ISLAMABAD: The Harry Potter craze has revived all potter-heads once again and while most of them secretly hope to watch the play live at the West End in London next year, people in Islamabad can rejoice because a Hogwarts Café recently opened up in PWD, near Bahria Town. The Café appears to be small from the outside but conceals a large magical world inside that is nothing less than heaven for Potter lovers of the capital.
Hassan Khan, the mastermind behind the Hogwarts Café told The Express Tribune that this generation has grown up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. “Our childhood has been spent dreaming about Hogwarts. Turning 11 was a milestone as we sat in a corner of our homes with the hope that an owl would tap on our windows with a letter at any time,” he said. “But it never happened. Having said all this, we have always wanted to visit a place where we can enjoy good food as well as where our kids can indulge in the world of Harry Potter as we have. A nice place for muggles, where they can work on their laptops, maybe read a book and have a mug of chilled Butterbeer.”
Since Hogwarts Café is essentially not a restaurant one does not expect it to serve main courses, but the place offers a wide range of burgers, Chinese food and steaks as well. The desserts at Hogwarts Café though are worth a special mention. The Forbidden Cake is super moist with rich, decadent layers of fudge. The dark chocolate cake, named Hagrid’s Rock Cake, is perhaps the best dark chocolate cake one can find in the city. All the desserts may seem extremely similar to another popular café in Islamabad and that’s because they have been outsourced. The Imperius Cake is a delicious cheesecake with a crunchy base. And one can’t praise Merlin’s Brownies enough; they’re gooey and offer intense flavour that will keep you coming back for more. Request for a scoop of ice cream with these and they’ll make your day. Moreover, people in Islamabad can now taste the Butterbeer without heading to Universal Studios! The drink tastes rather funny, and there have been mixed reactions to this particular offering which should ideally have been flawless. It is made of soda, vanilla ice-cream, butterscotch syrup and cinnamon.
This is one area Hogwarts Café really needs to work on. While the desserts served here are delectable, their presentation leaves much to be desired. The staff needs to be trained on how to serve a slice of cake so it looks like a treat to the eyes. The drinks on the other hand fared a lot better in this department.
Even though the location of the café is an immediate turn-off, this place surprises you the second you enter it. It is like a whole new world inside. So much effort has gone into the décor and its minor details that one is instantly transported into the world of the young wizard. With excerpts from the books painted on the walls, round wooden chandeliers and framed photographs adorning the walls, Hogwarts Café is the perfect place to chill with fellow potter-heads. The café has Harry Potter merchandise on sale too including mugs, necklaces, cloaks, wands and a lot more. At the front entrance there is a platform 9 and ¾ too in case you want to click a picture in front of it and Kings Cross is not within reach.
Verdict: There is no denying the fact that Hogwarts Café is a must-visit for all potter-heads. It’s the place where their souls will feel at home, but for others not so much.