New Restaurant Alert: Mr. Diggins at Congressional Avenue Extension, Quezon City
Soft-serve ice cream and waffles are a match made in heaven
Box Park, 73 Congressional Avenue Extension, Quezon City
Open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Thursday) and 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. (Friday and Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Of the many options at Box Park—one of Manila’s newest food parks—Mr. Diggins immediately stands out for its novel furniture, playful interiors, and Instagram-worthy offerings (do check out #colddigger). The stall takes the park’s outermost spot, so whether you are just coming in or already heading out, its charm is impossible to miss. You better stay for a cup, maybe even two.
The sweet stop is a collaboration between StrEat Maginhawa Food Park tenants, Patty Marabut and Emil Ongchuan of The Lost Bread, and Victor Dalisay and Jon Cabrera of Endless Summer. The foursome offers a spin on soft-serve treats that come paired with either freshly made waffles or iced coffee. “[Each cup] is an experience,” says Patty. “We want customers to wonder, ‘How do I properly eat this?’”
How do you eat this? Do you eat the toppings first or do you mix it all up?
Mr. Diggins currently has three soft-serve bases—Vanilla, Chocolate, and Swirl, a combination of the first two—which can be flourished with a pre-arranged set of toppings. Each cup, priced at P95, also comes with half a golden waffle.
“We’re not playing the organic role,” Emil says. “We offer homemade soft-serve with waffles, some toppings—our unique take on the parfait. That’s it.” Their four specialties are each appealing in their own way.
Honey Pot is an easy choice for those who enjoy sweet but muted flavors. Each cup is packed with bits of honey crunch, butter croutons, and a rich caramel coating. Patty recommends that a vanilla base be taken with this variant so the ingredients’ flavors come full force.
Don’t get too lost in the spell though, and make sure you reach the bottom of the cup for Mr. Diggins’ trademark: There's a secret crust of crushed grahams and cookies (or “cookie ground,” as they call it), a peculiar but welcome twist to the soft-serve experience.
Chocolate lovers are in for a treat with Black Bay, a full-on chocolatey concoction with cereals and popcorn. The chocolate-covered bits mesh perfectly well with either Chocolate or Swirl as the base, and are even better with a slight drizzle of chocolate syrup. The result is a decadent spoonful unlike any other.
Filipinos love strawberries and the folks behind Mr. Diggins know this well. The proof is in Spectrum. Expect spoonfuls of kiddie favorites—rainbow sprinkles, strawberry wafers, and a strawberry coating, which lends a playful, sugary contrast to the waffle’s mild, buttery flavor.
The Great White is the latest addition to the menu, and it happens to be both Patty's and Emil’s personal favorite. This variant is their answer to the salted caramel fad, a pleasing jumble of sweet and salty flavors in every bite. Each cup comes with some vanilla wafers, a sprinkle of sea salt, pretzel chunks, and a creamy vanilla coating.
Cold Brew Coffee with Ice Cream
Meanwhile, coffee fans might want to check out their affogato. The Cold Brew Coffee with Ice Cream (P140) finds a cool love affair with the vanilla soft-serve, accentuated with a drizzle of honey and a splash of Sashy Brew cold brew. The first spoonful is a hard strike, but once you let the flavors start to linger, you'll notice how ice cream tones down the bold coffee.
There’s really no stopping Mr. Diggins from cooking up even more whimsical desserts. Patty and Emil confirm that they have other topping combinations hidden up their sleeves, with a new one set to launch soon. This pair is just warming up.
Photos by Jericho San Miguel