Yes, I was one of the crazy ones who braved the crowds to visit Pom Pom Purin Cafe in Harajuku, Tokyo.
Pom Pom Purin, the yellow golden retriever dog character introduced by Sanrio in 1996 while might not be as famous as its counterparts like Hello Kitty and Melody overseas, Pom Pom Purin still has a pretty strong following back home in Japan.
Many of you might be wondering how was this cafe and the food?
I heard of the snaking queues for the cafe but what awaited me was quite beyond my imagination.
First attempt, at 530pm on a Sunday night (the cafe closes at 9pm) – upon reaching I was asked if I was a coupon holder (I was not), then was promptly informed that all advanced coupons are been given out so the cafe is technically not open to any walk-ins, only those who had came earlier to get the coupons. Upon enquiry, they informed that the cafe starts giving out coupons at around 930am (cafe only opens at 11am) while it lasts.
So the first attempt was a failure. I totally underestimated the popularity of the Pom Pom Purin Cafe.
Towards the tail end of my vacation, I finally had a more relaxed day and decided to pop by in the morning to get my hands on the advance ticket coupon. I received ticket queue #323 at 1030am and was asked to return only after 1pm.
I eventually did return to the Pom Pom Purin Cafe at 240pm,but had to wait in the queue for one hour before getting a seat!
The cute entrance and exterior of the Pompompurin Cafe.
Upon entering, you will be greeted by a cute Pompompurin character and its friends at the centre of the store. The whole cafe is dressed up in the theme color of Pompompurin – yellow, brown and white.
Super cute menu awaits at this cafe, from Pompompurin curry rice, to pasta sets and cute desserts including pancakes, parfait and of course pudding. All the food menu will feature Pompompurin character either in the food ingredients or in the cutlery, e.g. the limited edition Pompompurin mug – which you can bring home after the meal too!
Even the wall decorations were so cute!
The table set up is simple but still in line with the theme, a cute Pompompurin table mat and even the tissues were in Pompompurin design. I took a set home :D
After your food, some retail therapy? A small corner that sells Pompompurin goods, including some limited edition items only available at the cafe.
It was really fun to order them and they were pretty cute. But taste wise, they are not worth the one hour wait. They did not taste bad but was really very average.
I guess it is more about the kawaii experience than the food.
For my main course, I ordered the Pompompurin Coconut Milk Chicken Curry (900yen excluding taxes). The rice infused with some mild curry spice was shaped in Pompompurin character. The curry had a strong coconut taste and some chicken pieces and some peppers cut in cute shapes. ,
For desserts, I ordered the Pancake Tower (1,490yen excluding taxes) and Purin Pompompurin (500 yen excluding taxes).
The panckes were sadly quite dry and thin. The different layers are sandwiched with whipped, maple syrup, jam and chocolate sauce. The jam was so overpowering that I could not actually taste much of anything else.
The only plus point was that menu that comes with this Pompompurin mug allows the customers to bring home a mug. Don’t worry, no need to wash. They will give you a brand new one in a box.
The pudding was better. Do however go easy on the caramel sauce, I poured too much and it was a little too bitter. haha. *by the way, you do not get to keep this pudding mug so please don’t nick it.
Would I go back again and wait another hour? – No.
I will go try the other character cafes.
But it is a nice one time experience which I did not regret. Yes, it is all about enjoying the kawaii experience and not so much about the food really.
Pom Pom Purin Cafe
Address: 東京都渋谷区神宮前1-7-1, CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU 3階 (Google Map)
Opening hours: 11am to 9pm
(advance coupons starts at around 930am and the cafe will be closed to all walk-ins once all coupons has been issued out)
Accessible from either Meijijingumae station (Chiyoda line) or Harajuku station (JR Line)