If you happen to’re a long-time Nintendo Life reader, or a religious Kirby fan, you then would possibly keep in mind that time Nintendo opened a small chain of Kirby-themed pop-up eating places throughout Japan – christened Kirby Café, appropriately sufficient – in 2016.
Starting with its first momentary location in Osaka, that was rapidly adopted by two extra in Tokyo and Nagoya. Whereas all three areas solely operated for a few months every, Kirby Café Tokyo popped up as soon as once more in 2018 and proved so in style with followers of the “highly effective, pink puff” that it was finally reopened as a everlasting institution in 2019. Regardless of serving patrons for occurring 4 years now (solely two of which have been through the fabled Earlier than Occasions), Kirby Café Tokyo stays one of the unique themed eating places in all Japan – maybe solely rivaled by Kirby Café Hakata.
And it’s little marvel, too. Not solely is it positioned within the Tokyo Solamachi buying advanced on the base of Tokyo Skytree, the metropolis’ most treacherous vacationer entice, however the menu is simply so gosh darn cute.
The truth is, it wasn’t lengthy after I learn our current protection of the Kirby Café particular summer season menu that I started attempting to order a desk for 2 — Tokyo deal with has its privileges, in spite of everything — however it seems that tables are solely out there via on-line reservation. On-line reservations for the next month, in the meantime, can solely be made starting at 6:00 pm on the tenth of each month, and are about as stress-free to safe as a Nintendo Traditional Mini preorder.
When eighteen-hundred hours precisely ultimately arrived on tenth July, I obtained comparatively fortunate and managed to order two seats for 1:55 pm on seventh August after refreshing the net reservations web page dozens of occasions over the course of a half hour or so. Coincidentally, two of my coworkers additionally had hopes of devouring a car-mouth Kirby cake collectively this summer season, however it reportedly took them properly over an hour to do the identical.
After almost a month of getting hype, my associate and I lastly arrived at Tokyo Skytree Station on an uncomfortably humid and overcast Sunday afternoon. Evidently, Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest tower and the third tallest construction on the planet, and it was constructed partially to revitalize Sumida. As such, it’s surrounded by quite a few lesser sights, from a whole lot of retail shops and eating places to a planetarium and an aquarium, so it took us some wandering round Tokyo Skytree City earlier than we discovered the East Yard on the 4th ground of Tokyo Solomachi the place Kirby Café Tokyo is positioned.
With the solar beating down on us via a break within the clouds, we waded via a big crowd gathered round a avenue magician, often stopping to snap images of the 634-meter-tall broadcasting tower looming immediately over us earlier than bumping into an illuminated statute of Kirby and Waddle Dee beckoning us to cease by the Kirby Café.
Coming into the magic Kirb-dom
Like many eating places in Japan, stools have been lined up outdoors for ready clients. Not like most eating places in Japan, nonetheless, an enthusiastic server quickly herded these of us ready outdoors right into a small group, verified our on-line reservations, and proceeded to orient us to the café, explaining the foundations for ordering, COVID-19 protocols, and customarily managing our expectations for the provision of the car-mouth Kirby cake.
As soon as that spiel was out of the way in which, she started letting events into the café separately, providing us the choice of taking images on the entrance in entrance of a comically outsized Kirby Café plate whereas holding a comically over-sized Kirby Café fork and spoon. Really feel welcome to put up your finest guesses within the feedback under, however I’m not going to spoil what the server mentioned in lieu of “Cheese!” because it was a genuinely pleasant shock.
Due to the Neverending Pandemic, the café appeared to solely be working at half capability with one of the best social distancing precautions I’ve seen any restaurant absorb Japan. Apart from an entrance straight out of a theme park, the remainder of the café was tastefully low-key, save for an enormous Whispy Woods rising from a spherical desk smack-dab in the course of the eating space. If you happen to look exhausting sufficient, nonetheless, you’ll find the occasional figurine right here and there, resembling a tiny Kirby inhaling tiny apples and a tiny Waddle Dee waving from an ornamental wreathe.
The coolness vibes have been accented by vaguely acquainted Kirby tunes, specifically organized and recorded for Kirby Café by the musicians at HAL Laboratory to guarantee most leisure. The truth is, you would possibly need to choose up each volumes of the Sound of Kirby Café ought to you’ve got the prospect, since they’re completely bought on CD at Kirby Café and Kirby Café The Retailer (no worldwide transport for on-line orders, predictably).
