Themed cafés are becoming a trend in the metro and are doing what they can to entice more customers. There are animal cafés, book cafés, cosplay cafés—and in Maginhawa St. is The Nook, the first Harry Potter-themed café in the Philippines.
In keeping with the theme, the interior is decorated with items from the Harry Potter franchise such as books, robes, owls, and character plushies. There is also a broomstick, as seen in the movies, beside the mezzanine. The wallpaper at the mezzanine is that of Hogsmeade, the wizarding community near Hogwarts. The books and the robes in the establishment can be borrowed for reading and picture taking, respectively, but the character plushies are just for display.
The Nook also functions as a hobby café and offers other books outside of the Harry Potter franchise. Aside from books, you can also borrow board games and card games at the counter.
The café’s signature drink is the butterbeer, a beverage originating from the Harry Potter franchise. The butterbeer has seen a lot of renditions and this is The Nook’s take on it. Theirs is an amber liquid topped with cream. The drink itself tastes like melted caramel with a buttery taste, kind of like a melted Butterball, with the cream on top blends well with the caramelly taste.
Their potato wedges are served with a cheese dip and generously topped with parmesan. The wedges are crisply fried, preserving the potato taste wonderfully. The cheese dip also goes well with the wedges, although the parmesan cheese topping may just be too much for those who are not fond of it.
Their grilled cheese panini is a ham sandwich topped with parmesan. Although the sandwich was grilled well, the parmesan sets off the taste of the grilled cheese and overpowers the taste of the ham to the point that you can barely taste the ham at all.
Overall, The Nook is a nice café to hang out in. The butterbeer was good and not too sweet, but they are too generous with parmesan cheese. The atmosphere is relaxing and not too noisy. It would be advisable, though, to arrive early as there is usually a waiting list for The Nook due to the small space. At most, it could only provide twenty people: ten on the ground level and another ten on the mezzanine. But that aside, The Nook is a place I’d recommend to small groups of people but not for large gatherings.
All photos in this article were taken by the writer/author.