European lunch at Vanderlust Bistro, Tomas Morato

Europe’s rich and diverse culture is made manifest in its cuisines. While I wouldn’t mind traveling across The Continent to sample its gustatory pleasures, the expedition would surely be costly. Luckily, with Vanderlust Bistro, I can get a taste of the cuisines of various European countries all in one place.

And that is exactly what I did for lunch together with my officemates one fine day. Armed with our Zomato Gold memberships, we set about discovering what Vanderlust Bistro has to offer.

The place is cozy with limited seating at the ground floor but more tables available upstairs. The interiors are sparsely decorated, other than the wallpaper with miniature Eiffel Towers, approximating the simplicity of European bistros.

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Its food offerings are focused on German, Italian and Spanish cuisines, giving us varied flavors to explore and satisfy our cravings. These include:

Fish and Wedges (Php238). Beer-battered fish and potato wedges served with aoili.

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Catalan Baked Fish with Potatoes and Asparagus (Php458). Baked white fish with herb crust served with olives, sauteed potatoes, asparagus and roasted tomatoes.

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Mon Cheri Poulet (Php458). Honey and red wine-glazed chicken thigh placed on top of a spinach omelette and a strip of smoked bacon.

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Cacio E Pepe Mushroom Truffle (Php398). A classic Italian pasta dish of cheese and pepper with mushroom and truffle sauce.

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Espaguetis con Chorizo (Php278). Pasta noodles tossed in a sauce made from simmered tomatoes and Spanish sausages with a bit of paprika.

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Tuscan Chicken Spinach Pasta (Php348). Herbed chicken tops a pasta dish with sauce made from spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Gianduiotto (Php195). A chocolate dessert originating from Piedmont, northern Italy, which got its name from gianduja, a chocolate spread containing hazelnut paste.

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

Spanish Churros (Php98). Six pieces of freshly fried churros which we requested to be served with a chocolate dip (Php50).

Vanderlust, Tomas Morato

I used to find European restaurants intimidating; I thought that menu items would be staggeringly expensive. At Vanderlust Bistro, however, European food is packaged more affordably and made more accessible to the Filipino diner.

This Vanderlust Bistro branch is located at 100 Scout De Guia corner Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City, open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 11am to 11pm, Fridays from 11am to 2am, and Saturdays from 11am to 1am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 9540401.

Another branch is located at Fifth Floor, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

Vanderlust Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Since Vanderlust Bistro is a Zomato Gold partner establishment, our group got some of our food orders for free!

Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 (Buy 1 Get 1) deals on food or 2+2 (Buy 2 Get 2) deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here. Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

You can also book your table at Vanderlust Bistro using Eatigo to get up to 50% off your food bill. Sign up using my referral link to get additional perks.

Good food and good vibes at Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen, Ayala Vertis North

For an oft-stressed-out office worker, lunchtime is a sacred hour: an opportunity to leave one’s desk and devote time to good food and good vibes. What will make it even more enjoyable? The company of good friends!

That’s what happened last Tuesday when, together with a group of officemates, I traipsed off to Ayala Vertis North to treat ourselves to yummy Italian food at Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen.

The resto got its start from a real kitchen in a family home in BF Homes Las Pinas. The couple Richard and Malou Tremblay decided to open their doors to guests in 2010. Though remaining family-run, the venture has since grown into Mama Lou’s Group which is comprised of two Italian concept restaurants: Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen and Nonna’s Pasta & Pizzeria. Both eateries continue the tradition of providing guests the feeling of comfort and happiness of coming home to good food.

This Mama Lou’s branch is occupies a sprawling space with seating good for small and large groups. Our group opted to sit outside as we found the air-conditioning inside to be a bit too cold (Side note: I just know I will miss the cold weather of late January when the summer months come in).

