Hello Kitty Saryo's 2015/02/12
Hello Kitty fans rejoice! The iconic mascot now has a new teahouse in Kyoto!
Known as ‘Harou Kiti Saryo’ in Japanese, the Hello Kitty themed Japanese teahouse – though it is advertised as a café – is the latest addition to Kyoto’s innumerable attractions since 13th November 2014. Blending in with a small alley full of little traditional Japanese shops, the exterior of the café looked just like a typical Japanese teahouse. But after going through the front gate and alleyway, a giant Hello Kitty figure greeted us at the café’s main entrance, sitting in ‘seiza’ (the traditional formal way of sitting in Japan that involves kneeling while resting the buttocks on the heels), bowing and welcoming guests in red kimono and cuteness.
Once inside, the wait staff swiftly led us out of the waiting room and into the dining area. A short hallway connects the waiting room and dining area, and the café’s original dinnerware and products were on display along the wall.
In the dining area, the tables were arranged neatly in two rows; one row by the wall and the other by the patio windows. Huge adorable Hello Kitty stuffed dolls were also placed around the café next to some tables, constantly basking guests in Hello Kitty cuteness, together with the Hello Kitty wallpapers and furniture.
The café offers a decent selection of traditional Japanese cuisine, known as ‘washoku’ – which has also been recently listed as one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage – alongside a variety of tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremony, most notably matcha green tea, a foamy version of normal green tea that is served together with a Japanese sweet to balance the bitterness of the tea.
I ordered a tea ceremony set, which was matcha green tea accompanied by yuzu-flavoured Japanese pastry.
Not only does it taste good, it also looks oh-so-irresistibly cute!
What my companions ordered:
Hello Kitty’s Tamatebako (Pandora Box)
A line-up of 3 different Japanese confection, namely (from the right) warabi-mochi (a chewy rice-cake-like pastry covered in soy powder), manju (a sweet with fillings of red bean paste), and a sweet senbei (rice cracker) served with a Hello Kitty-shaped marshmallow. There are also 3 different sweet condiments by the side (soy powder, matcha powder and brown sugar sauce)
Hello Kitty’s Gracious Matcha Latte
The café’s signature drink consists of matcha green tea sweetened with frothy latte, and of course, topped by a floating Hello Kitty marshmallow, which will melt your heart as the kitty herself melts away in the hot drink
Hello Kitty’s Stylish Wheat Parfait
This grand assortment is packed with mochi, wheat gluten bread, beans, vanilla ice cream, and of course, a Hello Kitty marshmallow.
There were many more items on the menu that we did not manage to savor, but overall it was pleasant and a delightful experience for Hello Kitty fans like me. Even for non-Kitty fans, the café is a quaint little place that can be a good for unwinding after hours of morning sightseeing, as it is located slightly away from the hustle and bustle of central Kyoto. So don’t be shy and just go when your girlfriend/sister/female friend wants you to accompany her to Kitty café!