Hello Kitty Orchid Garden Cafe: Service Without Smile
My interest in Hello Kitty started with a set of Hello Kitty toys which I received as birthday present when I was five. Since then, I will subconsciously be on the lookout for the mouth-less Kitty.
So you can imagine my excitement when news came that the first Hello Kitty Cafe will be opened in Singapore!
Located at the Changi Airport, the Hello Kitty Orchid Garden Cafe features a garden theme in line with Singapore’s reputation as a Garden City. Singapore’s national flower, orchids are placed all around the Cafe. The Cafe is also the first Hello Kitty Cafe in the world to open 24/7.
Because of that, we got to check it out at 5 am, prior to our vacation. Just the perfect time to visit without having to worry about queues. (The wait is said to be 4 hours during its first day of opening in May!)
That said, the service at the Hello Kitty Orchid Garden Cafe was disappointing. I always have the idea that themed places are supposed to exude happy vibes. After all, the place is prettily done up, customers patronize hoping to have a good time, so shouldn’t the waiting staff make the experience pleasant with their smiles and attentive service?
As we approached the Hello Kitty Orchid Garden Cafe that morning, the waitress remained behind the counter, looking tired and seemingly avoiding our gaze. We had to wait for a waiter standing further inside to come forward to usher us to a table.
Because the Cafe was relatively deserted at this time, we were given the choice of sitting in the exclusive swing chairs.
What is “uniquely Singapore” about the Hello Kitty here is its having two bows. However, unlike other themed cafes, there are no cuddly plushies at the tables for diners to hug. If you will like to take pictures with the mascot, you can only join her on the bench in a corner of the Cafe.
Our orders took quite some time to be served even though only a few diners were in the Cafe. Guess the preparation staff was in “idle mode” just like the waitress at the counter (she remained there throughout our dining), whereas the other two waiters in the Cafe were slow in checking with the kitchen whether the food was ready.
Each hot beverage comes with a Hello Kitty butter biscuit that looks too adorable to be eaten.
His breakfast: Big Breakfast Surprise. A surprise indeed that the plate had dirty-looking smudged prints. Marred the dining experience.
My bites: Hola Nachos. Within expectations, nothing to rave about.
For those with sweet tooth, there are eight flavours of gelato available at any time of the day. And if you will like to bring home the double-bow Hello Kitty, there is a merchandise corner with D.I.Y. plant kits, plush toys, tea bags and postcards on sale.
Given the disappointing experience today, I guess the Cafe still has some fine tuning to do. Hopefully, the staff will improve and bring smiles, especially to tourists who are likely to drop by at the Cafe.
Have you been to the Hello Kitty Orchid Garden? Do share your experiences below!
Address: Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 3 Arrival Meeting Hall Central, #01-22 (Public Area)
Access: Changi Airport Station on the East-West Line. The Station is linked to Terminal 3.