Everyone knows I love Japan. When I am not physically in Japan, I live vicariously by reading online about places that I can visit for my future trips to Japan. (Yup, there will always be a future trip. Japan can’t get rid of me.)
One of the things that made me go, “Awwwww man!! Fly me to Japan NOW!” were themed pop-up cafes. ‘NOW’ because these pop-up cafes only open for a limited time. Hello Kitty pop-up cafe. Miffy pop-up cafe. My Melody pop-up cafe. Little Twin Stars pop-up cafe. They never fail to me make me go, “Why am I not in Japan now??”
If there is one thing I learned from growing up in Singapore, it is that if something is
profitable popular enough, it will come to Singapore. Doesn’t matter which part of the world it originated. It will eventually come to Singapore.
I could hardly contain my excitement when I found out that there was going to be a Pokemon themed pop-up cafe in Singapore!! For once, I can be the one at a pop-up cafe telling the rest of the world, “TOO BAD that you’re not here now!”
Checking out the pop-up Pokemon Cafe at Bugis Junction before it ends this month! @msmabes is crazy on.. Brought her Pokemon Toys her.. And people were asking if they could take photos of our food with the toys! This is why I love visiting themed cafes. Dining with like-minded people, even if they are strangers, is so much fun! And yeah, we don't get strange stares from people when we take photos of our food non-stop coz EVERYBODY is doing it! @pokemoncafeinsg #bumblebeemumeats #bbmlocaltourist #pokemoncafe #pokemoncafesg #pokemoncafeinsg #pokemon #pikachu #bugisjunction #parcosg #Singapore #singaporetrip #singaporetravel #singaporeinsiders #YourSingapore #travelblog #travelblogger #iamtb #mondayescapes #traveltuesday #wednesdaywanderlust #travelthursday #citytripping #myfavouritetrip #familytravelhq #wanderlust #instatravel #instapassport #traveltheworld #traveladdict
But unlike about 90% of Singaporeans, I hate crowds and I hate queuing. I kid you not when I say Singaporeans love to queue. Especially for food. Tim Ho Wan came to Singapore – queue for hours. Bake cheese tarts came to Singapore – queue for hours. Hello Kitty Cafe came to Singapore – queue for hours. So when Pokemon Cafe Singapore first opened on 27 May, patrons queued for 5 hours. Not exaggerating.
Me? I have SAHM privileges. I waited for the hype to die and went on a weekday. No need to queue.
But Mabel (Amazingly Still) preferred to be safe than sorry. Or maybe she was just a bigger Pokemon fan than I was. Especially since this was a pop-up cafe that was only open till 31 July. 5 million population divided by 66 days was still A LOT of people per day.
So Mabel went at like 10.20am on a weekday morning (the cafe opened at 11am) and was first in queue. The plan was that she would queue first, I would sashay in at 11am and Nat (so.natty.sg) would rush down during her lunch hour to join us.
Mabel was freaking proud that she was first in queue and was all ready for the cheap thrill of being the first to walk into the cafe. I was even ready to video her walking into the empty Pokemon Cafe and posting it on Snapchat or something. (Trying to act young.)
But at about 10.40am, I was stuck in the loo when the waitress approached Mabel to ask her “table for how many?” and she said 3. Pokemon Cafe Singapore had a minimum 1 order per person policy. And patrons had to place their order before getting a table. So Mabel quickly WhatsApped us what we wanted to eat so that she could place the order. I didn’t have the habit of checking my phone while I was in the loo. So she couldn’t place the order and the waitress went on to the next person.
When I came back from the loo, we quickly chose 3 items, which was not too difficult considering they only had 4 mains on the menu.
We wanted to order more than that actually. But the waitress said we could add on desserts later. We contemplated whether getting all our food at the same time or desserts later was more photo-worthy. And when all that was happening, the two ladies behind us went into the cafe because they had completed ordering their food while I was in the loo. *HORRORS* We were not the first to enter!! We missed our chance to be one of the 66 people in this world to brag that, “I was the first to step into Pokemon Cafe Singapore for the day!”
