Theme restaurants are becoming popular around the world, and somehow Taiwan seems to be mecca for these cutesy and heart-melting restaurants, sweeping away fans of the world-famous icons to the feet, or doorsteps of these themes.
The city of Taipei plunged into the center of the attention with the opening of two such themed restaurants; with the first ever Mattel-endorsed Barbie Cafe and the other hailing from the Land of Rising Sun with its cute signature bobtail cat fawning face, Sanrio's Hello Kitty.
I was able to make my way towards this famous restaurant, Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining, located in the Da'an District of Taipei, surrounded by shopping malls in the centre and this restaurant was just tucked away on Da'an Road.
The unmistakable pink shop lot, graced by the iconic face(or head) of the world's famous adorable little cat beckons to the fans on the hunt for the restaurant.
The restaurant was truly a girl's sweet haven, from the infatuating colors of pink on its walls to the framed pictures of Hello Kitty and the cute pink apron uniforms on the waitresses, are just a few to send the young girls squealing with delight.
Concept wise, the restaurant seemed to be targeted at a young group of customers; mostly girls/ladies from ages of 15-35, and from the looks of it, they have attracted more than they have expected with the crowds flocking into the restaurant on a daily basis with their enthusiastic locals and curious traveler. Though one might think most of the the patrons are fans of the adorable kitty, you'd be surprised at the number of guys or even elders who were in the restaurant.
(Then again, they might be there because of their partners).
The restaurant serves a mix of Asian and Western style menu, from burgers, fries, sandwiches, salads, soups to pizzas, pastas, rice, noodles and also, their desserts.
I did not manage to try out their food, though I have heard and read of the reviews on the food which spewed less enthusiasm on the tastes compared to the atmosphere here. Well, perhaps the fans of Hello Kitty would be less bothered with the quality of the food when they are dining here and surrounded by the faces of their iconic idol, food? What's that?
However, the sweet cakes on display are just enough to send anyone swooning and are certainly not meant for the faint-hearted.
These iconic designs coupled with endorsement for the Hello Kitty's copyright placed these little cakes at a slightly higher price compared to normal cakes, but I didn't think that price would be a deterrent for the loyal fans, at all.
These birthday cakes could really place a little girl on cloud nine, with the various designs and flavors available and all stamped with the signature face of Hello Kitty.
It is best to make a reservation if you are interested to dine here, as it is really difficult to get a place if you were to just walk in. The restaurant is extremely popular with birthday celebrations, gatherings and is almost always, filled with crowds.
The waitresses are friendly and kind enough to inform you of the waiting time which could range between a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour or more, to squeeze you in for a table between reservations.
There are many who may leave without an opportunity to attempt the food, but not truly disappointed with the insight into the Taipei's restaurant home of Hello Kitty and the many delightful peeks into the savory sweet temptations on display.
Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining is truly a sweet little place, and the Sanrio's icon is definitely pleased with her base of fans here in Taiwan, with the large population flocking to her restaurant daily.
The Taiwanese certainly takes Hello Kitty very seriously, after all, didn't Eva Air sport an entire Hello Kitty flight as reported in the news?
Hello Kitty is no doubt, serious business in Taiwan...