Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you probably already know that a popular ice cream brand has opened a store at the SM Aura. Yep, the Magnum Manila started serving customers on April 8 and, in keeping with its pop-up store concept, will continue doing so for 500 days only. The store is the latest in a string of Magnum restaurants set up in a number of cities around the world, including Milan, Cannes, New York, Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore. And on a Sunday afternoon, I went there with my sister and brother, as well as a cousin-in-law and her daughter.
The ambiance keeps up with the pleasure-seeking – almost hedonistic – mindset of the restaurant. The elegant interiors certainly give off a sophisticated feel, yet at the same time, the friendliness of the staff keeps an approachable atmosphere.
The main draw of Magnum pleasure stores is the option for customers to personalize their Magnum, riding the DIY trend in the restaurant scene. The process starts with you choosing between vanilla or chocolate for the ice cream base. Then you select whether you want that base covered in dark, white or the limited-edition gold chocolate. Finally, you can pick among eighteen kinds of toppings, such as almonds, crushed chocolate chip cookies, freeze-dried raspberries, gold nuggets, honeycomb, sea salt, and chili flakes. Supposedly, there are 250,000 combinations available. A Magnum costs PHP 100.
Or you can save yourself the trouble and order from the menu any of the desserts made by acclaimed pastry chef Miko Aspiras. I had Death By Chocolate, “deep dark chocolate lava cake and chocolate truffle Magnum topped with brownie pieces and chocolate crispearls.” It’s delicious but as it’s meant for sharing, the chocolate can be too much if you dare try to finish it for yourself.
My sister and cousin-in-law ordered each the Red Velvet Moist, vanilla Magnum dipped in dark chocolate sauce and served with red velvet cake and cream cheese, and topped with crushed pistachios and red velvet crumble.
Joseph had the Rainbow Dream, which features white chocolate-covered Magnum bar covered in a multicolored cake crumble, and served on a moist slice of cream cheese rainbow cake.
The restaurant supposedly also offers hot dishes made by Chef Him Uy de Baron of Nomama Artisanal Ramen, though, as the restaurant is still in a soft opening phase, those aren’t yet available.