If you had asked me what I wanted for my 35th birthday, I would have told you this: travel and cake. Cake was a lot more attainable, but travel? I just didn’t have money to burn for a holiday at the moment so I had to scrap that idea.
But just because I couldn’t travel doesn’t mean that I can’t go on a trip, right? A FOOD trip, that is! Or better yet, a European food trip!
I celebrated my birthday with my girl friends at Vanderlust Bistro, a travel-themed restaurant inspired by the owners’ European honeymoon. The original branch is in Tomas Morato in Quezon City but we opted to go to the Podium branch as it was closer to us.
It was everyone’s (my friends’ and mine) first time so we didn’t know what to expect. When we arrived at the place, we all agreed that it was very classy but also warm. The gold and black interiors definitely gave it a sophisticated feel.
And of course, since this is a travel-inspired restaurant, you’re sure to find a lot of travel touches all around, from the travel quote that greets customers upon entrance to the map of Europe on the wall.
Because we would be dining with two babies (Andi and Luis, my friend Alessa’s toddler), one of our main considerations in finding a restaurant was: “it has to be baby-friendly.” Vanderlust is a restaurant that will surely be enjoyed not only by adults, but also by kids.
- They provided sturdy high chairs for our little ones
- The ambiance is warm and bright. (Some kids actually hate dim lighting!)
- They have kid-friendly meals. Both Luis and Andi really enjoyed the Jamon Serrano Croquettes (Deep-fried bechamel croquettes with lemon garlic aioli and topped with Spanish Jamon Serrano) and the Arancini Al Margherita (Italian Risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella, toped with pesto and parmesan cheese and served on a bed of margherita sauce). I wasn’t able to take a photo of these though!
Tip: If you have a kid in tow and you have a lot of stuff like strollers and diaper bags, sit in the corner where the map is. There’s a space there where you can put all of your things without them getting in the way.
Vanderlust Bistro has a large menu and there is something there for every food lover, whether you’re into salads, meats, pastas, and tapas. Everything we had was delicious, and that’s good enough reason for me to always want to come back — birthday or no birthday!
Greek Salad (PHP 398) – Lollo Bionda, Lollo Rosso, Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Cucumber, Pickled Onion, Walnut, Feta Cheese, Lemon Herbed Vinaigrette
This is the salad for hungry people! It’s got everything on it and the serving is really big so you won’t feel so deprived.
Cacio E Pepe Mushroom Truffle (PHP 425) – A classic Italian pasta dish, which means Cheese and Pepper.
Before they even served this to us, the pasta’s amazing truffle smell was already wafting through the entire restaurant! It tastes just as good as it smells! It’s a very simple dish with not much going on in there but it’s really creamy, and definitely memorable and highly addictive. Even Andi loved it! I wish it was a little bigger though.
Espaguetis con Chorizo (PHP 298) – Hearty pasta with simmered tomatoes and Spanish sausage with a kick from smoky paprika
Schweinekotelett with Mustard Cream Sauce (PHP 498) – Pork chop with creamy mustard sauce, German fermented cabbage, and mashed potato. Pork skin cooked to crackling perfection from that Schweinshaxe inspiration.
Formango and Pick Me Up (PHP 218)
German Schneballen Original (PHP 165) – Hazelnut Kiss, Mocha Tiramisu, and Cookies & Cream
A VANDER-FUL BIRTHDAY!