By Nicoletta Richardson
January 20, 2015
© Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy

Eating out alone can be an intimidating venture for some diners. In Hong Kong, a plus one at the lunch table isn't a problem at the quirky Moomin Café. A chain of restaurants inspired by the Moomins —a classical Finnish animation series featuring a hippo-like family— has patrons dining with the cartoon icons.

The Moomin Café, an entension of a Japanese franchise, opened its doors last month, welcoming solo guests to enjoy a meal opposite plush versions of the beloved characters. The new anti-loneliness concept has become popular in Japan, where the first Moomin Café was opened.

The café resembles a traditional Finnish house, complete with artwork depicting the Moomins. The cuisine is also no exception to Finnish design. Nordic dishes are served, such as salmon milk soup and caramelized potato and onion gratin, along with traditional Finnish bread and Scandinavian salad.

Months before the Hong Kong opening, fans around the world celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Tove Jansson, the creator of the Moomin series. Jansson created books that inspired the television series and even a theme park. Party of one? Never when the Moomins are around.

Nicoletta Richardson is a researcher at Travel + Leisure