MORE THAN four decades since the public first met her, Hello Kitty – the anthropomorphic Japanese bobtail cat created by Yuko Shimizu – remains one of Sanrio’s most prominent characters, despite being currently upstaged in pop culture by Gudetama, the sassy and lazy fried egg.

During the height of her prominence, the “five apples tall” cat could be found everywhere from airplanes to jewelry and even theme parks (remember when Mariah Carey adopted Hello Kitty as a fashion statement in the mid to late ’90s?), and while the craze has worn off, it left behind legions of passionate fans who love anything Hello Kitty: local makeup company, Happy Skin, recently unveiled its Sanrio (which of course includes the cat) holiday collection.

In the 2000s, Hello Kitty-themed cafés started opening their colorful doors from Taiwan to the US, and while it took some time before the café idea reached Philippine shores, it did come. Finally.

The Hello Kitty Café opened its doors in August at the third floor of the Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City, and because it’s right beside the escalators and because it is decked out in the soft pink and golds the character is known for, it’s really unmissable.

And because this writer grew up with Hello Kitty and still has a good amount of its merchandise, it was foolish to pass up the chance to sit down and take a few pictures inside the themed café.

It was a little bit after three in the afternoon and the place – with its pink, yellow and powder blue palette – was almost empty save for a young family sitting near the door. Much of the furniture has Hello Kitty’s signature ribbon on it and the walls are decked out with gold Hello Kitty decals.

CRINKLES BRISKIES: a delicious dessert once it is carefully released from its cage — ZSARLENE B. CHUA

Sitting down in one of the corner booths shaped like a bird cage, I really didn’t know what to expect from the menu, but what I did know is that everything would have some part of the character on it.

The menu is mostly French so this writer decided to try out the Quiche Florentine (P235), a spinach-filled quiche that, while not densely packed, was flavorful as both the spinach and the egg were perfectly cooked and they weren’t shy about the butter in the crust as well. It was served with a side salad of microgreens, lettuce, walnuts, grapes, and orange slices, and had an orange dressing which wasn’t overly sweet and paired very well with the cute quiche with the Hello Kitty ribbon on top.

Of course I had to try out their pastries and desserts. The waiter recommended the Crinkles Briskies – two chocolate crinkles filled with chocolate cream and Maltesers topped with a slice of strawberry – served inside a birdcage.

The presentation was cute but was a bit troublesome because the dessert had little wiggle room in the cage so much of the dessert was in danger of falling out on the sides – and if I’m paying P195 for this, I won’t leave a crumb behind.

The good thing was that it’s delicious: the crinkles weren’t dry (it was almost fudge-like) and the Maltesers (a personal favorite) provided the crunch and texture.

I also ordered a Pistachio Profiterole (P80), and an Oreo Mint Capuccino Frappe (P210) just to round everything off. The Frappe was a bit bland and lacked probably two or three more Oreo cookies to really produce the chocolatey flavor, though they didn’t skimp on the mint syrup so you have that refreshing aftertaste. The Pistachio Profiterole was a bit of disappointment – it was also bland and almost bereft of sweetness though they did put a decent amount of crushed pistachios, but it really did not leave much of an impression.

Other menu items – which I sadly did not have the chance to sample as I was rushing off to another event – were entrees like Beef Bourguignon alongside soups like the Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup with Truffles, salads, pastas, and sandwiches.

The Hello Kitty Cafe is a restaurant where you come for the ambiance and stay for a decent meal. So it is really worth at least one visit. – Zsarlene B. Chua