Once we got our table, Mabel whipped out her stash of Pokemon toys (told you she was a bigger fan than I was) while I whipped out my camera.
We took some photos of Pokemon toys visiting Pokemon Cafe Singapore for a #ToyTravel photo contest Mabel was participating in. (After this, I think I should participate too. MIGHT AS WELL.)
I need to brag about how resourceful we were. The Pokeballs kept rolling around. They didn’t quite stand because, well, they were round. So how did we keep them standing? *drum roll*.. By using our camera lens covers and lens hood! Resourceful right??
Then when the food arrived, we started doing our pseudo food blogger thing and took 101 photos of each dish with different permutations and combinations of the toys. Other patrons started noticing our toys and asked if they could take a photo of our food and toys. We were feeling quite pleased with ourselves!
The food photoshoot lasted like an hour. No kidding. So my review of the food is TOTALLY unreliable. Because
- The food had been left on the table for an hour
- We were Pokemon fans – that made us totally biased.
Nevertheless, if you bother, here are my two cents worth:
Pikachu Smiling Rice Omelette with Magma Sauce ($25++)
The price of this dish may seem very steep, but I felt it was off-set by the fact that you will receive a Pokemon Cafe souvenir cup that you could bring home.
I loved the presentation because once too often, I visit themed cafes that don’t really incorporate the theme into the food itself. Rather they just serve normal food in themed plates. But here, they actually shaped the rice into Pikachu. And most impressively, you see the mouth? It looked like it was cut out from our old-school biscuit wafer. If you are about my age and grew up in Singapore, you should know what I’m talking about. I thought the use of a uniquely-Singapore ingredient deserved mention!
The magma sauce (not in photo) had an acquired taste. I kinda liked it but Mabel didn’t.
Battle On Pikachu! Level up with Rare Candy! ($20++)
This was, imo, the prettiest main dish in the menu. Again, the theme was incorporated into the food itself. And Pikachu’s ears looked like they were made of the old-school biscuit wafer.
Within the salad, you would find a Pokeball. It was made of half cherry tomato and half quail egg – Which I thought was super creative!
Inside the Pikachu, you would find mashed potato and beef. Since our food had been left on the table for an hour, I can’t tell you how it should have tasted because the mashed potato and beef had dried up by the time we were eating it.
Pokemon Cafe’s Truffle Fries ($12++)
This dish was the most FAIL when it came to presentation. When I visit themed cafes, I care more about the presentation than the taste. The printing of the Pokemon characters on the potato chips was so bad! I was pretty disappointed.
At least there was creative use of tomato ketchup and mayonnaise to form a Pokeball.
Iced Pikachu Latte ($9++)
A very ordinary glass of iced latte taste-wise, but I loved the kawaii latte art. Which was what I was there for. Again, loving the biscuit wafer ears.
Pokemon Cafe’s Mix Au Lait ($8++)
This is what I meant by serving food (or in this case drink) in a themed cup rather than incorporating the theme into the food (or drink) itself. If I had a choice, I would always go for the latter – which was why I ordered the latte. Mabel chose this – definitely more thirst quenching than the latte.
End of the serious food review. Back to my grandmother’s story.
While Mabel and I were tucking in to the mains and drinks, Nat was still in the office rushing her work and on the verge of telling us she was going to take a rain check on our lunch date. But no. You CANNOT take a rain check on a Pokemon Cafe Singapore lunch date because
- It is a temporary cafe
- It’s the kind of thing we would only visit once regardless of how good or bad it is
- We already ordered 3 dishes and we needed her to come and split the bill.
So Nat made a mad rush down to join us. We ordered desserts while waiting for her and they arrived just as she was reaching.
