For those with a sweet tooth, there’s a new dessert hub in San Juan City that’s making a big buzz lately.
Located along the busy street of A. Mabini, Nic’s Gourmet Desserts is a cozy gem of everything sweet—Dark Toblerone Sansrival, Peach Walnut Pie, Molten Dark Chocolate Lava, Red Velvet and Brownie Walnut Cluster, among other sugary stuff.
Not only that. The aroma of freshly baked breads and pastries—cheese roll, French baguette, ciabatta, cherry Danish, cinnamon roll, parmesan ensaymada, etc.—emanating from the kitchen will easily perk up your gustatory senses.
As you enter, you are greeted with a barrage of sweet delights displayed teasingly on the large windows and huge chillers—somewhat inviting you to grab a slice or two. Premium cakes are New York Cheesecake, Chocolate Tower, Birthday Cake (layers of chocolate and mocha cake covered in white icing), Dark Javanilla, Mango Short Cake, Dark Banoffee Pie, Dulce de Leche and Apple Pie drizzled with quezo de bola.
Each sweet treat is to be enjoyed in this modern, sleek, elegant and yet surprisingly laid-back ambiance. The stylish decor with white, powder blue and lime green hues accented with large mirrors makes you feel at home, while fondly enjoying your meal or dessert.
The austere white tables and comfortable seating also create a mood that is absolutely inviting.
Yet, the pièce de résistance in the room is the dessert bar, a groovy spot where you can truly enjoy your blueberry cheesecake or vanilla muffin with a warm cup of coffee all by yourself.
There’s also a wide array of cookies (Oatmeal Chocolate Chips or Oatmeal Raisin) and bars (Double Fudge, Food for the Gods, Lemon Bar and Walnut Fudge) on the bar that you can just grab and pay at the counter.
Nic’s Gourmet Desserts is owned and run by Rina Go, who started offering gorgeous desserts and savory morsels 10 years ago but decided to join the dining scene only six months ago.
“Originally, I just wanted a food-to-go place for my products,” says Go, who named her business after her eldest daughter Nicole, now 16. “But, I was given a big space so I might as well offer a dining area for those who would like to enjoy our food already.”
Go’s best-selling food-to-go treats include Chicken Relleno de Bola, Meat Lasagna, Vegetable Lasagna, Baked Mozzarella Macaroni, Barbeque Chicken Salad and Roast Turkey.
For the dining menu, she serves a variety of gourmet sandwiches (tuna, chicken, clubhouse), pastas (pesto, meat lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs) and all-day breakfast meals (crispy adobo, sirloin tapa, arroz a la cubana).
To go with the sweet treats, coffee specialties include Latte, Americano, Macchiato and Cappuccino.
“Like all first-timers, I had apprehension in opening a dining place,” Go adds. “I had been in wholesale and retail business before, in fashion and garments, but never in food. But then, I get good feedback and repeat customers for the place. So far, they like what they’ve tried. That’s a good sign.”
All in the family
In terms of design and look, Go’s sister-architect, Maggie Go, has helped design the dessert haven with Michael Chan and Randy Santos.
“I told her I wanted something contemporary, fashionable, stylized or vogue-ish,” says Go. “Countryside or rustic theme is not my thing; besides, my food is fresh and very up-to-date.”
Maggie designed the drop lights for the dessert bar, but it was Rina’s idea to highlight the dessert bar.
“I wanted something interactive, so the bar serves as a place where you could just choose the dessert you’d like to eat. It also doesn’t intimate those who eat alone. They can stay in the bar,” says Go.
Go assures that all the food served in the house are her family’s longtime recipes and favorites.
“My brothers (Kenneth, Jeff and Francis), who are the big serious eaters, are very confident with the quality of food that we serve because we’ve been preparing these fare for decades. They’ve helped me taste-test the food again. They have no fears.”
Apart from the sweets and savory items, Nic’s also offers delicious bottled foodstuff, such as Tomato Basil (spicy, smoked milkfish sautéed in olive oil, tomato and basil), Mushroom Capers (smoked milkfish in olive oil, mushroom and capers), Parmesan Pimiento Melt, Caesar Dressing, Pesto, Ranch Dressing and Spicy Tuna.
Nic’s Gourmet Desserts is at 172 A. Mabini, San Juan City; tel. 5711818.
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