Anytime, you can walk into the neighborhood café—a Starbucks or Coffee Bean or Bo’s—and enjoy your usual cup of coffee. But how often can you get into a Harry Potter-themed café to relive the magic of your childhood? Of course, with your usual cup of coffee, great food, or the company of your half-blood prince?
So, when you get a chance to visit Sikatuna Village in Quezon City, don’t miss checking out this cafe. It’s called The Nook, so named because of its size. It’s a small cafe, a nook or corner, in the busy food mecca of Maginhawa Street.
After a short stint in the corporate world, owner Nicole Guanio or Nikki decided to pursue her dream–her own cafe. She initially wanted one with just books and bookshelves, but she dismissed it as ordinary. She wanted something new. Then it came to her: how about some space to give an unforgettable experience to Harry Potter fans?
She sat down on her business plan, made sketches, and imagined her cafe–the murals and the drawers, the broomstick, and every piece of memento from Potterworld. She flew to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park in Japan, and got more inspiration. From then on, she embarked on her dream project, the first Harry Potter-inspired café in the Philippines.
Food Trip at Maginhawa
Just imagine my excitement when I finally got some time to visit The Nook. That was a Sunday in September, I met my BFFs in Manila and I invited them for a food trip.
We went really early, just right after the café opened, so we could enjoy some quiet moments with each other. But not that quiet, because the whole time, we couldn’t stop moving around the place. Nonstop photoshoot and live Facebook updates. Millennials stuff, you know. Irish and Marvs were busy with the props—the robes, scarves, and hats and magic wands, all from the collections of Nicole—while Powell and Lester were busy with documenting and taking photos.
My favorite place? It was in that corner of the second floor, a cute hammock where I could detach myself from the world while reading a Harry Potter book.
At the entrance of the cafe, the signage reads: Coffee & Books. But,we’d later learn, there’s more to this café than just coffee and books. It’s about the experience of immersing yourself in the things that made you love Harry Potter. And food, too!
What To Order at The Nook
There’s a good menu of finger foods and pasta to choose from. On top of the list is my favorite bacon-wrapped chicken. (P160) Three pieces of crunchy, mouthwatering chicken-bacon delight made more mouthwatering with the sweet kick of honey. This one you shouldn’t miss, because this is the owner’s favorite, too. Nikki says it has some sentimental value to her because her lola helped her perfect the recipe.
The Nook’s bacon-wrapped chicken made it to the Top 5 Chicken Dish in the 2016 Choose Philippines Awards.
Lester says: I’m not a Harry Potter fan, but everything inside The Nook was on point to me—especially the taste of the food they served. The bacon-wrapped chicken with honey made my tongue scream—foodgasmic! The taro-chocolate freakshake was freakingly tasty!
If you’re a potato and cheese lover, the Nook Overload is best for you. (P220) It’s one big heap of potato fries, and a lot of mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top of Hungarian sausage and a bun. Have company, because this one’s too much for one. You can also try their cheese potato fries (P110) and grilled cheese panini (P120).
The pasta fan also got a place at The Nook. We tasted their pesto pasta (P140), which was good, firm pasta in well-made pesto sauce. I hope to try their Triple S next time. That’s spicy Spanish sardines! (P150)
When we were almost done with all the chitchat, we decided to check some sweets. For the five of us, we got one dark choco frappuccino (P140) and taro-chocolate, which is a new addition to their menu.
And the winner of them all was the butterbeer and chocolate truffle Snitch!
Butterbeer is not beer. It’s “the preferred drink of underage witches and wizard”, a frothy, non-alcoholic drink adopted from the Three Broomsticks pub in Harry Potter. You’d love the experience. Some say it’s too sweet, some say it’s just melted butter, some say they don’t know how it should taste. My verdict: it’s perfect. It’s just right to fill your curiosity of why wizards loved butterbeer. I don’t think I can gobble the whole mug, however. So, we just got one and shared it with everybody. (The café sells butterbeer in two sizes: the 6-oz Harry’s, and the 12-oz Hagrid’s).
The Nook Cafe
164-A Maginhawa St, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
Facebook: The Nook Cafe