Pikachu Plates, Eevee Burgers, solving the mystery of what’s inside Mimikyu’s costume, and a very, very special guest.
This week, a new Pokémon Center megastore opened in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district, just a short walk out the east exit of Tokyo Station. But while it’s great to have another place to pick up adorable Pokémon merchandise (some of which is exclusive to the Nihonbashi branch and can’t be purchased anywhere else in the world), the real news is that right next to the shop is the world’s first permanent Pokémon Cafe. This development left me with absolutely no desire to cook for myself, so I dashed out the door to Nihonbashi to try the cafe for myself.
Located on the fifth floor of department store Takashimaya’s Nihonbashi branch’s east annex, a dedicated bank of elevators carry visitors up to the restaurant and store. You’ll definitely know you’re in the right place when you spot the gigantic wall murals located on the ground floor.
And if you somehow managed to not notice the murals, when the elevator doors slide open on the fifth floor…
…you’re immediately greeted by a snoozing Snorlax, with Pikachu and Mew perched on his shoulders.
▼ Knowing that fans will want to take a commemorative picture here, there’s a sign displaying the date and time.
From the lobby area (which has some cool surprises of its own), the Pokémon Center DX store is off to the right, and the Pokémon Cafe to the left.
First things first: while the Pokémon Café may exist as a tie-in to a video game/anime series, it’s also a restaurant in a fashionable part of downtown Tokyo, and so its interior is modern and stylish…and also filled with awesome Pokémon motifs, of course. Aside from tables for groups of two or four, there’s a long table in the center of the restaurant primarily where single diners are sat, where fan favorites Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, and Eevee will keep you company.
The Poké Ball logo is also all over the place, most dynamically in the ceiling.
▼ If you’re a true fan, you’re already wondering how much it would cost to redo your living room lighting like this.
But enough gawking at the scenery. Let’s order some food!
Ordering is done through a tablet each table is equipped with. In acknowledgment of Pokémon being loved far beyond Japan’s borders, tapping a button at the bottom left allows you to change the menu’s text to English, Korean, Chinese, or even Vietnamese, and even if you don’t speak one of those languages, photos accompany each entree, dessert, and drink option.
First up: the Pikachu Plate (called the “Pikachu Lunch” on the English menu, but actually available all day long).
Variety is the name of the game with the Pikachu Plate, which gives you a Pikachu rice omelet, salad, fried shrimp, hamburger steak, spaghetti, and a couple of tater tots. It’s actually two Pikachus in one, since it’s served on a Pikachu-shaped plate (which you can take home with you if you’re willing to shell out an extra 1,100 yen over the meal’s 1,580-yen [US$14.75] base price).
Just like when we made our own Pikachu Burger at home, the ears are tortilla chips, here dusted with cocoa powder for color. Carrot shavings serve as his rosy cheeks and thin shrimp crackers with seaweed are his eyes, nose, and mouth. The tail, meanwhile, is an adorable zigzagging slice of golden bell pepper.
▼ Yep, “adorable bell pepper.” A phrase I never thought I’d use, but here we are.
The Pikachu Plate is sort of a take on the “oko-sama lunch,” or “kids’ lunch,” that a lot of Japanese restaurants serve (and that a lot of Japanese adults still find themselves craving). As such, the seasoning is straightforward and tasty, with a broadly pleasing simplicity that makes it great for sharing bites with your dining companions. It’s worth noting, though, that few things in life are more heart-breaking than having to tear through Pikachu’s head with your fork or spoon to get to the rice inside, so you might want to remove his facial features first.
▼ Now he just looks like Pac-Man.
Moving on, now it’s time to eat Eeevee, technically the Eevee Chicken Burger.
Like the Pikachu Plate, the Eevee Burger (identically priced at 1,580 yen) comes with a couple of sides, in this case French fries and a cup of vegetable soup, both of which are predictably tasty. The chicken is slathered with teriyaki sauce, but after the trauma of digging into Pikachu with a spoon, I wasn’t sure if I had the cold-hearted determination to bite into Eevee.
Luckily, in Japan you’re supposed to wrap burgers in a paper sheath when you eat them, in order to keep your hands clean. So after removing Eevee’s tortilla chip ears, into the face-concealing wrapper she went.
Aside from the nicely-balanced teriyaki sauce, you’ve got some sweet onion and a thick tomato slice nestled inside the bun, which is extremely fluffy and delicious.
Now ready for dessert, I found myself unable to resist answering a question that Pokémon fans have been wondering about for years: What’s under Mimikyu’s ghost-like costume?
To find out, I closed out my mal with the 1,480-yen Mimikyu Crepe. The ghostly Pokémon is actually a conglomerate of three crepes, two of which contain banana chocolate cream.
As for the circular crepe’s filling? It’s a mixture of fruit, whipped cream…
…and a pancake!
▼ A fittingly unexpected filing for the mysterious Mimikyu.
Once again, you get a lot of different flavors here, especially when you factor in the chocolate cookie tail and the crushed candied raspberry bits that form Mimikyu’s cheeks.
Just as I was finishing up dessert, one of the employees called out that she had an announcement to make: the restaurant had a special guest today.
Could it be…?
Yes, Pikachu himself stepped out from the kitchen to say thanks to everyone for coming to eat at the cafe!
Instantly the most popular guy in the room, Pikachu made the rounds, posing for pictures and shaking hands with customers.
Eventually, though, Pikachu had to go back to work. Diners do get to take some Pocket Monsters home with them, as each seat’s place mat bears the likeness of one of more than 100 featured Pokémon species, which is yours to keep.
Before leaving, there was time for one more stroll around the restaurant to look at decorations.
Near the exit, in addition to some merchandise like special Pokémon Cafe Pikachu Plushies, there’s also a “souvenir menu” of take-home sweets, including Pikachu Cookies for 600 yen each…
…and a box of four ridiculously cute Pokémon Donuts for 2,400 yen.
Reservations are required to dine at the Pokémon Cafe, and can be made online here. As for all the wonders of the new Pokémon Center and the shared lobby, we’ll be back with those soon, after you’ve had time to digest this report on the cafe.
Pokémon Cafe / ポケモンカフェ
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi 2-11-2, Nihonbashi Takashimaya S.C. East Building 5th floor
東京都中央区日本橋二丁目11番2号 日本橋髙島屋Ｓ.Ｃ.東館 ５階
Open 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.