I felt so honoured to be invited by Mr. Andrew Khoo, COO of Swensen to witness the world’s first 24-hour Hello Kitty themed café. Hello Kitty happens to be my childhood favourite and this is just too timely when I happened to know that Hello Kitty Orchid Garden is owned and operated by Europa Specialty Restaurants (S) Pte Ltd, a licensed partner of Sanrio Co., Ltd., and a subsidiary fully owned by ABR Holdings Ltd which also owns Swensen.
I was filled with hope and anticipation as I know the Andrew is a veteran in F&B business and I would be in for a pleasant surprise for sure.
Opening its doors at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on 12 May 2016, Hello Kitty Orchid Garden is not only Singapore’s first themed café starring the iconic feline, but also the world’s first 24-hour Hello Kitty café offering locals and tourists round-the-clock respite with a bevy of delectable food and beverages served in a whimsical floral paradise setting.
It is modelled after Singapore’s modern landscape juxtaposed with lush green scenery – it is a relaxing oasis where, no matter the time of day – or night, weary travellers can fuel up and feel rejuvenated. And for foodies, the pretty plates, comfortable ambience and measured flavours will surely make the trek to the eastern end of the island a rewarding one.
I felt in love the moment I set my eyes on the overall whimsical floral setting.
Look at the lampshades!
As every Hello Kitty café features a different theme, Hello Kitty Orchid Garden is specially designed to emulate the country’s ‘garden city’ vibe, fusing inspiration from the national flower – the orchid – with the beloved character’s signature kawaii flair for a uniquely Singaporean aesthetic.
Sporting splashes of purple, green and white with wood accents, the spacious interior dotted with wrought iron swing seats exudes an organic, idyllic vibe; servers simply clad in plaid shirts and aprons add to the fun and easy mood.
You can anticipate a range of custom Hello Kitty-inspired tea blends, plush toys fashioned to resemble the Hello Kitty Singapore mascot, grow-it yourself plant kits, and postcards. Fans will surely be tempted to take home a memento from the retail corner, where Singapore-exclusive merchandise will be launched seasonally.
I naturally grabbed the limited edition Hello Kitty plush for a photo. Its limited to 500 pieces, retailing at $49.90 and limited to 2 pieces per person. I anticipate the queue would be long and it would be gone in no time.
“Hello Kitty Orchid Garden retains a degree of Hello Kitty’s girly appeal, but it also conveys a more sophisticated, elegant feel. Besides making the café look outstanding, the quality of our food is of paramount importance as well. Novelty will attract customers the first time round, but a consistent and elevated dining experience is the key to longevity,” says Andrew Khoo, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Business Development & Operations of the Food & Beverage Division at ABR Holdings Ltd.
You can look forward to posing with 3D life-sized figurines of Hello Kitty in specially designated photo spots too!
Get hydrated and energised with any of the five Kitty Coolers ($7.90 each), which include Kitty Blush; a rosy concoction of watermelon juice, basil and soda water, and Cumbernade; a fizzy mocktail of cucumber syrup, lemonade and soda water.
We all like to start the day right with breakfast. Thanks to the 24 hours operation hours, the breakfast is available all day. This Big Breakfast Surprise ($18.50) comprising creamy scrambled eggs, smoked duck slices, sautéed shiitake mushrooms and crispy Kitty waffles embedded with melted cheddar. Yummy!
I am a beef lover so this would definitely be something that I would crave for!
The Cowabunga! Wagyu! ($24) offers diners a more substantial one-dish meal, as Hello Kitty’s own rendition of the Singaporean favourite, beef rendang. Here, generous cuts of wagyu are slow-cooked until fork-tender and imbued with the rich flavour of a special pineapple rempah (Nyonya spice mix), then served alongside pearly Japanese rice packed in the likeness of Hello Kitty, and Mesclun salad drizzled with ponzu sauce.
You will surely find it hard to leave without sampling Hello Kitty Orchid Garden’s beguiling plated desserts – a nod to local heritage and well-loved traditional sweet treats. The Cat In Paradise ($18.50) is a spin on the Chinese-style mango pudding – entailing fluffy mango mousse paired with almond crumble, berry compote and marshmallow sauce, and hazelnut gelato.
Masquerading as a potted bloom, Rose, Rose I Love You ($17.50) is a moist, buttery orange sugee cake topped with crunchy chocolate “soil” and sculpted petals of velvety strawberry buttercream, with decadent peanut buttercup gelato on the side.
Also don’t miss an exhilarating Camping under the Stars ($19.50) escapade with Hello Kitty in a picturesque field of green tea powder, set up with a ‘bonfire’ of toasted muesli and a ‘tent’ engineered out of graham crackers and plump scoops of hazelnut and chocolate gelato.
I was very fortunate to be granted a one to one interview with Mr Andrew Khoo, COO of Swensens. He shared on the how different the Singapore Hello Kitty Cafe is from the rest of the world.
The interview could be found on this link:
Photo with Andrew to end off this sweet feline experience! Thank you once again for your kind invitation and thank you Sixth Sense PR for making this possible too!
Hello Kitty Cafe
Address: Arrival Hall Central #01-22, Terminal 3, Singapore Changi Airport
Operating hours 24 hours, daily
Seating capacity 84 pax