From conception to completion, I witness the making of Manila’s very own Magnum Café.
The servers in Magnum Cafés all around the globe wear t-shirts proclaiming the brand’s core message. Emblazoned in gold on a background of brown are the words: Pleasure Maker.
In the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Bangkok, and Singapore among other countries, the stores are flagships of a product pursuant to pleasure, and the celebration of Belgian chocolate. Similar to ripping off the wrapper of a Magnum ice cream bar, the stores explore and present possibilities that are lavished in chocolate, but Belgian of course, then scattered with an imagination’s worth of toppings.
Magnum Manila is an imprint of its sister cafés worldwide while retaining its individualism. Its expansive 260 square meters exude sleekness and cool gilded in gold, white, and brown with design elements running on a theme deftly designed by preeminent architect Ed Calma. See the multiple “M’s” interwoven into the golden pattern wall? The giant “M” made out of Magnum sticks? Now, look up. The drop lighting that illumines and makes everyone look beautiful mimic drops of chocolate.
Over at the bar is where the magic happens: make your own Magnum. All curves in white and steel showcase the pleasures you may prefer and should you need help, the process poster shows you it’s as easy as 1-2-3. This is your chance to find out if a Magnum bar is best dipped in gold (caramel), white (white chocolate), or brown (dark or milk), and if you can take the heat of a chili add-on and/or the pop of Pop Rocks, among so many others.
Let’s not forget the food, shall we, several of which have been infused with Belgian chocolate. Star chef Him Uy de Baron of Nomama fame has created a menu melding comfort and class with knockout favorites. Calibrate your appetite to see how much space you’d like to leave for dishes and dessert, there’s something for every whim.
The Magnum Fresh Ricotta Bruschetta are light and lovely, olive oil-kissed crostini carry a cargo of homemade ricotta and baby tomatoes. The Cajun Spiced Chicken Fingers knock the ball out of the park; zingy and spicy, the team just kept on poppin’ them in.
The salads satisfy, the tangy vinaigrette the greens are bathed in is outstanding, and I’m mad for the Carbonara. The traditional noodle dish is one-upped by an egg cooked in sous vide, it gleams naughtily in the center.
Chef Him makes a mean burger, there are three on the menu, and his Croque Madame is out of this world. In addition, try the twist he’s done to his renowned Braised Beef Cheek paired with the most unforgettable side of mashed potatoes. A fast favorite, this one.
Multi-awarded pastry chef Miko Aspiras lent his sweet imaginings to Magnum Café’s plated desserts. Yes, have these too in addition to making your own Magnum (250,000+ possibilities!) or trying the Magnum Signature Combinations. May I also say that the Milkshakes will soon be named the best (and thickest!) in Manila?
During the consultations, our minds short-circuited on all the spins we wanted to road-test on our favorite sweets. Countless sauce-streaked saucers later, the menu is a proud portrayal of Chef Miko’s imagination, the Magnum ice cream bar’s versatility, and the irresistibility of dual temperature desserts.
Red Velvet in cake, crumble, and chocolate.
Apple Pie always appeals, especially if it’s done Magnum-style.
And my forever favorite: The Cookie Skillet Pie.
Pleasure seekers, prepare to be pleased.
Opening April 8, 2014.
5/F Sky Park, SM Aura Premier
McKinley Parkway corner 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
www.magnum.com.ph + www.makemymagnum.com
On Twitter & Instagram: @magnum_ph #MagnumManila
*All photos in this post are courtesy of Magnum Manila.