Hellooooooo! Hello Kitty Café has arrived in Singapore!
Named Hello Kitty Orchid Garden, the café opened its doors at Changi Airport Terminal 3 Arrival Hall on 12 May 2016. Not only is this Singapore's first themed café starring the iconic character by Sanrio, it is also the world's first Hello Kitty café that opens 24-hours, all days of the week!
We can also take pride that the Singapore's Hello Kitty mascot is the only one in the world with an unique double bow!
Our visit was pretty much a happy one with an array of "Kitty-fied" food that was, thankfully, more palatable than expected. The café setting itself is exceedingly pleasing with a lovely floral fragrance greeting us as we approached the space decked with both everlasting as well as fresh orchids.
It is interesting to know every Hello Kitty café features a different theme. No doubt Hello Kitty Orchid Garden is inspired by Singapore's national flower, and specially designed to emulate our country's garden city vibe.
I had visualized the interior to be all girlish and pink (like the Hello Kitty cafés in Bangkok and Taipei), but this local store conveys a more sophisticated feel with its colonial white "glasshouse" structure accented with wooden details. The Hello Kitty touch is subtle, which isn't a bad thing. I imagine less cringes on the faces of "tag-along boyfriends/husbands". Haha.
But fans will still get their "omg! so cute!" moments. There are two designated photo spots with 3D life-sized figurines of Hello Kitty for those quintessential selfie/wefie shots.
The pair of wrought iron swing seats is another hot spot for photo-taking if you're lucky enough to score that coveted table.
There is also a retail corner where you can take a memento home. The Singapore-exclusive merchandise ranges from tea blends, grow-it-yourself plants, to postcards and plush toys. Too bad the limited edition 500 pieces of Hello Kitty Singapore mascot plushies were already sold out on the opening day.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea break, supper! Hello, are you hungry?
Being open round the clock means that we can literally have our meals any time of the day and night at Hello Kitty Orchid Garden, though a limited menu is served between 12midnight and 6am.
Expect all-day breakfast delights, hearty mains, sharing dishes and an array of desserts, all served on beautiful wooden boards, ceramics and glassware specially selected to complement the garden theme, each customized with the café logo.
Local and Asian influence are woven into the menu. For instance, Over The Rainbow Salad ($15.90) is dressed with a laksa mustard vinaigrette and uses tropical fruits including pineapples and jackfruits alongside juicy Portobello mushrooms, feta cheese, and crunchy pine nuts over mesclun salad.
Rendang gets a kitty spin too! The Cowabunga! Wagyu! ($24) has chunks of Wagyu beef slow-cooked in rendang gravy imbued with flavors from a special pineapple rempah. Though nowhere as robust and spicy as what we're typically used to, flavors were sufficiently enjoyable. This makes a rather substantial meal with the serving of Japanese pearl rice (packed in the likeness of Hello Kitty) and side greens drizzled with ponzu sauce.
Kitty-shape food rules in this café as even accompanying carrots are cut in shape of the famous feline. The focaccia toast is Kitty-shaped for the Let's Do The Salsa ($16.50) shredded chicken sandwich, and a Kitty-shaped waffle embedded with melted cheddar take centerstage for Big Breakfast Surprise ($18.50).
The Enchanted Forest ($17.90) may look plain in comparison, but gets my vote for the appetizing combination of prawns, avocado, cheddar, caramelized onions and wasabi sesame mayonnaise within toasted tortilla shell.
You may have noticed the dishes all come with cutesy names. Here's more: Kitty Meets Benedict, Twice! (egg benedict, $17.50), Oops Kitty Did It Again (fries, $10.50), Land Of The Rising Kitty (spaghetti with teriyaki chicken thigh, $17.50) and Hello Sunshine (bread bowl with chicken sausages, $16.90).
Other Kitty recommendations include Hola Nachos! (tortilla chips, $15.90) and Kitty Goes Fishing (baked fillet of salmon, $23.90).
Desserts are definitely must-haves, especially the beautifully crafted Camping Under The Stars ($19.50) with Hello Kitty in a picturesque field of green tea powder, completed with toasted muesli as "bonfire" and a "tent" engineered out of graham crackers.
We also like the distinct pandan flavor of Hide & Seek ($16.90), a panna cotta enhanced with drizzles of gula melaka (palm sugar), as well as the Chinese-style mango pudding-inspired, The Cat In Paradise ($18.50).
Gelato ($6/$8.90 for single/double scoop) and Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt ($4.90/$5.90/$6.90 for 1/2/3 toppings) are available as takeaway options too.
Though I'm not a huge fan of Hello Kitty, my mood was still in anticipation as I exited the connecting Changi Airport MRT station (CG2) and walked towards Terminal 3's arrival hall where Hello Kitty Orchid Garden is situated.
One can imagine how excited fans of Hello Kitty must be, and their determination to endure the snaking queue for an experience of the first Hello Kitty Café in Singapore. An hour's waiting time is quite the norm, the quietest hours (for now) are between 3am to 5am.
Meow ~~~ will you come and say hello to Hello Kitty?
Hello Kitty Orchid Garden
Address: Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3, Arrival Hall Central #01-22, 65 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819663
Contact: +65 6241 6127
Opening Hours: Daily 24-hours
Prices stated are in Singapore dollars and subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST.