Once upon a time, NIC’s Gourmet Desserts was a commissary company that offered food and dessert items to coffee shops and restaurants. Owner Rina Go tailored the business to make use of quality-oriented, homemade family recipes in order to cater to clients who are always seeking something special. As a result, customers began to request for her to put up a store where they could easily purchase and pick up their orders. In 2011, their little San Juan shop—named after Go’s daughter, Nic—was born.
Located in Addition Hills, San Juan
“I just wanted something clean and simple,” Go says, in reference to NIC’s stark white interiors. “I wanted to go a bit more European with the look, so I did away with the typical country look that most bake shops seem to have nowadays.” In this case, the simplicity of her interior design helps. There is nothing to distract customers from the shop’s baked goods. Instead, they are free to roam around to try the samples on display, sit down and wait for a warm, delicious meal, or head straight for the shelves and refrigerators to pick up some cake slices, frozen lasagna platters or even ready-made packed meals.
Have some Nic's for here or to go.
Aside from the convenience it provides, what is so great about NIC’s is that they serve meals and dessert in their café. We were made to try three of their best-selling dishes, which are the Adobo Flakes (P295), the Chicken Parmigiana (P295) and the Meat Lasagna (P245). I love how their pastas are not of the run-of-the-mill variety; you can tell that they used good quality ingredients and family recipes because it has a very comforting vibe. The Chicken Parmigiana, in particular, is extra wonderful because the pasta is laced with garlic, which gives it an extra oomph. The chicken breast that comes with the dish is also tender and very juicy. I am also a big fan of the Adobo Flakes, which makes an excellent breakfast meal because it is served with two eggs, diced tomatoes and fried rice (customers can choose between brown or white rice). I am, however, not too keen on the fried rice because it is a little too salty—especially when combined with everything else—for my preference.
NIC’s is also famous for their baked wheat crisps. The Parmesan Wheat Crisps (P295 a tub) is a healthier alternative to potato chips. These are select whole grain and parmesan cheese baked to a golden crisp with no preservatives. It is best taken with some of the shop’s top selling dips and spreads such as the Tomato Basil with Spicy Smoked Milkfish (P275 a bottle) and the Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon Spread (P250 a bottle).
We had a little of everything for dessert. I enjoyed trying out their Bars (P28-P32 a piece; P 150-P175 for a set of six; P300-P350 for a set of twelve; P750-P850 for a set of thirty), especially the Double Fudge, the Lemon Bar and the Oatmeal Fudge. The Oatmeal Fudge is their most in-demand bar. This is made of chewy layers of oatmeal filling filled with a layer of semi-sweet gooey fudge and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. The Double Fudge, in all its gooey, chocolatey glory, is equally wonderful.
Nic's assorted bars
For the cakes, we had the Red Velvet Cupcake (P85 a piece; P500 for a set of six), the Dark Turtle Brittle (P145 a slice; P1300 whole), the Dark Toblerone Sans Rival (P145 a slice; P1300 whole) and the Peach Walnut Torte (P160 a slice; P1400 whole). The Dark Turtle Brittle is this amazing, delicious confection of pure, unadulterated chocolate with bits of toffee and peanut brittle. It’s very moist and just the right amount of bittersweet. The Dark Toblerone Sans Rival is, quoting Miss Rina, “the sans rival of the brave”. It is just like the original sans rival save for the use of the dark Toblerone buttercream, which is perfect for those who are fans of the not-so-sweet variety.
Red Velvet Cupcake
Dark Turtle Brittle
Dark Toblerone Sans Rival
The Peach Walnut Torte, one of their specialties, is a tower of walnut meringue with fresh peaches and whipped cream. To help digest my food, I have a cup of Chamomile-Citron flavored tea by Tea Forte (P65).
Peach Walnut Torte
For Valentine’s Day, Go is also offering a few new designs. You can purchase a heart-shaped Red Velvet Cake (P1,200), Blueberry Cheesecake (P950) or request for a custom order to suit the taste of your loved ones.
Red Velvet Cake
There are some nooks of the universe that are better left secret and nearly unexplored. The few people who know about these places sit there in comfort to pass time. Due to its relatively quiet, non-commercial location, such is the fate of NIC’s. But Rina Go is determined to change that. Drop by and have a meal there—she’ll be glad to have you.