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

While waiting for our food, we were given bread that we dipped in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

For starters, we have Mozzarella Sticks (Php225), fat pieces of cheese breaded and fried to a crisp golden brown on the outside and a yummy gooey cheesy inside, well complemented by a side of rich tomatoey pomodoro sauce.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

An Oriental Salad (Php325) gave us a taste of freshness with crisp greens topped with slivers of ripe mango, apple slices, crabstick meat and drizzled with Mama Lou’s special sesame dressing.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

A new dish, Lucio’s Truffle Pasta (Php350) was a decadently creamy delight with a rich hint of truffle oil while Spaghetti Seafood Olio (Php350) and Vongole Olio (Php295) gave us a healthy taste of the sea.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

A 14-inch combination of Frutti di Mare and Pizza Margherita (Php550) served with arugula and alfalfa made our meal even more filling.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Malls Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

The Pan Fried Beef Scaloppine (Php395) was late in reaching our table so we weren’t able to enjoy the dish as much as we would have liked.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

That said, it was a great lunch experience with friends, one I wouldn’t mind repeating.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Plus, since three of us unlocked our Zomato Gold privilege at this resto, we got three of these dishes for free!

Want to score a similar discount? Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 deals on food or 2+2 deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here. Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

This Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen branch is located at Level 1, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City, open Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 9pm and Fridays to Sundays from 10am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 4269196.

Other branches are located at:

  • Second Floor, Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (open daily from 11am to 11pm; Tel No.: +63 2 8006315)
  • Block 1, Lot 36 Tropical Avenue corner Tropical Palace, BF International, Las Pinas City (open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight; Tel No.: +63 2 5191977 or +63 917 5156262)
  • Second Floor, Ayala Malls the 30th, Meralco Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City (open daily from 11am to 9pm; Tel No.: 63 2 7208519)
  • Upper Ground Floor, Ayala Malls Feliz, Dela Paz, Pasig City (open Sundays to Thursdays from 10am to 9pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 10am to 10pm; +63 2 7442425)
  • Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City (open Mondays to Thursdays from 11am to 9pm and Fridays to Sundays from 10am to 10pm; Tel No.: +63 2 9585563)

Mama Lou's Italian Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other restaurants offering Italian food:

Hidden gem of Italian Cuisine: Cucina di Francesco, Libis

When you think about food places in the Libis area, chances are this Italian restaurant hidden away from the busier sections of the metro has escaped your notice.

Cucina di Francesco got its name from the name Francesco Forgione, the name that Saint Pio of Petrelcina, more affectionately known to devotees as Padre Pio, was born with.

Incidentally, the restaurant is located in the same compound as St. Pio Chapel, so I would imagine families fresh from Sunday mass coming in for lunch.

In this instance, however, I took my fam here on the way to our weekend staycation.

From outside, the restaurant presents a comfortable, homey and welcoming facade.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Inside, the place is bright and cheery, with large windows letting in lots of natural light and large hand-painted murals giving the premises an eclectic vibe. There are more seats to dine in on the second floor, while the third floor is mainly used for events.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

I booked our table the night before via Zomato. We were a few minutes late but I called the resto to apprise them of our arrival time so our table was waiting for us when we arrived.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

My daughter #ExhibitA, who’s trying to eat healthy, requested for a salad so we ordered a Ceasar Salad (Php180). The focaccia croutons, fresh microgreens and rough-chopped walnuts delectably add to the taste and texture of this classic dish.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Our little boy #ExhibitB, on the other hand, is a well-known pizza monster. We got him a Tre Formaggi (Php350) whose lethal combination of bleu cheese, emmenthal and mozzarella on top of creamy bechamel got my baby reaching for slice after slice.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Hubby got himself a Pasta Puttanesca (Php195). The sauce made from olives, anchovids and capers in fresh tomato sauce makes this a tasty pasta dish. (Hubby liked it well enough but insists that his mom’s version tastes better.)

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

We split orders of Lasagna al Forno (Php260), a meaty baked lasagna with bechamel cheese sauce (which I found a bit dry) and Italian Beef Stew (Php485), a dish made of beef chunks, Italian sausage and vegetables braised in tomato wine sauce and served with parsley rice.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

All in all, I wouldn’t mind another visit to Cucina di Francisco and checking out more of its Italian viands. The place certainly is charming and even has free WiFi! Plus, the wait staff are also friendly and accommodating.

It’s quite near my home and is easily accessible. Since it is a free-standing resto that shares a sizeable multi-level parking lot with the church, I wouldn’t have to stress myself in looking for a parking space as opposed to the likely scenario if I were to visit a mall-based eatery during mealtimes.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

It also employs persons with disability, such as those in the autism spectrum. This is an advocacy near and dear to my heart, being a parent to a child with special needs myself.