Stars, ‘Dees, and Kirbuttocks
We occurred to be proven to 2 seats immediately behind Whispy Woods, and whereas I imagined the seats immediately in entrance of the long-lasting first-level boss would have offered higher images of his summer season finest, almost each desk within the café boasted one thing distinctive and particular to level at and exclaim, “Kawaii!”
I imagined the omurice can be one of the best dish on the menu at a café like this, however since I had bother deciding on only one factor, I ended up ordering the Waddle Dee avocado soy burger with spaghetti and meat sauce because it got here with a little bit little bit of every little thing. My associate, then again, seized a uncommon alternative to get pleasure from a seafood dish in my presence and ordered the lomi-lomi salmon and avocado over rice, served inside a Waddle Dee. Whereas I had the choice of paying an additional payment to take my plate dwelling with me as a memento, my associate obtained to take her lidded plastic bowl dwelling free of charge.
For a drink, I ordered an iced cafe au lait, which got here with my selection between three impossibly cute marshmallows: Kirby driving a Warp Star, Waddle Dee snoozing on a cloud, and for some cause, Kirby’s – ahem – buttocks. Naturally, I used to be tempted to order the buttocks, however my higher half satisfied me to order the Warp Star for the good thing about this very article. Sadly, she opted for a easy, no-frills iced espresso, however each of our drinks got here with a selection between a number of paper coasters, which we have been additionally allowed to take dwelling free of charge as souvenirs. Must you ever have the prospect to go to any of those cafés whereas in Japan, I’d suggest telling the server if you would like to get pleasure from your drink, in any other case no matter you order shall be dropped at your desk as quickly because it’s prepared.
What a Mouthful
In fact, we had no selection however to order the mouth-car Kirby cake from the particular summer season menu.
Earlier than getting into the café, we have been warned that the cake was restricted to at least one per desk and will take upwards of 45 minutes to arrange resulting from its reputation. So, we have been shocked when it arrived along with our meal shortly after our drinks. Once more, I personally would have most popular the cake to have been served after the meal together with our drinks, however the service was in any other case pleasant and attentive.
And though the meal was actually no higher than any faculty lunch I ate throughout my stint as an English trainer in Japan, the cake was astonishingly respectable. To make sure, it was the proper dessert for the summer season warmth, served good and chilled whereas neither being too tart nor candy. The majority of the confection was made out of a strawberry-flavored blancmange set atop a skinny slice of sponge cake that sported chocolate and cheese wheels, a pretzel stick bumper, and apple toes. Earlier than digging in, I felt unusually compelled to apologize to the sport merchandise so lovingly dropped at life earlier than us.
The café generously provided us an hour and a half to take footage, get pleasure from our meals, and store for souvenirs however requested that we order every little thing we needed to eat or drink up entrance and never add on to our order later. Let the diner beware: the parts are far smaller than the photographs or costs would in any other case lead you to consider.
Exit via the present store
If you’re good and able to go away, each you and your pockets must survive a deadly journey via the memento store.
You possibly can be forgiven for mistaking this space of the café for Kirby Café The Retailer, however it’s really a glorified impulse buying isle. The actual retailer is positioned on the opposite finish of the constructing, down the corridor and immediately throughout from the Pokémon Heart.
Don’t overlook to verify in on the kiosk together with your Nintendo Account earlier than paying your verify to seize a free Kirby Café sticker, and produce no less than a month’s pay with you to Kirby Café The Retailer because it’s brimming with unique merch, be it an enormous Chef Kirby plushie, a pouch long-established after a Kirby burger, or a duplicate fridge magnet of the very Kirby pizza you ordered. And when you’re right here, you could as properly purchase a ticket and ascend 450 meters to the higher statement deck of Tokyo Skytree for a panoramic view of Godzilla’s outdated stomping grounds like we did.
“Scrumptious occasions, valuable reminiscences” certainly.
We’d prefer to thank Sakura Shibue, Jessica Lin, and Phoebe Ho for generously contributing extra images to this text. If you happen to’re in Japan and need to go to this Kirby Café, you may make a reservation through the official Kirby Café Tokyo web site.