Edible Buster Swords, Materia dumplings, and Moogle desserts are all on offer at Square Enix’s rebooted Akihabara eatery.

It was with great fanfare (and great burgers) that Tokyo’s Square Enix Cafe opened in 2016. Really just about the only complaint you could make was that its location, tucked into a nook next to the entrance to electronics megastore Yodobashi Camera Akihabara, meant that the dining area didn’t have all that many seats.

But the video game publisher has addressed that by relocating the cafe to a new, larger location, still in Akihabara and just a one-minute walk from any of the three rail stations that serve the neighborhood. I suppose you could say this makes the new Square Enix Cafe a remake of the original eatery, and fittingly its first theme is a salute to the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Finding the restaurant is a bit of a quest in itself, as the entrance lies off the pedestrian passage that connects the plazas directly to the southeast and southwest of JR Akihabara Station. However, once you’re nearby, it’s pretty easy to spot, especially with the giant banner showing Final Fantasy VII protagonist Cloud ready to raid a Midgard Mako Reactor, just like we were ready to raid the new cafe.

Character artwork from Remake is splashed all over the interior too. Cloud gets the most space, most seats also offer a view of his nemesis, Sephiroth, who shares Cloud’s penchant for long hair and oversize swords, but has a dimmer view of humanity and its right to exist.

Speaking of rivalries, you’ll also find plenty of pictures of Cloud’s two love interests, independent florist Aerith and martial artist Tifa.

And while he tends to get lost in the shuffle of archetypal pretty boys and pretty girls, brawny, firearm-armed Barret is here too, as are a few other characters on the monitors showing loops of previews for the game.

But the Square Enix Cafe isn’t supposed to be just a feast for the eyes, but for the stomach as well, so let’s get to the food and drinks! Seating at the restaurant is done in 90-minute blocks of time, and while unclaimed seats are sometimes offered on a first-come, first-served basis, advance reservations (which can be made online) are highly recommended. There’s a 1,000-yen (US$9.10) per-person service charge, but the upside is that the charge gives you your choice of one free drink. Having rolled up in party of two, my companion and I wasted no time in selecting the special non-alcoholic cocktails inspired by Cloud and Sephiroth.

The Cloud is a refreshing mix of pineapple juice and lemon gelatin, providing a mix of sweet and sour notes reminiscent of the reluctant hero’s personality. There’s also a dark syrup at the bottom which you can stir in for extra sweetness, and a wedge of lemon that reminds one of a lock of Cloud’s spikey hair.

The real visual impact here, though, is the Buster Sword wafer, shaped and styled like Cloud’s instantly identifiable bulky blade.

Since the wafer itself doesn’t have much flavor to it, I’d recommend using it as an edible utensil to munch on the drink’s whipped cream topping with. Alternatively, you could stir the cream into the drink, but its sweet flavor tends to clash a little with the tartness of the pineapple and lemon.

Moving on to the Sephiroth, once again you’ve got a wafer recreation of the character’s weapon of choice, this time the Masamune. It’s said that only Sephiroth can properly wield this incredibly long sword, and maybe that’s why the wafer represents only the hilt, handguard, and base of the blade, with the rest of the visual effect coming from the straw.

Without getting into too many spoilers let’s just say that Sephiroth’s psyche goes through some pretty dramatic changes over the course of Final Fantasy VII’s story. Mirroring this, the top layer of the drink is an incredibly dry, even bitter soda water. A few good stirs, though, adds in the sweet, lemon-lime like flavor of the syrup base. Since the syrup is thicker and heavier than the soda water, though, they eventually start to separate again, keeping you always on your toes, just like how Sephiroth makes a habit of surprising Cloud and his allies repeatedly on their quest with his sudden appearances.

It wouldn’t be a Japanese themed cafe without character art coasters for every drink you order. By this point, it’s pretty clear that no one who’s a big enough fan to come to an anime/video game cafe actually wants to damage the coaster by actually putting a drinking vessel on it, and so the Square Enix Cafe gives you your coasters separately, and sealed for an extra bit of suspense to see which piece of artwork you’ve randomly received.

