Last weekend, J had a craving for steak, so I suggested that we try Vagabonds Artisan Comfort Food at the corner of Scout Limbaga and Scout Torillo streets near the Morato food strip.
I had read some online reviews, the reviews were mixed, but people generally liked the steak and the Ibiza Chicken. So, I thought, why not? Let’s go. The 1-kilo steak for P1,800 seemed like a good thing to try. 🙂
As you can see, parking is available in front, and Vagabonds is easy to find using Waze.
The interiors are nice enough, with some artwork displayed on the walls. The artwork seemed haphazardly hung.
Excusing some kitschy decor items, overall, the place seems like it offers some fine dining – upholstered chairs, drapery, etc… However, the staff didn’t seem to provide the level of professionalism that one would expect from a place that looks like this.
The staff didn’t seem to be trained to serve at a place that looks like this. They were nice enough, but we felt like we were just dining at a cheap eatery (carinderia). Our waitress just plopped the menu on the table, the other waiter just put our water glasses and utensils anywhere on the table. There was no maitre d’ type person running the floor. The staff don’t look happy to be there.
There was an angry-looking older guy hovering near the door, he seemed like either the bouncer, the not-uniformed guard, or the driver.
Normally I wouldn’t even comment on it, but the difference between service and the ambience the restaurant is supposed to have just seemed so drastic. There wasn’t any welcoming smile. Unlike other restaurants with parking spaces, no one came out to assist us with where to park when we arrived. I didn’t get any customer-focus vibe at all. The vibe I was getting was “let’s get this over with” – like everyone just wanted to get through the day and go home.
We ordered the 1-kilo steak that they are famous for – we asked for medium rare, and our waitress tiredly suggested half/half – half salt & pepper rub, and half Brazilian rub. J said he could eat the entire thing himself. I highly doubted that, but he insisted. 😀 I knew we could easily share the 1-kilo steak, but let’s have him have his delusions because he is paying 😀
They provided us with several sauces – gravy (middle), chimichurri (the green herby one with oil), 2 bowls of soy ginger (basically a teriyaki sauce), and 2 bowls of barbeque sauce.
One side has the Brazilian rubbed steak (right side), and the other side has the salt & pepper rubbed steak (left side).
The steak is juicy and tender. It’s not as tender as a Wagyu or Angus steak, but it’s good, and for P1,800 for a whole kilo of it, is quite a good value. We both liked the Brazilian rub better than the salt & pepper rub, and we both also liked the chimichurri sauce best with the steak. The other sauces aren’t bad, but the chimichurri highlighted the steak’s flavor instead of masking it.
The steak is not fatty in the sense that does not have a lot of fat unlike Hogs & Cattle’s steak. It was mostly meat, with very little fat cap. J actually likes this steak better than Hogs & Cattle’s steak.
The 1000-gram steak was indeed more than enough for the both of us. We weren’t able to finish it, not for lack of trying! It’s funny, because the 500g steak we had at House of Wagyu was very bitin, but without any other appetizer here at Vagabond’s, we only finished about 3/4 of the 1000-g steak and we were so full.
I also ordered the Ibiza Chicken with Chorizo Pilaf (P280) because some of the reviews I read said that it was good. I wish I hadn’t ordered it. But oh well, now we know. Unfortunately, it was seasoned way too strongly – too much spice (paprika) and too much salt. The flavors were way too harsh. The rice was also dry like it was left out for too long. I really tried to eat this but damn, that was a boatload of paprika. Ate steak instead, fortunately, the 1000-gram steak was more than enough for the 2 of us. I knew I should have ordered the Bleu Cheese Mac & Cheese instead.
Service definitely needs improvement. The 1000-gram steak seems to be the only saving grace. The 1000-gram steak is not bad, and if you’re looking for a good enough steak to satisfy a steak craving, but don’t want to spend too much because it’s not a special occasion, the 1000-kg steak is a good choice. It will easily feed 2-4 people, depending on how meat-hungry they are. I recommend getting the Brazilian rub, have the steak done medium-rare, and pair it with the chimichurri sauce.
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