Sydney’s New Hello Kitty Diner: Or, Lessons In Dining With a 2-Year Old

Little Aussie, restaurants

“I don’t know,” I thought to myself as I strolled the aisles at KMart. “We need to eat lunch. We’re here, anyway. I could just go ahead and MAKE MY KID’S DAY!”

With that, I decided that I’d get the polish ready for my Mother of the Year badge, the one I was about the receive for taking my toddler to the new Hello Kitty Diner in Chatswood.

All the mummy bloggers in town have been, so I’m sure you know all about it. Basically, it’s a burger restaurant. Covered in Hello Kitty.

So, I dragged her, toddling along, from the Chatswood Chase end of Victoria Avenue. I did not manage to sneak past the library without a stop in. I forgot that she asked me for water somewhere around NAB, and felt like a first class jerk when she started crying about it just before Gloria Jeans.

“Do you want to have a special treat?! You’ll get plenty of water when we get to the restaurant, OK? It’s going to be a special, special treat!” She was dubious. And thirsty.

We took the lift up to The District dining area, which is home to some really delicious restaurants, and followed the scent of cuteness. photo (26)

On first glance, the whole thing wasn’t just overwhelmingly impressive to me. It was basically a small Johnny Rockets with a couple of pink bows and a cat (who is not really a cat, whatever) out front. But, things don’t always have to impress me to rock off all of my kids’ socks. Exhibit A: The Wiggles. Exhibit B: Some guy in a construction hat on his lunch break we passed on the way. So, I proceeded to tell her how great this place was and how much she was going to love her hamburger and milk shake for her special treat. Milk shake. On a Tuesday. COME. ON.

She said she didn’t want a burger, but as it was the only thing on the kid’s menu, and I’m not made of dollars, kid, I decided she’d love it when she saw it and plowed ahead.

For myself, I ordered the Gee Gee burger (“Jee Jee,” apparently – I tried pronouncing it both ways, and that elicited less of a smirk from the counter girl. “Cat.” Whatever.) and sweet potato fries. And “smoked lemonade,” which I’d read about and was the secondary driving factor for our Hello Kitty adventure.

We got our number and took a seat. The counter was full. The booths were full. So, we sat at a table with high top chairs. Best choice for a 2 year old, natch.
Nothing happened. This is not foreshadowing.

The drinks came first, and I will say that we were both impressed. She with her pancake flavored milkshake and I with the smoked lemonade. Then, she remembered that she wanted water, and the milkshake fell entirely out of favor until I finished it for dessert some time 2 (5)

My burger came out next. I thought eating before her food came would be a display of poor, poor manners to show a child from whom I spend considerable hours of the day chasing up “pleases” and “thank yous.” So, we sat in semi-silence, with occasional attempts made by this mother to elicit enthusiasm for the cute napkins … pictures on the wall … umm … that’s mostly it. At one point, she expressed an appreciation for a possible door covered in wallpaper and asked if we could open it, but that was the height of her engagement with the decor, which I feel fairly certain did not come together without many hours of committee meetings and international teleconferences on the part of high level executives at the Sanrio 3 (19)

Finally, her burger came. She liked the bow toothpick enough that she tried to use it as a fork. I suggested she try a real fork, then didn’t wait for her to consider a response before turning to my lunch.

So, listen. I wasn’t expecting much. I told myself that people probably don’t eat at Hello Kitty diner for the food – particularly considering that there’s a Michelin-starred dumpling place two doors down. But – nice surprise – my Gee Gee was good. It’s Karaage chicken with Korean BBQ sauce, some slaw and kimchee pickles. The sweet potato fries were also pretty good, mostly thanks to the aoli dipping sauce. photo 4 (12)

After a couple of bites, I looked over, and my dining companion had peeled the cheese off of half her burger and poked it a couple of times. “I done.” she declared.

“You don’t want your burger?”
“No thanks.” (See, manners ...)
“Your fries? Mmm! Fries!”
“No thank you.”
“Would you like to finish your milkshake?”
“No. I done.”

Bloody hell. Toddlers, you know?

I asked one of the adult professionals who work there (you can spot them by their cat-ear headbands) for a takeaway box for the $10 pincushion sitting on my kid’s plate, and was told that they “don’t do takeaway.”

You know what, Hello Kitty – you may have just gotten $38 from me, which would have bought a lot of Michelin-approved pork buns over at Tim Ho Wan, but stop trying to pretend like you’re better than takeaway. You have a giant plastic cat outside your restaurant. Kids are going to eat in your establishment. Kids are jerks. Sometimes they just poke holes in their burgers with the sharp end of a paper bow stick, and their parents – who just wanted to “make their kid’s day,” are going to save that all-beef patty for that moment –  after they’ve fallen asleep on the bus, after they’ve refused a healthy dinner, and after they’ve had a bath that they announce, “I’m hungry.” Sometimes, just sometimes, kids don’t eat their burgers when we want them to. Sometimes they devour the entire thing at 8p.m. when the malaise from the milkshake wanes and hunger has finally overtaken them. So, for the love of all things sacred in this cartoon world, give a mother a takeaway box.

I know I’m not the only one who felt this way because two tables over, I heard another frustrated toddler entourage asking (nay, pleading) for the same thing. You just don’t get us, Hello Kitty.

That’s OK, though. I’m a bright girl. I dumped out my KMart shopping into my backpack, wrapped that burger into two adorable cocktail napkins, stashed it in the plastic bag, and marched out past the watchful eyes of the Cat-Guard. And, you know what, my kid downed that burger one hour 1 (21)

So, all in all, I’d say that I made her day.

9 thoughts on “Sydney’s New Hello Kitty Diner: Or, Lessons In Dining With a 2-Year Old

  1. Yvette

    <— This girl is seriously reconsidering her decision to move back to the US. HELLO KITTY RESTAURANT? Umm, yes, please! That was too freakin cute! So what was the smoked lemonade like?

  2. Aleney

    Have been dying to try the Hello Kitty Diner with my obsessive four-year old Hello Kitty fan but have to say the reviews have put me off a bit. I think it might be one of those drop in if we happen to be nearby and its empty places. Glad you got the takeaway past the burger police. 🙂

    1. Cristin Post author

      Ha, thanks!
      If your kid is Hello Kitty obsessed, it might be more of a hit, but honestly, I thought they could have done more with it. I probably wouldn’t make a special trip.

    1. Cristin Post author

      Yeah, the whole thing is just a bit “meh.” It didn’t feel special at all (despite my attempts to convince my toddler otherwise!).

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