▼ Fortune smiled on us with coasters for Aerith an Cloud.

▼ But maybe I should arrange them like this?

Of course, we needed food too. The theming for edibles isn’t quite as thorough as it is for the drinks (which also include Aerith and Tifa options), but the Materia Xiaolongbao (or shoronpo, as they’re called in Japan) soup dumplings (930 yen) definitely caught our eyes.

The five-piece set mimics the multiple colors of the magic-granting/stat-boosting Materia orbs the player accumulates during Final Fantasy VII. Each Materia orb has a different effect, and so each dumpling has a different flavor.

▼ Yellow (crab), black (truffle), blue (scallop), green (cilantro), and red (spicy mala)

As we’ve come to expect from our visits to various Final Fantasy-themed restaurants, each juicy morsel was skillfully cooked and delicious. Shared between two people though, a single order probably isn’t going to fill you up, so next was the yakinku (grilled pork) set meal (1,300 yen).

Honestly, I have absolutely no memory of yakiniku appearing in the original Final Fantasy VII, despite having played through the entire game more than once. However, the cafe’s menu claims this is a recreation of a meal Cloud can choose at a restaurant in the Wall Market section of Midgar’s Sector 6.

Again, I have no recollection of this being something you can do in the game. However, the yakiniku set is indeed served with a card showing Cloud, in his original PlayStation Final Fantasy VII polygon model, sitting at a counter with a cursor prompt allowing him to select between a yakiniku set, a sashimi set, and “today’s special.”

▼ And yes, the sashimi set is being added to the Square Enix Cafe’s menu in mid-March, when the menu rolls into stage two of its Final Fantasy VII Remake theme.

Source material fidelity aside, the meat is tasty and tender, and the sauce also goes well with the shredded cabbage (or the rice, if you’re in the pro-rice-bounce camp). Even the miso soup is outstanding, with a strong dashi (bonito stock) flavor.

Dessert was a difficult choice, but after giving the matter deep thought, I passed on the strawberry-laden Aerith parfait and instead opted for the Moogle Sweet Bean Bun (680 yen).

As cute as this little guy is, he’s also 100-percent edible. The facial features are an edible thin film, the ears wafers (similar to the Buster Sword and Masamune hilt), and a short length of fried pasta is what’s holding up the maraschino cherry orb (similar to the technique we used to give our home-made Pikachu Burgers their rosy cheeks).

So yep, you can start chowing down from any angle. Be advised that the visual results can be sort of traumatic, but this is still a tasty treat, especially if you’re a fan of tsubu an (in which some of the individual bean texture is left).

Comfortably full, it was now time to stroll over to the connected Square Enix merch shop, which is stuffed with not just Final Fantasy items, but memorabilia for a variety of Square Enix franchises.

There’s a wide variety of plushies, notebooks, figures, and soundtrack CDs, but my personal favorite of what’s currently in stock is the Chocobo desk pillow, an amazingly soft and fluffy way to catch some Z’s even when you don’t have a bed (there’s also a Moogle model).

▼ “Sorry boss, can’t work. Need to test the effectiveness of this pillow as ‘research’ for an article.”

▼ Shinra Electric Power Company crossbody bag

▼ Jackets with the Final Fantasy VII meteor logo or Shinra insignia on the back

While reservations are more or less required for the cafe, anyone is free to waltz into the gift shop. There’s also a takeout counter with a separate, simpler menu.

As mentioned above, seating is in 90-minute blocks, and the staff will announce when time is running short, so that you can get in any last orders or close any coaster-trading negotiations with fellow fans.

The Square Enix Cafe’s Final Fantasy VII Remake theme runs until April 24.

Restaurant information
Square Enix Cafe Tokyo / スクウェア・エニックス カフェ東京
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Sakumacho 1-6-1 (entrance inside Akihabara Tozai Jiyu Tsutro pedestrian walkway)
Open 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where the amount of Chocobo content to be included in Final Fantasy VII Remake remains one of his top concerns.