings, originally Php 188 per order)
A classic Italian pasta dish cooked in olive oil, then flavoured with cheese and pepper. This is as simple as pasta goes, but it was nicely executed. The noodles were al dente, the seasoning was just right, but this particular type of pasta isn’t that memorable to me. It’s just personal preference, but I tend to enjoy red sauce pastas more.
Espaguetis de Chorizo (2 servings, originally Php 228 per order)
Pasta with a sauce made of simmered tomatoes and smokey paprika, topped with bits of Spanish sausage. Well, I definitely enjoyed this more, and I liked that hit of smokiness to the pasta. I do wish it had a thicker and chunkier tomato sauce than this.
Catalan Baked Fish (2 servings, originally Php 358 per order) 🌟
My favourite dish in the meal set is this herb-crusted baked white fish, served with a side of sautéed potatoes, asparagus, and roasted tomatoes. You eat that creamy soft fish with some lemon garlic aioli, but even without it the herby crust gives it a boost of flavour. The side of roasted veggies went perfectly with the fish. If you gave me this dish to eat I’d polish it off entirely without a second thought, down to the last olive!
Schweinekotelett with Mustard Cream Sauce (2 servings, originally Php 428 per order) 🌟
A 300-gram portion of pork chop cooked in the German way. Flavoured with creamy mustard sauce, the pork chop is also served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Bits of crackling pork skin make this dish Schweinshaxe inspired because they like to cook their pork knuckles that way.
First of all, that pork chop was excellently cooked– juicy, tender, flavourful. I reckon any meat-lover would dive into this dish. Eat it together with the mashed potatoes and the pickled veggies of course, for maximum enjoyment. I’m not really fond of fried pork skin though so I’m just commenting on the pork chop itself.
Italian Cannolis (10 pieces, originally 125 for a Trio of any flavour)
Vanderlust Bistro offers a very good variety of cannoli flavours. There were 7 or 8 flavours by my count, like purple yam, earl gray, pistachio, and the more classic chocolate chip. Cannolis are basically thin cookies filled with a thick cream, and since they tend to be on the sweet side, this was just the right size to serve them. I had bigger ones in New York before and they were a bit too much.
My favourite was actually the white chocolate lemon, because it had a pleasant lemon tang amongst the sweet white chocolate filling. YUM. And that’s a huge complement because I never enjoy white chocolate haha!
With the set, you are entitled to 2 bottles of wine or 10 glasses of Iced Tea (or a combination of 1 bottle wine and 5 glasses iced tea). For the wine, we picked the Spanish red wine Vina Lanzar (originally Php 600 per bottle).
This wine isn’t the classy expensive type, but I must say it was a nice sweet accompaniment to our meal. I enjoyed the fruity taste of it.
Unfortunately, the schneeballen is not included in the set, but since we came here to try it out we decided to purchase it separately. On the menu they divide the flavours into two price points, the Original line is Php 120 while the Chocolate line is Php 145. The schneeballe is basically a shortcrust pastry shaped into a round that resembles a snowball. At Vanderlust, their schneeballen is covered in chocolate and filled with cream. That’s kind of like eating a filled cookie, but in a different shape!
Strawberries & Cream Schneeballe (Php 120)
Honestly speaking, I was pretty disappointed by this one. I was expecting more of a strawberry taste but there wasn’t much. I was also expecting more cream inside, and again there wasn’t much. Considering I’m not a huge white chocolate fan, I didn’t really care for this particular flavour of the schneeballe.
Hazelnut Crunch Schneeballe (Php 145) 🌟
This flavour was tons better than the strawberry one. Yes, the fact that it’s not white chocolate plays a factor, but when we broke it open, it had more cream inside. Without the cream it’s just a plain shortcrust pastry covered in chocolate, so adding a filling really takes this up a notch. Oh, and the whole hammering the dessert thing was kind of fun, in a stress-relieving way!
You start by putting the schneeballe in the provided paper bag. Once it’s sealed, you basically go to town with the mallet. It’s up to you entirely how big or small you want to break your schneeballe into.
Once you’re done, you’ll end up with these little cookie rocks with some cream on them. These remind me a little bit of crushed Ferrero Rocher, except these have more bite to them since they’re shortcrust and not wafers.
Churros from left to right: Valencia, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Triple Choco, Maple Bacon, Red Velvet, and Parmesan Ham. 🌟
Because I couldn’t resist myself faced with the sight of all those churros, I bought some to take home. A box of 6 costs Php 350 and you can pick assorted flavours. They divide their churros into three lines, namely Tradicional (Php 98-225), Prima (Php 55), and Signatura (Php 75), but if you buy a box set you can pick across lines.
I really love the unique churro flavours offered by Vanderlust. If I didn’t decide to go with the box set I’d have the hardest time picking just one. There’s too much I want to try! I picked every flavour available except for the dulce de leche, and I found something to enjoy in each.
The churros are fried to a crunch but don’t get overly hard in their refrigerated state. They are also evenly coated with their flavourings, which I appreciate. I’m still partial to classic chocolate dipped churros, but my favourites here were the Valencia (lovely orange-chocolate combo) and Maple Bacon (less of the bacon but the maple flavour was very pleasant). And for the sake of nostalgia, you can’t go wrong with Red Velvet and Chocolate.
This restaurant is very interesting. Truth be told, it impressed me more than I was expecting. I didn’t find anything extraordinary with the pastas we had from this set, but I really enjoyed the German pork chops and the Catalan fish. I thought they were executed really well. You can see the quality and the effort put into each dish and dessert though, and that’s really important.
I can imagine hanging out here with friends, ordering coffee and churros and chatting the afternoon away. I’d really love to do that one of these days.
Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5
VANDERLUST BISTRO + PATISSERIE
Full disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way and opinions are 100% mine alone.