For those who are artistically inclined, Cucina di Francesco also serves as a venue for art and crafts workshops on weekends in partnership with Maartsy such as Plush Keychain Making and Acrylic Flower Jewelry Making in January 26 and Mandala Coffee Painting and Doodle Art with Lettering on January 27. For inquiries, call +63 2 9175861785.

Cucina di Francisco is located at RER Compound (St. Pio Chapel), 188 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City, open daily Tuesdays to Thursdays from 8am to 8pm and Fridays to Sundays from 8am to 9pm. For reservations, call +63 2 5349935 or book your table via Zomato like I did. 🙂

Cucina di Francesco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Here’s some trivia for you: Did you know that puttanesca translates to “in the style of a whore” in Italian? While some food pundits would attribute the name to seedier origins, some food historians date the sauce back to the 1950s when Sandro Penti of Rancio Fellona were requested by hungry late-night patrons to “Facci una puttanata qualisiasi” or “Throw together whatever.” Which was what the good Penti did with what he had at the time: tomatoes, olives and capers. The rest is history. More on that here.

Check out my reviews of other Italian restaurants:

Haven for coffee and comfort food lovers: Little Owl Cafe, New Manila

Hidden away in New Manila is a haven for lovers of coffee and comfort food.

Renovated from one of the previously worn-down houses along Broadway Avenue, Little Owl Cafe is nestled among lush greenery. Started as a coffee shop but now a full service cafe, it serves food that features a fusion of Italian and Asian cuisines that professionals working in the area or families residing nearby can enjoy.

I was recently invited to a Blogger’s Dinner at this restaurant where I was able to sample some of its delectable offerings:

Omelette Chorizo Rice (Php270). Part of the resto’s All-Day Breakfast Menu, it consists of homemade longganisa rice, delicately wrapped in a thin omelette and topped with onion gravy and aioli.

Sisig Tacos (Php210). Three pieces of soft-shell tacos topped with crispy sisig and a savory liver aioli sauce. A great start to the meal!

Glazed Cauliflower (Php210). Cauliflower covered in a sweet and spicy soy glaze then deep-fried to crispiness. A great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!

Truffle Mushroom Pasta (Php350). Al dente noodles tossed in a rich homemade mushroom sauce made with three different kinds of mushrooms – shiitake, enoki and shimeji – topped with fried enoki and drizzled with truffle oil.

Shrimp & Aligue Pasta (Php330). Pasta noodles tossed in a creamy tomato sauce incorporating shrimp aligue and served with plump grilled shrimps.

Beef Tapa & Cheese Sandwich (Php295). A Pinoy take on the Philly Cheesesteak which showcases savory slivers of beef tapa, it is accompanied by a hefty serving of crisp shoestring fries.

Chicken & Waffle (Php270). Chicken thighs covered in batter then fried to a crisp then served with sriracha coleslaw over cheddar waffles.

Lechon Kawali Bibimbap (Php320). The classic sweet-spicy Korean fried rice served with sauteed mushrooms and spinach accompanied by deep fried pork belly and fried egg. A great combination of Pinoy and Korean flavors!

Chicken Satay (Php280). A bowl of Indonesian- inspired fried rice served with grilled chicken thigh and its trademark peanut sauce.

Beef Rendang (Php420). Tenderchuck slow-cooked in aromatic spices and coconut cream. A little too spicy for me but a sure winner for those who like their food with lots of kick!

Kimchi Salmon Sinigang (Php420). Salmon belly and loin seared then served in a spicy and sour soup.

Iced Mocha (Php170). A rich yet refreshing blend of chocolate and coffee flavors, it is among the Toby’s Estate beverages served in this restaurant.

Pink Owl (Php180). A fruity cocktail of vodka, lychee, watermelon and mint. A suitable drink to chase away the workday stress.

Little Owl Cafe’s food offerings provide its diners with an adventurous break from the everyday meals but with enough familiar flavors to make them appealing to those with more conservative tastebuds.

Its premises are well-appointed, tastefully furnished and prettily lit, great backgrounds for foodie shots and group photos.

Since this resto is conveniently located a short distance from my workplace, I definitely can drop by again for dinner with friends after office hours.

Little Owl Cafe is located at 65 Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 10pm and Sundays from 8am to 9pm. For inquiries, call + 63 917 8181468 or +63 2 5012036.

