An entire shop dedicated to KitKats is something I’m used to seeing in Japan and, as my last trip there got cancelled (still bitter) when I heard KitKat was launching their new KitKat Chocolatory Sydney a few weeks ago, I was beyond excited and planning an outing faster than you can say ‘have a break, have a brain that remembers slogans’.
Early information told me there would be exciting experiences like designing a personalised KitKat, a KitKat chocolate train (eek) and KitKat varieties from around the world, I was there, debit card at the ready.
But what I realised on my visit is that this isn’t like visiting a normal shop. Like so many relationships right now, visiting the Chocolatory is complicated. So, here’s what I learned, and what you need to know if you want to visit the Sydney KitKat shop.
Where is the KitKat Chocolatory Sydney?
It’s located in Sydney’s Mid City Mall.
If you’re not that familiar with central Sydney, this is right in the middle of the CBD and basically spans the floors above and below, a walkway between George Street and Pitt Street. The KitKat boutique is on the ‘ground’ level so super easy to find.
The entrance to the mall, however, isn’t so easy to find as the sign is above the door and you can easily walk straight past it. Basically, if you’re entering from Pitt Street it’s past Myer, opposite the Vodaphone Shop and just before Mimco.
If you’re entering at George Street, enter just past Dymocks and before the Strand Arcade.
How to Get Into the KitKat Shop
Yes, that needs as heading as right now you do not just wander in waving cash.
The website is kind of vague on this process and so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I figured that with social distancing and experiences like ‘making your own KitKat’ there might be some kind of KitKat Chocolatory booking system but the website didn’t specify so, bringing my partner in crime for such things, Kendall, we planned a Sunday morning out aiming to arrive as soon as the store said it opened – 10am.
You’ll spot the KitKat shop as its bright red and lit up like a shiny beacon – and opposite it, you may, depending on whether the hype has died down on it yet, see a queue of people opposite the shop.
Do not join this queue thinking that’s your way into to chocolatey magic. I saw too many people make this mistake and they were not happy when they got turned away.
The very important fact is that you need a time slot to get into the queue.
When I went, you had to see the staff standing outside the boutique and get a ticket with this written on – however, as with everything in the world right now, things change quite quickly and as I write this, the website tells me they are now conducting a virtual queue which you need to join and you’ll get a text message when you are due to return.
Annoyingly, said website doesn’t tell you how you join the virtual queue, but a very helpful lady on the phone tells me you go to the boutique, scan the QR code outside, which gets you on the list – and then you’ll get a message when it’s time to return (apparently the staff will have a rough idea of the wait time before you sign up but do not be surprised if it’s three hours later)
Top tip: get there first thing – and sign up to the queue before the store officially opens. We got there at 9.50 am on a Sunday morning and, despite the boutique not opening until 10 am, there were already people in the queue and they were giving out tickets which meant we got a 10.40 slot.
About five minutes before your time slot, come back and join the small physical queue, they’ll then let you in when your slot opens up. Do not be late. If you arrive more than five minutes after your allotted time, you’ll have to get another slot.
Oh, and forget waving cash even once you are inside – it’s card only in there.
What Happens Inside the KitKat Boutique
With that organised entrance, I was expecting a bit more staff interaction once we go inside, but no!
We weren’t told anything so, this is kind of what we worked out wandering around the space.
The boutique is divided into three main areas – there’s the KitKat shop; there’s the KitKat sushi train and then there are tables outside which seems to be a KitKat cafe with coffees, teas etc and amazing chocolatey desserts.
We weren’t offered any information on whether we were allowed to sit at the tables, or the sushi train and were just ushered into the shop (more on why in a minute).
In the shop the first thing you see is the big draw, the ‘design your own KitKat experience’ – yes for $15 you get to make your very own KitKat.
Except, technically you don’t really make it. Instead, it’s like ordering a burger on screen at McDonald’s. You choose your chocolate, your toppings, your filling, your packaging on screen etc and someone else makes it for you to collect.
I was still up for this experience though, but then the screen told me the wait time… when we went, 40 minutes after opening, there was already a two-hour wait for your chocolate bar to be processed (again, this is now stated on the website which says it’s going to be at last 90 minutes between design and pick up). I needed to be back home with my feet up on the sofa in two hours so, I had to pass.
Still, all was not lost…wall after wall of exciting KitKats lined the shop just waiting for me to buy them.
Again, these are divided into three main areas.
The first area is full of pre-made versions of the type of KitKat you can design – basically the larger size chocolate bars with sprinkles so you might find your perfect combination here without the wait.
You’ll also find what’s known as the Special Edition KitKats.
These cost $8 and intriguing mix of flavours like the Aussie Lamington KitKat, The Caramel, Cookie and Almond one I settled on was delicious.
