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  • Writer's pictureMonch Weller

[24] On Passion Running In the Family: Pastry Passion, West Avenue

Updated: Oct 8, 2022

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: This piece was originally written back in August 2014. Pastry Passion is now defunct.)

Mention Filipino painters, and the name Malang is one of the names to appear. The prolific painter born Mauro Malang Santos is a well-known painter, cartoonist, and artist. His children inherited their father's artistic talent. Sons Steve and Soler followed Malang's footsteps and became painters. Meanwhile, Mauro's other son Simon became known for his love of motion pictures – eventually coming to life with his Video 48 blog and video rental shop.

Simon's daughter Shirley Santos-Yanga then put up Pastry Passion. The cake shop made its way into the pages of various lifestyle magazines and newspaper columns. A number of celebrities have been known to frequent the place, including Susan Roces and John Lloyd Cruz. Pastry Passion and Video 48 are both located at the Mary Santos Artcade at 48 West Avenue. This large structure is named after Malang's wife Mary and is host to a number of artworks from home-grown artists.

Pastry Passion evoked an atmosphere of a quaint village café, neatly tucked at the corner of two busy avenues. I went here to have dinner and to wait for the rain to stop after a rest-day overtime. I would usually see this place while going to my old office, so I took this chance to try it out.

I started off my meal by ordering a Tuna Waldorf Sandwich. This consisted of homemade tuna spread, apple slices, lettuce, and cheese sandwiched between a flaky croissant. It came with potato chips on the side for some sort of a classy treatment. The sandwich was rather small for dinner fare, but as they say – hunger is the best cook.

The sweet apples countered the tuna spread and potato chips, whilst the lettuce contributed a bit of freshness. The light and flaky croissant surprisingly worked as a vehicle for the multitude of tastes and textures. A bit of curry powder and some candied walnuts would have made this dish closer to the real thing, if you ask me.

Pastry Passion's Beef Lasagne consists of layers of lasagna pasta with tomato sauce and ground beef with parmesan cheese on top. It came with two pesto bread sticks, one on each side of the dish. I found the amount of sauce lacking, but the amount of meat it had compensated for that shortcoming. This made me full that time compared to the sandwich.

I capped off my meal with the cake shop's Apple Pie which looked rather tempting. It's the joint's signature apple pie topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream. It reminded me of the apple crumble from Everything At Steak, with the a la mode serving and all. However, Pastry Passion's take did not have the acidic tartness of the latter – so I enjoyed it even more. The additional amount of sweet crumb on top balanced out the sweet and flaky bottom crust. Cinnamon and nutmeg are the key spices that give apple pies their signature scent, and this one had more than enough.

Pastry Passion surprisingly carried a good selection of coffee and tea, but they did not have coffee during my visit. I was not in the mood for coffee anyway, so I opted for tea. The joint carried Stash and Twinings teas, but I preferred Stash as I could stretch it up to two or three cups. I ordered the Earl Grey Tea with extra milk, and it definitely paired well.

Months after my initial visit, I returned there again to try out other cakes. I managed to visit the galleries at the upper floor and finally paid a visit to Video 48. If you are a fan of Filipino movies or motion pictures in general, this is definitely a must-see location.

The last time I visited Pastry Passion was in 2014, and I have not returned there since. And now, I found out that the joint has closed – maybe because of the ongoing pandemic? Either way, it was fun while it lasted, though.

You can check out Shirley Santos-Yanga's cake creations at her Instagram account.

Until the next review, bon appetit.

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