Nat, who was not a Pokemon fan, was like WAH WAH WAH.. Pointed to the cookie that came with her coffee and asked, “What’s that? Lightning?” Mabel and I were like, “NOoooOOOoooo.. That’s Pikachu’s tail!” And we asked her to look closely at all the pictures of Pikachu around the cafe, particularly the tail and she was like, “Oh…..”
So we took photos of the food, took photos with the food, posted about it on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. And Nat suddenly looked up from her phone and asked, “How do you spell Pikachu?” #LaughDieMe
OKAY OKAY, I know it is perfectly excusable for Nat to not know how to spell Pikachu and we shouldn’t laugh at Nat for that. But Mabel and I are just mean to Nat like that. So we laughed.
The coffee, pancake and cream puff were served and we took 101 photos of each of them with Mabel’s toys.
The parfait was last to be served. We were all like, “Ooo… So Cute…” and Nat went, “Oh my gosh, is that COTTON WOOL?” Really, oh my gosh. That was the best joke of the day.
The waitress put the parfait on the table and warned us to be careful as “the things would fall off”. Reminded me of the ball of ice-cream on our bingsoo at Seorae. We heeded her warning and went, “Okay, noted!”
But mothers have BAD memory. At least I do. Nat and Mabel managed to take some photos of the parfait successfully but when it was my turn, I had forgotten all about the waitress’s warning. I tried to adjust the parfait, accidentally bumped Pikachu’s tail and it broke!! Noooooo…..
However, remember we are resourceful mummies? Mabel came up with the brilliant idea to transfer the tail from the coffee to the parfait. And proceeded to pick up the cookie from the coffee.
Okay, we gave up.
When we were done taking photos, or at least we thought, we remembered that we haven’t wrote anything on our crepe yet! The cream puff dessert was served with a crepe and a tube of chocolate for us to customise it.
We had a debate of who had the worst handwriting and Mabel won. So she did the honours. She picked up the chocolate tube, squeezed, but no chocolate came out.
We squeezed, we poked the tube with a satay stick (which was used to hold up the ‘Pokemon Cafe’ banner on the parfait – told you we were resourceful) and squeezed some more. Nope, no chocolate.
So we called the waiter and told him that the chocolate was not coming out. He went, “Oh, let me heat it up for you.” That’s when we realised that we spent so much time taking photos that the tube of chocolate had hardened!!
When the chocolate was returned to us all warm and liquefied, we debated about what to write and decided to just put the date.
Mabel, the Pokemon fan, even drew a Pokeball logo! And look how fast the chocolate hardened. No wonder we couldn’t get it out of the tube the first time round.
Finally, it was time to eat! We turned to the parfait and realised the candy floss had collapsed and buried Pikachu!!
Nat proceeded to save Pikachu from the candy floss avalanche!
And we could finally eat! I got to say, the desserts were generally too sweet for my liking. The pancakes were dry – though I wasn’t sure whether they were dry to begin with or became dry because it was left on the table for not-sure-how-long while we took photos of it. Possibly the latter. The cream puff was too sweet for my taste.
And the parfait… Well… RIP.
Like I said, Pokemon Cafe Singapore is a cafe that I would visit once in my lifetime regardless of how good or bad it is. So I end this post by saying without biasness and complete honesty that I am not coming back. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself. It’s just the kind of place I would only visit once in my lifetime.
As for you… If you are still sitting there wondering whether you should pay $25++ for Pikachu-shaped rice, it’s really a matter of how much you (or your kids) like Pokemon or themed cafes in general. If you love Pokemon as much as Mabel or themed cafes as much as me, you would definitely want to come here before it’s gone and you probably wouldn’t care much about the price or taste of the food.
Information on Pokemon Cafe Singapore:
Address: Bugis Junction #04-05, 200 Victoria Street, Singapore 188021
Getting There: Bugis MRT (DT14 / EW12)
Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm Daily from 27 May to 31 July 2016
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