Then there’s the really fun bit – the mini KitKats. You can buy a box of these for $12 and the idea is that you fill the box with as many as you get in – they say it’s ten KitKats, but we managed 13 with careful structuring.
This is really fun as the flavours are as varied as they are in Japan. It really brought back memories of us trying not to giggle (or snort chocolate out of our noses) on a completely silent bullet train when we had a really disgusting one from the selection we’d collected (never let Kendall chose the sweets, it doesn’t always go well!).
My box contained everything from Churro, Pistachio, Hokkaido Melon, Cotton Candy, Sake, Guava and Pineapple – and it’s really good fun when you get home opening them up as the colours and tastes are a constant surprise – who knew chocolate could be blue!.
On which note, most of the flavours are really sweet – which is also something I remember from Japan – if you don’t have a sweet tooth, stick with the big chocolatey bars.
My favourite was sake, guava got a ‘that’s disgusting’ from me but a thumbs up from The Boyfriend. Pineapple and melon were surprisingly good – pistachio tasted like a Bakewell Tart. Seriously, if you spend money on anything in the shop, I’d say this wall gives the most bang for its buck.
Next to the mini KitKat wall are the Sublime KitKats.These are either flavours direct from Japan or use better quality chocolate than the standard bars – they range in price but are around $4 each.
You can also buy ‘creations’ – these are single KitKat sticks hand designed and hand wrapped in their own little box by the staff. One family in front of us were buying heaps of these as gifts.
At this point, you might be wondering what all the fuss about the KitKat. Why isn’t there say, a Cherry Ripe Chocolatery, or an Oreo Emporium.
Well again, all roads lead to Japan.where KitKat boutiques are quite common. In fact, KitKats in Japan are big business per se with an estimated four million bars sold every day.
The reason for this is that KitKat in Japanese sounds like the phrase Kitto Katsu. This is an expression of good luck in Japanese, as such, they are often given as gifts.
They’re also a bit of an art form with ‘KitKat chefs’ employed by Nestle Japan to come up with new exciting flavours. At any one time, over 40 different varieties are on sale, including limited edition ones and regionalised ones. I’ve had sweet potato ones and red bean ones before now.
For more on the process of making KitKats in Japan check out this fantastic article from the New York Times which explains everything.
Back to the Store
So, right now I’m $20 bucks down and carrying 14 different flavour KitKats. But I@m not yet ready to leave as behind me, the magic is happening.
The ‘Design Your Own KitKats’ are being created by the KitKat meisters and, while I might not have been able to make my own choccie sensation, it was fun to watch them being created for others – and I can see why there is a delay.
It’s a pretty fiddly process with the sprinkles going into the mould, then the wafers go in and then everything is covered with chocolate from a piping bag. They then have to set. I hadn’t really thought about the setting part of the process!
So, What of the KitKat Train.
I imagined a cute little train chugging around with samples on, but actually it’s a more of a KitKat sushi train with individual $6 sticks revolving under plastic covers.
It’s a pretty small area and, with social distancing, once one group is sitting by it it’s kind of off-limits to anyone else.
Located just behind it are for or five tables in the walkway set up for coffee and some amazing ornate desserts.
As I said, I was surprised that we weren’t told about how to access these when we entered the boutique – and I’ve since discovered why.
These two areas do not come under the entry system. They are currently reservation only.
Like everything to do with this place though, how you reserve is a bit of a mystery but I have discovered you can book them in advance via OpenTable.
However, the site has very limited timings and availability,# even looking far into the future, which leads me to believe they must take bookings at the boutique as well – or by phone.
Also, if you want to use the KitKat train you’ll need to make sure you book your seats at the counter otherwise you’ll be seated at a table – although it doesn’t tell you how to do this. If that’s where you want to be, I’d, therefore, go old school and call them to make sure you end up in the right place!
Note that right now your party is also limited to a maximum of four people and, if you don’t show up, you’ll be charged a no-show fee from the card you give for the reservation.
Looking at other people’s orders, the KitKat Hot chocolate, $8 looked amazing – and the pics suggest that the $17 Smokin’ Matcha dessert might be a bit theatrical!
How do I Rate the Sydney KitKat Chocolatory?
It was fun and I’m glad I went, but, if you want to make the most of everything on offer you really do need to get there early, be super organised and be prepared to spend a lot of money on chocolate!
A lot of this might change as the novelty wears off, once school holidays are over or as social distancing rules evolve so I’d also suggest double-checking the process on the website the day before you go in case it’s changed again.
If you can’t make it to Sydney or don’t want to wait in queues, virtual or otherwise, you can also design your own KitKat and buy most of the bars online. Check it out here.
Sharing is Caring
If you like this guide to the Sydney KitKat Chocolatory, then why not share it on social media so others can book their slot too.