There could be no way you could not have heard about the opening of the first-ever Hello Kitty Cafe here in Manila. It’s been all the buzz for a while here, being the worldwide phenomenon that it is since it’s been turned into a restaurant and cafe. It sits prettily on the 3rd floor of Uptown Mall in BGC, which is a budding food and drinks destination.
Sanrio’s Hello Kitty has cafes in Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong, all having to feature different motifs for the kitten. Here in Manila, the cafe emulates the French, a dainty yet grand ensemble, with giant bird cages that make as a lounge or a booth for the excited diners. Their place was given a pleasantly bright treatment, playing with reds, yellows, blues, and the gold accents. And don’t forget the ubiquitous iconic bow, which down to the food, is being showcased.
Personally, the interiors could do better and can be further skewed for it to actually truly scream Hello Kitty. I don’t think it’s enough to prettify the place and throw bows around and call it Hello Kitty/ Sanrio. But then again, the people and fans of the kitten seem to be overwhelmed by it as it is.
I was skeptical as I entered the cafe. It looks like the place had to be too pretty to offset maybe the food, which may be of questionable quality. We waited patiently for their dishes, taking obligatory photos with the lovely booths and lounging at the seats.
Their offerings started trickling in, one pretty plate after the other, I’m starting to think that these are just plain meals made and were added with Hello Kitty elements. I was mistaken. The savory and sweet plates actually impressed all of us (with my blogger friends).
Time to get a tasting! A salad bouquet (Php 385) that are set on a wooden plank took our eyes. Fresh and crunchy cucumber cubes, grapes, raisins, and chicken bits enveloped in sheets of lettuce. You might have some trouble eating it side from not wanting to destroy the presentation. But asking for a plate would be helpful and have it with its dressing.
From the pasta selection, we had their Spaghetti Bolognese (Php 365) and Shrimp Scampi (Php 440). In fairness to them, the pastas tasted great. The Bolognese had a rich meaty sauce that gave a lovely coat to the pasta. Don’t miss eating the heart-shaped ham and bread Hello Kitty sandwich it comes with. The Shrimp Scampi was as delightful. Strong seafood taste laced with the smell and taste of white wine. The flavor was definitely there.
Their Pork with Herbes de Provence (Php 525) was a little bit of a letdown. It looked tasty with its Hello Kitty head-shaped mashed potato, side of French beans, and a beautiful spread of the pork. It was quite dry and wasn’t very pleasant to chew. It had delicious gravy, though. And it went so well with the mashed potato and the crunchy French beans.
A cookie-based dessert graced the table, enclosed in a small bird cage, the Crinkle Biskie (Php 199). Maltesers suspended in chocolate cream sandwiched between two dark crinkles and finished off with a dollop of cream with a chocolate bow. Indulgent. And sinfully indulging. You should try it when you’re there.
And finally, the small L’Opera Cake adorned with a mini Hello Kitty throne on top. Moist and packs a bite and chew. Its level of chocolate taste and sweetness was on point. Unexpected, but this one was one of my top picks on their long range of choices.
I may have insights on the entire concept but generally, it was a delicious and interesting encounter. If you haven’t been or even heard of this new buzzing cafe in town, its time to journey over at Uptown BGC.