[Anime Culture Monday] Honey's Anime Hot Spot – Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu Café Pop-up at The Guest Café and Diner Ikebukuro

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Every time a new Pokémon game is released, there is an international frenzy for fans of all ages. In Japan, it’s always very easy to get swept away in it as Pokémon advertising and collaborations seem to take over public spaces, stores, and restaurants. The release of Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu for the Nintendo Switch was no different; even as the whole world was celebrating the release and everyone was playing, Japan was busy making its collaborations. And of course, one of the best results was a theme cafe!

The Guest Cafe and Diner did it again with another great collaboration cafe, this time for Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu. Located in Ikebukuro which is also home to the Mega Pokémon Centre Tokyo, the cafe was open for about six weeks to celebrate the release of the new game. With themed drinks, desserts, sides, and main dishes, they went all out creating food that Pokémon fans would enjoy. From incredible presentations to delicious and unique flavours, The Guest did a great job of creating a diverse and imaginative menu to get fans of all ages excited and make them happy.


Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu Café Info

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Location Access – Ikebukuro Parco Main Building 7F, 1-28-2 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo-to
Train Lines – Yamanote Line, Saikyo Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Seibu Ikebukuro Line, Tobu Tojo Line JR "Ikebukuro” Station
Subway – Yurakucho Line, Fukutoshin Line, Marunouchi "Ikebukuro” Station
Cost of Admission Type – Food/Drink Cost (one main dish or dessert per person)
Hours of Operation Open - 10 am – 10 pm (Food Last Order – 9 pm, Drink Last Order – 9:30 pm)
Official Website - http://the-guest.com/



The Experience

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From the Pokeball shaped menu to the art decorating all the walls of the cafe, there were a lot of details at the Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu Cafe to help fans feel immersed. There were even a few TVs inside the cafe playing clips and cutscenes from the new games, and the music was constantly playing in the background. As a pop-up cafe, of course, the decor had to be easily replaceable but that didn’t stop the cafe from going all out covering the walls and windows with Pokémon. There was even some special art related to the new Switch games, like Pikachu and Eevee with their clothes and hairstyles players can give them!

But on to the most important part of a concept cafe - the food! The Guest did a great job of making dishes that were both very unique and themed, and also delicious. There was a wide range of main dishes, desserts, and drinks to pick from. Most were themed after Eevee or Pikachu, but a few other Pokémon had the spotlight as well including Lapras, Gastly, and Dragonite. Because of our limited time, we couldn’t order nearly as much as we wanted to, and making the final decision was hard. But we tried to get a few of the most unique things on the menu to give you an inside look!

The two most popular main dishes seemed to be the Pikachu or Eevee curry, which had the rice and sauce separated to be shaped like a Pokeball and had either Pikachu or Eevee’s face in the centre. We went with the Dragonite ramen, which was a salt-based soup featuring shrimp dumplings and a Dragonite motif wafer. What made it special was that you could choose an “attack” by adding another flavour to the ramen, such as wasabi or yuzu. It was a lot of fun to change the flavour of the ramen, and the base was quite good too.

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Moving into everyone’s favourite part of the meal - dessert! We couldn’t help but order two of them. First, we got the Team Rocket-themed cream puff. The dark sauce on it was deceptively not chocolate but actually black sesame, which made the dish a lot easier to eat without feeling overwhelmed by sweetness. It was well-presented with wafers of Team Rocket’s most infamous Pokémon and came with a free sticker present. Going in a more exciting direction we also ordered the mysterious Gastly dessert platter that promised secrets and surprises on the menu. Indeed, it arrived on a plate of smoking steamed ice! What just looked like a huge candy floss ghost was actually hiding a few extras inside. After pouring a sweet syrup on and melting the candy floss, there was a surprise Haunter and Gengar waiting in the form of fruits and a purple sweet potato Mont Blanc cake.

