Kirby Café Tokyo – We go into full bite mode under the tallest tower in the world
If you’re a long-time Nintendo Life reader or an avid Kirby fan, you might remember when Nintendo opened a small chain of Kirby-themed pop-up restaurants across Japan – dubbed Kirby Café. , rightly so – in 2016.
Beginning with its first temporary location in Osaka, which was quickly followed by two more in Tokyo and Nagoya. While the three locations only operated for a few months each, Kirby Café Tokyo reappeared in 2018 and proved so popular with fans of the “mighty pink puff” that it was eventually reopened as a permanent establishment in 2019. customers for four years now (only two of them during the legendary Before Times), Kirby Café Tokyo remains one of the most exclusive themed restaurants in all of Japan – perhaps only rivaled by Kirby Café Hakata.
And it’s not surprising either. Not only is it located in the Tokyo Solamachi shopping complex at the foot of Tokyo Skytree, the metropolis’ most treacherous tourist trap, but the menu is so cute.
In fact, shortly after reading our recent coverage of Kirby Café’s special summer menu, I started trying to book a table for two – the Tokyo address has its privileges, after all – but it’s Turns out tables are only available through online booking. Online reservations for the following month, meanwhile, can only be made from 6:00 p.m. on the 10th of each month and are about as easy to secure as a Nintendo Classic Mini pre-order.
When eighteen hundred hours exactly finally arrived on July 10, I was relatively lucky and managed to book two seats for 1:55 PM on August 7 after refreshing the online booking page dozens of times in about half an hour. Coincidentally, two of my colleagues were also hoping to devour a mouth-watering Kirby cake together this summer, but it would have taken them over an hour to do the same.
After almost a month of hype, my partner and I finally arrived at Tokyo Skytree Station on an uncomfortably humid and overcast Sunday afternoon. Obviously, Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world and the third tallest structure on the planet, and it was built in part to revitalize Sumida. As such, it’s surrounded by plenty of lesser attractions, ranging from hundreds of retail stores and restaurants to a planetarium and aquarium. So we had to walk around the city of Tokyo Skytree before finding the East Yard on the 4th floor of Tokyo Solomachi where Kirby Café Tokyo is located.
As the sun beat down on us through a break in the clouds, we waded through a large crowd gathered around a street magician, occasionally stopping to take photos of the 634-meter-tall broadcast tower that stands towered directly above us before coming across an illuminated statue. of Kirby and Waddle Dee beckoning us to stop at the Kirby Café.
Enter magical Kirb-dom
Like many restaurants in Japan, stools were lined up outside for waiting customers. Unlike most restaurants in Japan, however, an enthusiastic waiter quickly gathered those of us waiting outside into a small group, checked our online reservations, and began directing us to the cafe, explaining ordering rules, COVID-19 protocols, and generally managing our expectations of car-mouth Kirby cake availability.
With that spiel out of the way, she proceeded to organize the cafe parties one by one, offering us the opportunity to take pictures at the entrance in front of a comically oversized Kirby Café plate while holding a comically oversized Kirby Café fork. and spoon. Feel free to post your best guesses in the comments below, but I won’t spoil what the waiter said in place of “Cheese!” because it was really a delicious surprise.
Thanks to the endless pandemic, the cafe seemed to only half work with the best social distancing precautions I’ve seen taken in a restaurant in Japan. Besides an entrance straight out of a theme park, the rest of the cafe was tastefully understated, except for a giant Whispy Woods sprouting from a round table right in the middle of the dining room. If you look hard enough, however, you can find the occasional figurine here and there, like a tiny Kirby inhaling tiny apples and a tiny Waddle Dee waving a decorative crown.
The relaxing vibes were accentuated by vaguely familiar Kirby tunes, specially arranged and recorded for Kirby Café by the musicians at HAL Lab to ensure maximum relaxation. In fact, you might want to pick up both Sound of Kirby Café volumes if you get the chance, as they’re exclusively sold on CD at Kirby Café and Kirby Café The Store (no international shipping for online orders, as expected).
Stars, ‘Dees and Kirbuttocks
We happened to be shown two seats directly behind Whispy Woods, and while I imagined the seats directly in front of the iconic first tier boss would have provided better photos of his best summer, almost every table in the cafe boasted of something unique and special. pointing and exclaiming “Kawaii!”
I figured the omurice would be the best menu item at a cafe like this, but since I couldn’t decide on just one thing, I ended up ordering the avocado soy burger Waddle Dee with spaghetti and meat sauce as it came with a little bit of everything. My partner, on the other hand, took a rare opportunity to enjoy a seafood dish in my presence and ordered the lomi-lomi salmon and avocado over rice, served in a Waddle Dee. While I had the option of paying extra to take my plate home as a souvenir, my partner was able to take her lidded plastic bowl home for free.
For a drink, I ordered an ice cream coffee with milkwhich came with my choice of three incredibly adorable marshmallows: Kirby riding a Warp Star, Waddle Dee dozing on a cloud, and for some reason Kirby’s – um – the buttocks. Naturally, I was tempted to order the butt, but my better half convinced me to order the Warp Star for the benefit of this very item. Unfortunately, she opted for a simple, no-frills iced coffee, but both of our drinks came with a choice of several paper coasters, which we were also allowed to take home for free as souvenirs. If you ever have the chance to visit one of these cafes during your stay in Japan, I recommend that you tell the waiter when you prefer to enjoy your drink, otherwise everything you order will be brought to your table as soon as it is served. will be ready.
what a bite
Of course, we had no choice but to order Kirby Mouth Cake from the summer special menu.
Before entering the cafe we were warned that the cake was limited to one per table and could take upwards of 45 minutes to prepare due to its popularity. So we were surprised when he arrived with our meal shortly after our drinks. Again, personally I would have preferred cake to be served after the meal with our drinks, but the service was otherwise friendly and attentive.
And while the meal was honestly no better than any school lunch I ate during my time as an English teacher in Japan, the cake was surprisingly decent. To be sure, it was the perfect dessert for the summer heat, served chilled without being too tart or too sweet. The bulk of the confection consisted of a strawberry blancmange layered over a thin slice of sponge cake that sported chocolate and cheese wheels, a pretzel stick bumper, and apple feet. Before digging in, I felt oddly compelled to apologize to the gameplay element so lovingly staged before us.
The cafe generously gave us an hour and a half to take pictures, enjoy our meals and buy souvenirs, but asked us to order anything we wanted to eat or drink in advance and not add to our order later. Diners beware: portions are much smaller than the photos or prices would suggest.
Exit through the gift shop
When you’re ready to go, you and your wallet will have to survive a perilous journey through the gift shop.
You could be forgiven for confusing this cafe area with Kirby Café The Store, but it’s actually a glorified impulse-shopping island. The real store is located at the other end of the building, down the hall and directly across from the Pokémon Center.
Don’t forget to check in at the kiosk with your Nintendo Account before paying your check to get a free Kirby Café sticker, and bring at least one month’s salary with you to Kirby Café The Store as it’s packed with exclusive merchandise, whether either a giant Kirby Chef plushie, a Kirby burger-inspired pouch, or a fridge magnet replica of the Kirby pizza you ordered. And while you’re here, you might as well buy a ticket and climb 450 meters up to Tokyo Skytree’s upper observation deck for a panoramic view of the old Godzilla grounds like we did.
“Delightful moments, precious memories” indeed.
We would like to thank Sakura Shibue, Jessica Lin, and Phoebe Ho for generously contributing additional photos to this article. If you are in Japan and want to visit this Kirby Café, you can make a reservation through the official Kirby Café Tokyo website.