Little Owl also accepts bookings for special events such as weddings, birthdays, holiday parties, press conferences and more, with function rooms that can be reserved for a minimum consumable amount.

Little Owl Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

#PampangaFoodCrawl: 7 Must-try Dishes

San Fernando, Pampanga is only about two hours ride from Manila.  It is usually a place my family and I pass by on the way to our hometown of Bataan.  While I may have visited the city once or twice over the past years (and usually on business), I have never thought of it as a foodie destination.  (I admit now that this notion is a bit odd, considering that Kapampangans are known for their culinary skills.)

Fortunately, I recently took part in the Giant Lantern Festival Bloggers Tour organized by the city’s Tourism Promotion and Caravan Sub-Committee, YALLA Book of Coupons and the Giant Lantern Festival Foundation, Inc.  Together with fellow bloggers, I toured San Fernando’s heritage sites and learned about the city’s thriving Christmas lantern industry and annual competition.  Plus, our group was treated to an EPIC seven-stop food crawl of the city’s top restaurants.

I can hardly keep myself from talking about all the great foodie finds discovered during the tour, so I wrote a curated list of the “absolute must-trys” that represent the various cuisines available in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Check them out and try to include these restos in your itinerary on your next visit to the area.

Baked Goods: The Original Cheesebread at L.A. Bake Shop

L.A. Bakeshop prides itself on being the “Home of the Original Cheesebread.” And, oh, its artisan cheesebread is really worth boasting about!  When served while still warm from the oven, it emits a sweet cheese-y smell that has you salivating.  Bite into it and the soft fluffy sweet bread gives in to the explosion of cheese flavor in your mouth. Enjoy it for breakfast together with L.A. Bakeshop’s Spanish Bread and Tsokolateng Batirol for a truly indulgent start to your day.

LA Bakeshop

Cheesebread: Php180 (box of 30 pcs)
Spanish Bread: Php210 (box of 30 pcs)
Mixed: Php195 (15 pcs cheesebread, 15 pcs Spanish bread)

L.A. Bakeshop is located along MacArthur Hi-way, Dolores, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 7am to 9pm.  For inquiries, call +63 045 4360153 or +63 916 2623098.

Italian: Shrimp Bisque Fusili at Parmisano’s

An exciting take on the Pancit Luglog, this dish features al dente fusilli pasta tossed in a creamy shrimp sauce, topped with onion leeks, plump shrimp, soft-boiled egg and bits of savory chicharon.  What a fun way to enjoy a local classic!


Price: Php286

Parmisano’s is located at KM 78, San Agustin, City of San Fernando, Pampanga (across Vista Mall), open Tuesdays to Sundays from 12nn to 9pm.  For inquiries, call +63 045 4027639.

American: Grilled Beef Steak at Meats and Match

For the true-blue carnevore like me, there is nothing like the taste of freshly grilled steak. Sourced from local farms, cooked to medium doneness and served on a sizzling plate together with mashed potatoes and buttered corn and carrots, the meat is tender, juicy and oozing with flavor.  I love it when its accompanying gravy has caramelized a bit below the steak, adding a more intense flavor to every bite.

Meats & Match

Price: Php194

Meats and Match is located along McArthur Highway, Dolores, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.  For inquiries, call +63  998 9888917.

American: Double Smoky Mushroom & Cheese Burger at Roberto’s

Two juicy flame-grilled meat patties topped with a flavorful mushroom sauce and accompanied by crisp greens inside a warm burger bun. Crispy battered onion rings and tartar dip are served on the side.

Price: Php450

Roberto’s is located in Dolores (beside the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital), City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 10am to 9pm. For inquiries, call +63 998 9888914.

Seafood: Bag of Fresh Catch at Orange Bucket

Steamed or boiled crabs, shrimps and mussels in a savory-spicy Cajun-style sauce. It’s best eaten by hand and you can expect to be messy so take advantage of the disposable gloves and bib provided by the resto (it’s a lot more fun that way anyway).

Price: minimum order of 300g
Crab: Php540
Shrimp: Php450
Mussel: Php270
Clam: Php60

The Orange Bucket is located at the Erazone Square, Kalahi Business Road, Bgy San Isidro, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 11am to 11pm. For inquiries, call +63 045 4022611, +63 906 2468000 or +63 998 8597750.

Filipino: Sizzling Sisig at 4MD’s Manukan at Ihaw Ihaw

Since Pampanga is the birthplace of the sisig, a Pampanga food crawl would hardly be complete without it. This dish is made in the traditional way: boiled and chopped pig ears and cheeks, seasoned with vinegar, and served on a hot plate with roughly chopped onions. I found this version dryer than other sisig I’ve tasted (which usually incorporate mayonnaise), but it did not detract from the taste.

Price: Php175

4MD’s Manukan at Ihaw Ihaw is located along MacArthur Hi-way, Dolores, City of Pampanga, open daily from 11am to 11pm. For inquries, call +63 045 9633283.

Dessert: Chiffonelle at Cafe Noelle 

Made from the recipe crafted by the chef’s family matriarch, this dessert treat is composed of classic chiffon cake with a decadent yema custard filling and butter icing. It’s simple and light on the tastebuds but absolutely wonderful.

Price: Php140/slice; Php 980/whole cake

Cafe Noelle is located at the Greenfields Square along MacArthur Hi-way, Sindalan, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 10am to 10pm.

The #PampangaFoodCrawl helped to open my eyes to the many gustatory delights available in the city of San Fernando and I look forward to my future trips up north so I can explore more of the city’s dining possibilities.

Planning a trip up north? Check out these restos and be sure to head out and experience more of what makes the city of San Fernando, Pampanga unique.  Check out my previous blog posts on the city:

Disclosure: Together with other bloggers, I participated in a tour and food crawl sponsored by the city government of San Fernando, Pampanga. The experiences provided and food served were not paid for by the attendees including myself.

City of Dreams Manila opens a VR Zone and Food Park

City of Dreams Manila is changing the landscape of entertainment and dining as it unveils The Garage.The new attraction is a VR Zone and food park that enables guests to delve into the immersive experience of virtual reality entertainment and delight in a wide range of casual dining choices from the carefully curated selection of food and beverage trucks and trailers set in a comfortable, air-conditioned space.

Bandai Namco Amusement from Japan, one of the world’s leading video digital entertainment development companies, provides the virtual reality experience at the VR Zone.

“The Garage is City of Dreams Manila’s latest attraction featuring unique entertainment activities in partnership with Bandai Namco Amusement. With their creativity and cutting-edge technology, we are honored and delighted to partner with them, and together blaze a trail in delivering extraordinary entertainment experiences that go beyond gaming and recreation in the Philippines,” Kevin Benning, City of Dreams Manila’s Chief Operating Officer said.

The virtual reality experience provided by a leader in video digital entertainment development is complemented by quality food and drink choices offered by 10 of the hippest and contemporary food and beverage partners including the resort’s own talented staff. This concept, curated all in one place, makes The Garage a first of its kind in the country — “setting us apart from the rest,” adds Benning.

“Bandai Namco Amusement is honored to partner with luxury integrated resort City of Dreams Manila and bring to this exciting destination our first VR Zone entertainment facility in Southeast Asia. We hope to bring outside of Japan an immersive, multi-sensory and fun activities to Filipinos and foreign guests with our unique VR activities at The Garage,” Kunihisa Yagisita, Bandai Namco’s General Manager stated.

Set in a 2,714-square meter cool and comfortable space located at the upper ground floor, The Garage stands out with its modern industrial interiors catering to a 563-seating capacity. Designed by award-winning Paris-based creative design agency, Malherbe Design in collaboration with Westar Architectural Interior Design, a group known for its strong sensitivity to contemporary design aesthetics, The Garage is further given life and vibrancy with graffiti works of two prominent names in the street art scene: Kookoo Ramos and DeeJae Paeste.

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#graffiti that graces one of the walls of the newly opened #VRZone and #FoodPark @thegarageatcod. It helps set the mood for enjoyment among gamers and foodies. Wanna chance to check out the VR games available for free! Like and tag a friend in the comments under the giveaway posts here and at @sandundermyfeet, @herlculis, @hungryherl and @foodventuresbyfrapao. Be sure to follow all our accounts to qualify! #TheGarageAtCOD #VRZoneCOD #GamesGastroGalore #cityofdreamsmanila #virtualreality #bandai #bandainamco #VRPark #virtualrealitypark #virtualrealitygames #gaming #gamers #mariokart #skirodeo #philippines #itsmorefuninthephilippines #wheninmanila #wimadventures #virtualrealityworld #virtualrealitygames #virtualrealityexperience #virtualrealitygaming #virtualrealityarcade

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Game of a lifetime

The Garage’s VR Zone features a new generation entertainment facility that offers an exhilarating and startling experience with top-of-class VR technology.

