Dutch Poffertjes (popularly known as Dutchkins in Van Marley’s) with nutella, praline sauce and ice cream.

I’ve never been to Holland; the nearest I’ve been was a transfer flight in the airport. Now, I’ve come one step closer to it, thanks to Van Marley’s owners Mike Ong and Nachi Domingo. Their love for the Netherlands has fueled their passion to open a Dutch-inspired cafe to introduce Filipinos to Poffertjes (popular mini-Dutch pancakes, now rebranded as Dutchkins) and to satisfy the cravings of Dutch nationals in Manila.

From what we previously heard, Holland is not really known as a foodie country, but, to our delight, we found the Dutchkins really yummy and even some of the other Dutch treats were good indeed. All in all, it was interesting to taste unique flavors at Van Marley’s.

Van Marley’s is quite small, with just a lounge chair with 5 small tables and 5 bar stools. A large photo of a river separating Holland’s Red Light district and Green Light (smoking) district serves as the centerpiece of the interiors. Some of the decor, including the lava lamps and some paintings, were contributed or donated by the owners’ Dutch friends.

European beers such as Heineken and Hoegaarden are available here. On weekends, the place turns into a neighborhood bar until early in the morning.

Thanks to Jena de Mesa for letting us know about Van Marley’s! She eats there often; and when we went on a Sunday, she was there as well. 🙂

We were curious about the establishment’s name and inquired about it. We were told that the Dutch are fond of Jamaicans and have a sort of nickname for them: “Marley’s” because of Bob Marley. The word “van” in Dutch means “of”. So, literally, the name of the restaurant is “Of Marley’s” — and, true enough, you’ll hear Bob Marley’s music playing in the background there.

(Another tidbit we got: The Dutch have a nickname for us Filipinos, too: “Jollibee’s”.)

Whipped Berry Mix Cream Cheese Dutchkins (P130). Fluffy Baby Dutch Pancakes

Just a warning, the Dutchkins are very addictive. They are like soft, spongy pillows made of yeast and buckwheat flour. The serving size is typically 14 mini pancakes with powdered sugar toppings and a unique flavor. They are best eaten while hot.

I suggest you start with the berry with cream cheese flavor. 🙂

They use a special cast iron pan, particularly designed to make the mini-pancakes fluff — otherwise, they would just come out flat. This pan can only accommodate 14 dutchkins at a time, so just imagine if a lot of people ordered, there would be quite a queue and you would have to wait a bit.

Flying Dutch Wings (P155) and Turmeric Rice (P30). Herbed Spicy wings with a Zing

Aside from the dutchkins, the chili wings were also good, especially when partnered with turmeric rice. The wings were tasty all throughout, with a dash of herbs and just the right level of heat.

Nevertheless, I would not travel all the way here just for the wings. But if you are looking for something more filling to eat, this would be the combination I would recommend.

Kroket (P135). Breaded, deep-fried meat ragout with Joppie Sauce

Inside the Kroket are different kinds of meat — pork, chicken and beef. What made the dish interesting was the unique Joppie Sauce, which had hints of mustard and curry.

Drunk Dori (P135). Beer-battered dori fish with Bleu Cheese filling

Van Marley’s version of Fish & Chips actually comes with Potato Munchers (not shown in the photo). It was OK, but I would order the Flying Dutch Wings and Krokets first.

Nutella and Praline Sauce Dutchkins (P142). Fluffy Baby Dutch Pancakes

Finally, for dessert, another serving of Dutchkins — but served with Vanilla Ice Cream this time around! I guess what makes it yummy is that you have to eat it in bite-sized form. The shape and texture of the Dutchkins make all the difference. Although it may seem like you’re eating Dunkin Donut munchkins, the Dutchkins’ pillow-soft texture (similar to Krispy Kreme) and light taste let you know it’s a totally different dessert experience.

One serving of Dutchkins is definitely not enough, but it is good to share with family and friends. Have fun competing for each piece! 🙂 It really is addicting; as I write this post, I find myself craving for Van Marley’s Dutchkins!

Overall, I like Van Marley’s, especially the fact that the meals here are affordable, in a less-than-P200 range. Although the place was intended to be a hole-in-the-wall (of a house) along Xavierville Avenue, the entire concept seemed classy — from the branding, to the outside interiors, and to the quality of the food. What was not as classy though was the use of plastic plates, glasses, cheap tables and cheap bar stools that any kid could easily push around. It was actually a bit annoying, but if it keeps the pricing to its current levels, we are OK with that. 🙂

Van Marley’s
Address: 10-A Xavierville Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Van Marley’s Menu

Operating Hours:
2pm-11pm Tues-Thurs & Sun
2pm- 1am Friday and Saturday
Closed on Mondays

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Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

P.S. Too bad, their grand opening was preempted by the loss of Amsterdam to Spain in the World cup 🙁
P.P.S. In Denmark, it’s called Ebelskiver (light, puffy mini pancakes that can be filled with fruit, jam, cheese or chocolate.