Finally, we did order one drink, the Lapras and Magikarp one. It was a blue soda that tasted sweet, but more than the flavour was the presentation. It came with a Lapras wafer “surfing” on the top and a straw wrapped in Magikarps! The blue colour was really bright and fun as well, and there were sweet jelly cubes at the bottom. Though we didn’t have a chance to order them ourselves, there were also Pikachu and Eevee hot lattes with latte art, and iced lattes that had their face on the top. There were also some delicious-looking pudding jars that had a huge pudding on the top in the shape of either Pikachu or Eevee’s head! We left wishing we had more time, bigger stomachs, and bigger wallets to have enjoyed even more things.

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One of the nicest things about the Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu Cafe was the extremely mixed demographic of people enjoying it. Much like the Pokémon games, people of all ages and from all walks of life were all there. From families with kids to couples of a date, friends having fun together and people there alone just to enjoy themselves, the cafe had a wide appeal. While most of the patrons were Japanese, there were a few foreigners mixed in, too! Pokémon bridges gaps between so many different kinds of people and that was really evident at the cafe. Everyone was welcome and everyone had a good time!

Additional info

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The Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu Cafe was very, very busy and popular. Even though we visited on a weekday hoping to avoid the rush, we had to wait over two and a half hours to get a seat. Lucky for us, they did let us queue for that length of time. On weekends, it was better to go in the morning and apply for a time slot to come back, though if you arrived too late the seats would already be finished for the day. Either way, it was better to go in the morning, either to get time to come back or get in the queue before it became too long. Considering Pokémon is one of the most popular things in Japanese pop culture for people of all ages, it’s no surprise the cafe had the same kind of popularity.

To keep things moving, you did get the menu in advance while waiting in the queue. At the end of the queue, you had to place your full order so that when you were seated they started serving you almost immediately. Each person was required to order at least one main dish or dessert, though drinks were optional. It was nice to be served quickly, but you had to decide in advance how hungry you were because you did not have the chance to add anything to your order. We went with a wide variety of things, hoping to try a little bit of every kind of thing on the menu.

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The main menu was entirely in Japanese, though it did have helpful pictures of each dish. There was also another menu with English, Chinese, and Korean available for international guests. Most of the descriptions for each dish just were a short story or funny joke rather than an actual description of what you were going to get, though, so even in your native language, it all remained a bit of a mystery. Thankfully, the staff was happy to answer any allergy questions we had, though, so at least nothing was a dangerous mystery! They even kindly altered one dish for us to accommodate an allergy.

If you didn’t have time to eat or worse, couldn’t get a seat, you could still enjoy the fun a little. Right next to the cafe there was a store with goods exclusive to the cafe. Most of them featured Pikachu or Eevee, but quite a few of the other original 150 Pokémon also were present. With everything from posters and keychains to coasters and plushies, there was something for every budget.

Luckily, even if you didn’t bring along any extra money besides what you needed for the food, there were some free gifts for each dinner! The placemat was an awesome map of the Kanto region in the game, and the staff was happy to give you a rubber band to roll it up and take it home. A few of the dishes, such as our Team Rocket dessert, also came with special sticker presents. These were indicated on the menu so you knew in advance when you ordered it, you were getting something a little extra or not. The Pikachu and Eevee lattes also came with a cute coaster with a random Pikachu or Eevee printed on it.


Final Thoughts

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Good food, good presentation, and a good atmosphere all led to the success of the Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu pop-up cafe at The Guest Cafe and Diner in Ikebukuro. It’s why even though we went near the end of its run, the queue was still long. People were excited to go and experience such unique food and drinks and to share their love for Pokémon. Even people that haven’t played the new Nintendo Switch game could enjoy themselves at the cafe with minimal Pokémon knowledge; and at the very least, the food and drinks tasted delicious! The cafe was a great success and a wonderful example of how a concept cafe can be an exciting experience.

Did you have a chance to visit the Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu Cafe? What did you get, and how was your experience? If you could have gone, what would you have ordered? Do you have any questions about pop-up cafes at The Guest? Drop us a comment below!

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Writer

Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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