Here’s an honest to goodness, unbiased review of that Harry Potter-themed café in Maginhawa street in Quezon City. Maginhawa, also known as the foodies’ haven in the metro gave birth to yet another café that will make every Potterhead’s head get nearly headless with excitement: The Nook Cafe. I mean seriously, if you haven’t been to this part of the metro and you love food or you’re a hipster LOL, then you really should. Food from different regions, sweets, street foods, and thematic restaurants, you’d find it here. I know it ’cause my previous work is near this place. #defensive
I’ve been meaning to visit this place after learning about it in this WhenInManila post, but seeing as I no longer work in Quezon City, the idea became a little far-fetched considering the kind of commute we have in the metro, fvcking insane, right? Anyway, today, we decided to drop by and check out what’s the fuss – though this wasn’t really in our plans. I’ve met up with one of my good friends Ate Cheng for lunch and since we haven’t seen each other for a long time, we proceeded to her waxing salon to continue our chat. One of our other GMA friends, Rachel, had her brows and facial hair waxed. Can’t remember how we ended up going to Nook (I think I said I’ve been meaning to but just didn’t had the time then and Rachel insisted we should and Chissa didn’t want to so I forced her and so we did!)
I am still high on butterbeer, which explains this immediate blog post. Got
How to get there: The problem with Maginhawa street is that there are no jeepney routes in this area so going to this place can only be done with a cab or your own car, at least that’s what I know. Anyway, if you’re coming from EDSA, take East Ave., turn right to V. Luna, turn left to Kalayaan Ave., then turn right on Malingap street. Landmark is Shell gas station. Go straight, straight, straight; at this point you’d see other restaurants already like Tomato Kick, Pino Bar, and Z Compound, I miss Z Compound! When you get to the end of the road (Maginhawa street), turn right to Sikatuna Village, the left side is Teacher’s Village. The restaurant is right along other restaurants on the right side of the street. You can use Waze, it’s pretty much reliable in this part of the world. Note: Not in Arnaiz Ave in Makati. But that’s for another story. SMH.
First impression: I was too giddy when we got off the cab, the Potter fan in me got too excited for its own good, but got a little disappointed when we saw that there are hipster kids waiting before us. But then, what you gonna do with that dessert other than wait? You can’t complain because Harry Potter is a huge phenomenon, obviously, everybody wants a piece of the Hogwarts experience.
We entered The Nook and had to dilly dally for a minute because the staff weren’t attentive enough to their customers and only told us that the café was full when we’re looking like idiots standing there. Seriously, I kinda wished house elves were there instead; at least they’d make everyone feel royal. (Oops, sorry Hermione. #SPEW)
We got seated after around thirty minutes or so. They have 2 floors; both have three tables each that could seat 3-4 people. The first floor is the usual café-like place while the semi-second floor has pillows were customers sit – Japanese style, this is the comfier area of the place, reminds me of the Gryffindor common room. The place is so small, it could only cramp around 15 people max. It was so small that Chissa’s Hagrid-like hair (loljk) almost dipped in the other table’s meal. Hahaha! I swear, I thought the place Rub Ribs in Tomas Morato is really cramped, but I was very wrong. The Nook’s place is so small it could pass as a studio type condo unit. Come to think of it, it does resemble something like that. Can’t complain though, I’m guessing real estate in this part of QC is pretty steep, especially today.
“Three turns should do it.” Now bring me back to…
Design-wise, it pretty much screams Harry Potter to me, but not as much as I thought it would. They had a wall with the Hogsmeade wallpaper on it. The other part with Harry Potter books and other YA books like the Divergent series, the Twilight series and John Green books. Beside it, cloaks from the four Houses are displayed. You can borrow it and have your photo taken with it. We didn’t, because it looked gross and dirty. If only those things could talk, they’d scream for a wash. On the other side, near the stairs are 4 framed photos of the different Houses and beside it is Stephen Chbosky’s popular Perks’ line “In that moment, we were infinite.” It looked out of place amongst the HP displays, honestly. Oh, a time turner hangs on that side as well that was overlooked by a lot of customers, but not by my observing eyes. Lolz. Rachel said there was a wand downstairs but I didn’t get to see it.
I suck at taking food shots. Anybody wants to go food tripping with me with mad food photography skillz?
Food: I had their butterbeer, because who would go to a Harry Potter-themed café and not have a butterbeer? Chissa. Hahaha! Rachel had butterbeer as well and tried the bacon-wrapped chicken, which tastes like holiday ham. I had their potato wedges that tasted good! Other things on the menu are lattes and several pastas and there’s a cake of the day. The food were priced fairly and are okay, I think. What would really make one go back is the place. I don’t know it the other food on the menu are great, though the butterbeer was awesome. It was too sweet for my palate, but I liked it. It tastes like a piece of Hogwarts lol, honestly though, it resembles the candy butter ball, with spirits like soda and the foam tastes like melted vanilla ice cream. I wonder if the butterbeers sold in HP world in London and Japan tastes the same.
