June 1, 2016 was a magical night for all the Harry Potter fans around the city. At 7pm on the day, far away from the central city, the first ever Harry Potter theme based restaurant - Platform Nine and Three Quarters - was launched in Uttara. It provided a very dreamlike experience to all its customers with its amazing décor and scrumptious meals. With masses of dedicated Potter fans at the inauguration, the restaurant began with a great start.
Platform Nine and Three Quarters is situated on the second floor, the path marked by a brightly lit staircase. On the doorway, a large poster displaying “No muggles beyond this point” instantly conjures the magic. All those who have watched Harry Potter movies are aware that muggles are the non- magical people in the Harry Potter world. Upon entering the restaurant, an HP fan will definitely leave behind all thoughts and stress of daily humdrum life, and begin an otherworldly journey.
The first room features a large portrait of Professor Dumbledore, the Hogwart's headmaster, overlooking the dining area. Every table was occupied with avid Potter fans enjoying their British cuisine inspired meals at the time, and their laughter echoed around the room. The walls of the restaurant have various graffitis such as, “I solemnly swear I am up to No Good,” and other famous phrases from the franchise.
The unique style of dining includes a Harry Potter book on every table for the customers who wanted to relive their golden days of reading J K Rowling's novel for the first time. Further into the restaurant, there is a cash counter which is soon to be transformed into a mini, dessert bar and a black board highlighting the chef's special of the day.
Platform Nine and Three Quarter is the brainchild of Shadman Khan Mahmud and his wife Mysha Musarrat. He had always wanted to venture into the food industry. On sharing his dream with his wife, she along with her sisters came up with the brilliant idea of opening a Harry Potter themed restaurant.
The restaurant mainly specialises in British cuisine inspired dishes, although they havenot been able to incorporate the idea fully into their menu due to the demography of our country not being ready for British style of cooking.
They started with the basic English meals and tested how the idea is received by the customers. The chef's special includes Lancashire Stew Hotpot with rice and chips or Grilled Chicken with White Sauce and sautéed vegetables. However, my personal favourite would be the Shepherd's Pie that absolutely melted in my mouth with every bite.
Appetisers included poutine, BBQ wings, and chicken wings. Probably the best part of the menu was to see how the Harry Potter theme was incorporated into their chillers providing famous Harry Potter drinks such as Butter Beer, Fire Whisky, Amortentia, and many more.
The ambience and the décor would undoubtedly make you extremely nostalgic. The restaurant includes the famous House of Gryffindor common room and the Slytherin dungeon almost exactly how you would picture it to be. The Slytherin dungeon includes comfortable couches and a large portrait of Professor Snape and his famous quote, “Always” painted on the wall.
Whereas the Gryffindor common room is radiant with bright lights and a wall of spells. At the centre of the restaurant is a dining area displaying all the famous spell books from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The co-owner, Mysha Musarrat, felt that to undertake such a renowned theme was a big risk since it involved living up to the large expectations of many fans. Nonetheless, two months of hard work and effort have paid off successfully. All merchandise in the restaurant was hand-made by fans using local products and submitted to them. Mysha also claimed that the main reason for locating far away from the city was to draw out customers away from overcrowded major food hubs. These food hubs have become central to one part of the city whereas the rest of the town feels almost neglected.
Platform Nine and Three quarters is an incredible restaurant to dine at with your friends or family, especially to reminisce about the early fascination with the magical world.
Platform Nine and Three Quarters is located at house no. 5, Lake Drive Road, Uttara Sector 7, Dhaka. Check out their Facebook page: facebook.com/ Platform Dhaka
By Mayesha Raidah
Photo courtesy: Platform Nine and Three Quarters