Found on the 8th floor of the Takashima Building in Nihombashi neighbouring to the boujie Ginza district is every Pokémon fanatics hangout, the Pokémon café. As you walk down the hallway ‘surrounded’ by the colourful welcoming Pokémon characters you know so well. You’ll pass through a set of automatic doors into a stark white room. Inside you’ll always be greeted by a Snorlax and Mew statue and probably up to 80 people battling away on Pokémon go. Striving for that legendary.
You’ll have to book in advance on the website as no bookings are taken at the door. But this is Japan and everything works like clockwork. You’ll wait until exactly your booking time in a long queue but don’t worry as you’ll all be seated at the same time in a particular section. Not allowing for any overcrowding, double bookings or straggles. Japan’s awe inspiring meticulous. We were lucky enough to be sat in the Pikachu area lined by floor to ceiling glass windows.
But before you sit down the ‘door staff’ will hand you your table number. Leisurely stroll towards your table don’t worry there’s no rush you have about 2 hours. You can view the Pokemon themed goods along the way with the star characters or Pikachu dressed as a chef and baker. The spoons are to die for, also Pokémon themed pasta is nothing to bat an eyelid at.
Once sat down you can start to discover your table. Before you is a plain paper table mat but turn it over to discover which Pokémon has been selected for you. I wasn’t too fond of Slowking so luckily Yuki swapped his Dratini with me. Much better. Next you can move onto the menu. It’s all done by tablet. Forget messy, old paper or plastic menus. These sleek designs allow you to view pictures and descriptions of the dishes and drinks, before simply selecting by clicking and then confirming your order.
I went for a Umberon themed chicken burger, Yuki, an Evee themed rice plate and we decided to split a Gengar slushie. We didn’t have to wait long before the waiters served us the food on Evee face shaped plates *For a little extra yen there is an option to take the plate away with you* Very tempting. The Umbreon burger was delicious! The black bun didn’t have a distinct flavour but the soft fresh bun texture complimented the crispy chicken with a tangy sauce. BEWARE: the black powder on the crispy ears is not chocolate it’s far more bitter and will stain your face! Have a napkin ready.
Moving on to the Eeve rice plate it was arranged cutely with a star potato croquette and a heart cheese croquette. But of course, how could anything with Eeve’s face on not be cute. That is until you cut it open with your fork. Strangely enough you are only given forks and spoons. So, after mashing up Evee’s face I was pleasantly rewarded with sweet sticky rice with a lashing of pork. The cheese croquette was also perfectly creamy and moreish. But alas I had to hand Yuki his dinner back.
Least we not forget the Gengar slushie! Presented in a Gengar shaped glass chalice with a red light suspended in the middle to give Gengar his eerie effect. The grape flavour that is unique to Japan mixed with fizz is delicious. If you can resist, I advise to give it a little time to melt or you’ll look as foolish as me failing to bring the slush up the straw.
When your food arrives the waiter unnoticeable leaves a ticket at your table. I think it’s for each dish or drink you order. After your meal the waitress will ask for those tickets that you didn’t even know you had and will exchange them for a chance to play in a lottery. You choose one out of 8 mystery cards displayed on her tablet. Which in turn reveal a random Pokémon character and viola you have won a free Pokémon coaster. I can’t quite remember but at some point, you also win a random sticker. So, if unlike me you haven’t got food all over your place mat. And put it in a plastic covering like the lady next to me you can leave with a nice haul of free Pokémon goodies if you can withstand not buying any of the merchandise.
Finally, the entertainment for the evening! A chef Pikachu enters the café to dance, high five and hug everyone in the building. Everyone adults and children alike join in with the excitement over a 7-foot tall Pikachu. Once you are stuffed and filled with nostalgia you may pay up and exit the slice of Pokémon reality. But if that’s not enough for you and you’re craving more. Don’t panic your dreams and fantasies can be answered next door in the Pokémon centre.
Have a good one and you ‘gotta catch em all’