One of the exciting activities at the VR Zone is the famed Mario Kart Arcade GP VR, which was developed by Bandai Namco Amusement under license from Nintendo. The three-minute Mario Kart Arcade GP VR enables one to choose to play as one of the characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Yoshi; step right into the action-packed world of Mario Kart universe; and race until the finish line through a course filled with traps such as giant Piranha Plants and Thwomps or large stone creatures that attempt to crush the players. This highly sought-after game can be played by up to four persons and is open to enthusiasts 13 years old and above.

For those seeking a different kind of thrill, the Hospital Escape Terror, which can be played by up to four participants, is described as a ‘horrifying experience unlike ever before’. This immersive horror room game is open to thrill-seekers ages 13 years old and above. Hospital Escape Terror’s players have the goal to escape and survive altogether the dark, cursed, and abandoned hospital within nine minutes while being restrained on a wheel chair.

The two-minute Ski Rodeo on the other hand, is a steep downhill ski simulator that lets a player ski a vast snowy mountain course with sharp slopes and steep drops at an immense speed with the goal to finish at the fastest time possible or within the allotted time. This heart-dropping game, which can be played in pairs, is open to individuals with a height of 140 cm and up.

Tickets are available on site. Single player ticket price is available at P450 nett; while packages are available for those playing in groups or pairs: P800 nett for two persons playing Ski Rodeo; P1, 200 per person for three activities; and P1, 600 nett for a group of four persons playing Hospital Escape Terror or Mario Kart GP VR.

Gastronomic Galore

Going hand in hand with the one-of-a-kind entertainment experience, The Garage’s VR Zone is offering a selection of 10 food and beverage trucks and trailers: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Katsu Sora, Pink’s Hotdog, Little Flour, El Chupacabra, Pizza Grigliata, Farmacy, Chocol8, The Roaster and Juiced. The casual dining experience is also enhanced with the sustainability drive of City of Dreams Manila: only eco-friendly, biodegradable and compostable plates, utensils and take-out bags are used at The Garage.

Hailing from Japan, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka’s well-loved ramen is characterized by its mild, pearl-colored Tonkotsu soup which is carefully prepared by taking the time to simmer the pork bones before adding vegetables, dried fish, kelp and other special ingredients. This exceptional soup with thin-noodle ramen, and perfectly topped with mouthwatering slices of Char-siu pork and pickled plums is meant to be savored to the last spoonful.

Another food truck specializing in Japanese cuisine is Katsu Sora. A household name in the metro for good tonkatsu or Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet, Katsu Sora’s  secret to their naturally tender, marbled, and flavorful tonkatsu is the use of only premium pork meat. The restaurant is known for serving dishes that use four kinds of world-class pork that are of the highest quality: Iberico, Kurobuta, Shimofuri, and Sakura. Their Iberico and Kurobuta Tonkatsu sets are served with their famed Juugokokumai rice, a premium rice blend that includes white rice, corn, barley, millet, sesame seeds, and black beans.

Los Angeles’ most popular hot dog stand, Pink’s Hot Dogs has been hailed by multiple publications as the number one hot dog in America. A staple in Hollywood since 1939, their lip-smacking hot dogs especially the iconic “The Hollywood Legend,” which is a medley of Pink’s eponymous hotdogs with chili, cheddar cheese, mustard, and chopped onions, are sought after by everyone. This legend continues in Manila since opening their first store in 2016, and is offered together with other American favorites such as burgers, fries, nachos, and more.

Little Flour Café by the highly successful Wildflour Café + Bakery, is known for its well-loved and locally-inspired Filipino rice bowls, delicacies and grilled items.

El Chupacabra is a casual street taco bar serving a delectable array of Mexican-influenced dishes for lunch and dinner, as well as uniquely tweaked versions of popular local plates. Apart from Mexican-style street tacos, El Chupacabra is also known for burritos, enchiladas, and grilled chicken sticks.

