Flex your mental muscles with exciting games and nibble on light eats at the same time at Laruan Atpb. Café. The Quezon City-based restaurant—owned by Kevin Ching, Kharen Santia, Kamikazee vocalist Jay Contreras, and three other partners—opened on December 2015 with the hopes of providing good food and entertainment.
Owners Ching and Santia met through an online game popularly known as Ingress.
"We met playing the game and from there, we became friends. A few months later, we decided to come up with the business. And because we like games, this is the concept that we thought about," Ching shared.
"We recruited some of our friends like Jay from Kamikazee. We're all interested in different things like art, games, and music...that's why when we decided to open up the place, we wanted to have those elements," he added.
Santia shared that they had a list of options of the restaurant's name like "Hunger Games" and "Lamon or Laro," but Laruan Atpb. Café received majority of the votes from the five other owners.
"Gusto namin versatile yung magiging approach [ng name]. Hind lang yung nagbo-board game ang target market namin so we have to come up with a name na ma-co-cover lahat," she said.
Asked how they are different from other board game cafés in the metro, Ching said: "It's not just a board game café. It's a place for art, family, and fun."
There's no reason not to go even if you are a board game dummy because there are people around the café who can assist you. They are called the "Game Masters."
"They're here if you need help to learn a new game or you're just trying a game. They also approach people when they notice that they look like they don't know what they're doing." He continues: "There's a game master [who] is a librarian, one from Ingress, a teacher from the University of the Philippines, and a burlesque and bondage artist. The vocalist of Imago, Mayumi Gomez, [is] also a game master here."
They have a diverse selection of games that were handpicked by the owners themselves. You can pick from the shelves of games yourself or have one recommended by Game Masters based on your interests or number of players. This lessens the intimidation factor that some games seem to have.
To get you started, we asked for a list of their recommended games.
Instead of winning by competing with other players like most games, everyone must work together to win the game. It's best played with three other friends.
DC Comics Deck Building Game
Play as Batman, Superman, The Flash, or Green Lantern. Each hero has a corresponding special power that will open up different strategies to the player. You have to defend yourself from villains.
King of Tokyo
Each player takes on the role of one of six monsters attempting to destroy Tokyo. Though Tokyo is fairly defenseless, the other monsters will be contesting you, as they want to be the King. You need to protect yourself from them.
Are you brave enough to play this game? Press down the wrong teeth and you'll be bitten by the crocodile's razorblade teeth.
They also sell some board games just in case you end up liking them so much that you'd want to have one for yourself.
But they're not all about board games. Their kitchen is headed by Paulo Leal, a chef who has years of experience in one of the biggest hotels in Dubai.
Among their best dishes are:
Monte Cristo Supreme
Made with chunks of homemade smoked ham on white bread with crispy onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and melted cheese.
A hard shell taco filled with ground beef, grated cheese, tomato salsa, and lettuce. Together, they taste like perfection.
Buffalo Chicken Wings
If you're a fan of spicy food, you should order this deep-fried chicken wings coated with spicy sauce. Mild, medium or hot, take your pick.
No need to travel to Italy to taste a legit bolognese. Laruan's mix of ground beef, tomatoes, and tomato paste tastes heavenly.
Their food is best paired with their Oreo Shake (P185) or Wintermelon Milk Tea (P95). You can also order alcoholic beverages such as Budweiser (P125), or San Mig Light (P85).
Laruan Atpb. Café isn't just for gamers. It is a perfect place to hang out with your girlfriend, friends, or family. You'll surely leave with a smile on your face and good memories.
Laruan Atpb. Café is open from 2 p.m. to 12 mn from Mondays to Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays, 12 nn to 2 a.m. on Saturdays, and 12 nn to 12 mn on Sundays. For more information, message them on Facebook. It is located at the Ground Floor, Luisa Building, 107 Maginhawa, Diliman, Quezon City.