Taiwan. Home to the first Hello Kitty-themed café, Hello Kitty-themed airplanes and now -- taking cute perhaps one step too far -- the world's first Barbie-themed restaurant. Licensed by U.S. toymaker Mattel, Taiwan restaurant company Sinlaku on Wednesday opened the Barbie Café on Zhongxiao road, one of the busiest shopping districts in the capital, Taipei.
The café's decoration, costing TW$50 million (US$1.7 million), is mostly in suitably Barbie-style magenta and pink.
The furniture couldn't be more princess-y -- bar tables look like the heel of a stiletto, chair backs resemble bustiers (some with a tutu) and chandeliers are shaped like elegant teapots and teacups with saucers. Barbie dolls and logos adorn walls and tabletops.
The restaurant also has a gigantic Barbie box allowing customers to step in and feel like a packaged up, life-size Barbie.
The cutesy brand has been co-opted by EVA Airways to try and attract new fliers from a growing Chinese market.
Waitresses wear tutus and tiaras while their male counterparts try, mostly in vain, to look like Ken, Barbie's on-off squeeze.
Barbie's abnormally, and anatomically-challenging, slim figure may diminish some appetites. With that in mind, the restaurant menu has been designed by professional nutritionists, local media reported (Chinese). There's a calorie chart on the first page of the menu, with calorie data listed alongside each item. The menu itself is a hodgepodge of offerings, including Chicken toast box, Hazelnut tiramisu, Macaroons in martini glasses, Philadelphia steak salad, Salmon beauty salad and Barbie 128 (a pink drink named after the café's address). You can find photos of some menu items on this Chinese-language blog post. Sinlaku is planning a second Barbie Café in the central Taiwan city of Taichung and aims to introduce one in Shanghai, Wu ke-jing, the general manager of Sinlaku, said in a local media report on Chinatimes (Trad. Chinese only).
Sinlaku also operates a Hello Kitty-themed café in Taipei, which opened five years ago. The Hello Kitty restaurant is slightly more expensive than Barbie Café with mains from TW$400 (US$14) compared to Barbie Café's mains from TW$250 (US$8). You can read our review of the Hello Kitty restaurant below.
Please, if you have visited the Barbie Café let us know your experience.
Barbie Café, 2F, 128, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road