Pizza Grigliata serves nothing but hot, freshly-made artisanal pizza to deliver a different kind of pizza experience that stands out from the rest. Uniquely prepared, Pizza Grigliata’s pizzas are handmade from scratch everyday using thin crust dough topped with the freshest ingredients which are torched and grilled.

Farmacy takes us back to the time of classic turn-of-the-century ice cream parlors. Satisfying the sweet tooth of guests, Farmacy is known for serving fresh homemade ice cream “the right way,” and for serving an extensive array of comforting treats such as milkshakes, sodas, coffee, and pastries.

Alongside the well-curated food and beverage outlets at The Garage are City of Dreams Manila’s own exceptional outlets: Chocol8, Juiced and The Roaster.

Chocol8 features handcrafted chocolates in a number of shapes and forms, and are enhanced with special ingredients such as fruits, nuts, and spices.

For those into healthy concoctions, Juiced offers a variety of freshly squeezed smoothies, slushies, and juices daily; while The Roaster is the go-to outlet for an array of gourmet coffee creations made from freshly roasted Philippine beans. In keeping with the resort’s sustainability campaign, the beans are sourced from coffee growers and farmers in various communities supported by the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc.

The Detox, Smoothies, and Sluhes

The bar at The Garage offers a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for guests to pair their choice of food from the trucks and trailers.


The Garage is open daily from 10 AM to 2 AM. For more information, call (+63 2) 800-8080 or email or visit

Details provided by The Garage in a recent press release.

A big Italian Family Lunch at New York Slice by Motorino, SM Pasig

Lately, I’ve had little time to spend with my extended family.  My parents just moved in to their newly renovated house over the weekend and with all the general hustle and bustle, my mom was not up to cooking the usual Sunday lunch.

I ended up recommending New York Slice by Motorino in SM Hypermarket Pasig as it was very accessible to us and has a sweet Metrodeal offer (more on that later).

It is located along the row of restaurants near the SM Hypermarket’s main entrance facing Tiendesitas.  The seating inside the store proper is quite limited but there are extra seats outside the store that can seat larger groups, particularly our party of seven.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

I took advantage of a Metro deal offer that entitles me to Php500 worth of food orders at only Php299, with the option to buy and use more than one Metrodeal voucher. With this awesome deal, I admit we went a little crazy with the sheer volume of our orders, which included:


Motorino Special (Php135/slice).  Pepperoni, Italian sausage, olives, bell pepper, onions and mushrooms.  This was the preferred pizza of Hubby and my brother who wanted their pizzas to have meat and lots of toppings.

Honey & 3-Cheese (Php135/slice). Honey, cream cheese, mozzarella and parmesan.  This pizza was for me and my little boy to satisfy our cravings for cheese and something sweet, all in one go.

Veggie Special (Php135/slice). Mushroom, onions, bell pepper, olives, oregano and olive oil.  This was the preferred pizza for the older folks, a healthier option than the others.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart


Spaghetti Bolognese (Php169).  A classic choice for the party members who are not as adventurous, food-wise.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Alfredo with Bacon (Php169). A meatier take on carbonara but a little to sauce-y for me.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Alfredo with Shrimp (Php189). The preference of my dad who likes seafood.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Creamy Mushroom (Php159). A lighter and more vegetarian option than the other pastas we ordered.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Krunchy Krispy Wings

Garlic Parmesan (Php269/6pcs).

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

BBQ Glaze (Php439/10pcs).

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Both wings are quite tasty and went well with our pizzas and pastas.

Thanks to the Metrodeal vouchers I availed of, I ended up paying only Php2,200+ for Php3,600+ worth of orders.

This New York Slice by Motorino branch is located inside SM Hypermarket, Frontera Verde Drive, Ugong, Pasig City, open daily from 10am to 9pm.  Other branches are located at:

  • Ground Floor, South Parking Building, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City (open daily from 10am to 10pm)
  • Rockwell Business Center, Ground Floor, Sheridan Corner United, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City (open daily from 10am to 8pm)
  • Eton Towers Makati, 128 Dela Rosa Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City (open Mondays to Fridays 11am to 10pm and Saturdays to Sundays 11am to 9pm)
  • Ground Floor, Market! Market!, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (open daily from 10am to 10pm)
  • 2A-2 Ground Floor, ATC Corporate Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (open daily from 11am to 10pm)

New York Slice by Motorino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato