Saturday, March 15, 2014

Restaurant Review: Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining, Taipei

If you think the Hello Kitty fandom has yet to reach outside the walls of a Sanrio store, the owners of Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining are out to prove you wrong with their restaurant tribute to the popular Japanese character.

Hello Kitty iPhone 5 Leather Flip Case Black

The exterior of Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining. (Image courtesy of Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining’s Facebook page.)

Thou shalt bow before the Cat with No Mouth at this cult shrine in Taipei’s trendy East Side.

Themed mugs at Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Formerly known as Hello Kitty Sweets before it was renovated in 2013, the wildly pink exterior is matched by Sanrio’s “kawaii” cat printed on every imaginable surface: floors, walls, ceilings, napkins, mugs, dishes and even the staff uniforms.

Hello Kitty hangs suspended over a lamp. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

It’s a Hello Kitty fan’s dream come true, and is unsurprisingly patronized by mostly women and their devoted husbands or boyfriends. Even I was charmed by the sheer adorableness of the Hello Kitty décor.

Set salad. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Afternoon tea dominates the menu, with a wide selection of cakes and drinks all marked with Hello Kitty’s signature face.

Set soup in a Hello Kitty bowl. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

The appeal of these desserts admittedly lies much more in themed presentation than taste.

Hello Kitty rolls. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Heartier fare includes spaghetti, burgers with buns shaped like Hello Kitty’s head and pizza in dinner sets ranging from NT400 to NT450 (roughly $12 to $15).

The interior of Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

For their noodles, the pesto shrimp noodles had large juicy shrimp in an overly creamy sauce.

Pesto shrimp noodles. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Salmon noodles were also drowned in the cream sauce.

Salmon cream noodles. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

The most enjoyable entrée was the spicy chicken cream noodles, which packed more kick and flavor.

Spicy chicken spaghetti. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

A typical meal comes with salad, soup, a bread roll imprinted with Hello Kitty’s face, your choice of appetizer (buffalo wings, duck breast slices, baked vegetables and roasted rice), an entrée, custard (again in the shape of Hello Kitty’s face) and a drink. Food is, however, secondary to ambiance in this unbearably “kawaii” restaurant.

Pudding shaped like Hello Kitty’s face. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

The restaurant staff is more than happy to help visitors take pictures and the renovated space is kid-friendly. It is an all-Chinese menu, so make sure you go with friends fluent in Mandarin.

Bottom line: If you’re in Taipei, don’t miss out on this mecca of Hello Kitty worship.

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