Like revenge, butterbeers are best served cold and sweet.
Some thoughts: design-wise, it could’ve been better. I was hoping to see the Sorting Hat, or at least a witch’s hat, a quill and a pen, a cauldron, Riddle’s diary, a quill, the Firebolt, or even what’s left of it? Haha! Dragon egg? The other horcruxes? A Hogwarts admission letter? The basilisk’s fang? Deluminator? Well, at least the time turner was there. Was I asking for too much? Or did I expect a lot from a 10 square meter-ish restaurant? Or I didn’t look enough downstairs? What were the other things on the first floor? Does anyone know? I just thought this idea is so grand there are a lot of ways to play with it! It seemed like they ran out of ideas when a lot could be done! I wonder if the owner is a real Potter fan because the place is a minefield of Potter ideas that can easily be done.
One last butterbeer’s #selfie, because it deserved it.
I’m not even mentioning the food! The only Harry Potter thing in the menu (correct me if I’m wrong) was the butterbeer. Honestly, they could have had commissioned a baker to make chocolate frogs, at the very least call their cakes cauldron cakes or Hagrid’s rock cakes? Or the bacon wrapped chicken one order of the golden snitch? Have jellybeans and call them Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans?
You can’t even read at the Nook because people come and go and you’ll feel like you’re hogging the place since a lot of people wait for their turn to have a Hogwarts experience. They do have ‘a nook’ though, with the duyan and all, want one at home! But why do they have other books in there aside from HP? Maybe because it’s called The Nook? Why didn’t they have a copy of Tales from Beedle The Bard and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them? But they have the Twilight series? Okay, not judging. I have read all Twilight books. I was young, I had the time. #defensive
With Rachel and Chissa.
Rating: 6/10, only because I liked the food, but the place will be the defining factor of the café and will make people come back, talk about it and “Instagram that shit”, free marketing, yo! You can do better, The Nook!
But I mean you know, maybe I was just asking for too much, fudge, I really need to save up to see the Harry Potter world in London, or at least the one in Japan. Reklamador, nasa QC ka lang naman?! Still better than nothing, ‘no?
If you want a thematic restaurant that really go all out, you must visit the erotic themed resto (in Maginhawa as well!) Gayuma ni Maria. These guys know how to do a theme! From their walls where gayumas (love potion mixes) can be seen on the wall down to the menu with names like Please Be Careful With My Heart, No Boyfriend Since Birth, Mi Amore and calls their add ons “kabit,” (Translation: Other Woman, Number 2, Querida) nobody does themes better than Gayuma ni Maria. I mean who thinks of naming their orgasmic chocolate cake “Beats Sex Any Day”? Only Gayuma does! They also sell funny adult stuff in there that will make you LOL, like edible panties. HAHAHA!
While we’re on the topic of talking about thematic restaurants and fandoms, why isn’t there a Mean Girls themed café or a Friends’ one at that? Stop reading if you just want to know about The Nook, but if you do have some few minutes to spare, then read on!
Some ideas off the top of my head…
A Central Perk would be a no-brainer kind of restaurant, just recreate the one from the show, have a menu list of Monica’c cooking, Ross’ turkey sandwich and fajitas, Phoebe’s grandmother’s secret peanut butter cookie recipe AKA Nestle Tool house, Joey’s favorite sandwiches maybe even Rachel’s traditional English trifle could be on the menu! (Just make sure it doesn’t tastes like feet!)and have a barista who looks like Gunther. Haha! People who don’t have a ‘pla’ are more than welcome! P.S. Friends episodes are on loop the entire time, including interviews with the group, outtakes and what have you.
The Mean Girls themed café would be awesome though! For starters, customers who wear pink on Wednesdays will have a discount or a freebie, a candy cane perhaps? The caf would have the feel of a school cafeteria complete with Janis’ map of where the jocks, the Asians, the cool Asians, the Plastics and the best people you will ever meet sit. I mean, losers, kids who were recently homeschooled and people who push someone who got hit by a bus can even sit in the loo and eat their meals there, if they want to. Monthly contests like who can best make out with the hotdog may even win something (totally kidding!)You’ll find the burn book, Cady’s crown, Damien’s pink shirt, and the Toaster Strudel in there! Cupcakes made out of rainbows and smiles, muffins (Optional: someone to butter your muffin, because butter is a carb) and Kalteen bars will be served and everyone will drink on a red solo cup! The resto should open on Oct. 3rd, for sure. Do you think it’s going to be fetch?
What about you? What fandom would you want to have a thematic feel? I’m also thinking GoT!
P.S. Please no one take my ideas. I’m working on the capital, because maybe one day, I’ll have a themed resto!