50 Shades of Tokyo Desserts | Shade: 25
I didn’t think anything could bewilder me after visiting Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku. Well, I was mistaken. Last week I found myself in a colorful fantasy world of carousels, Harajuku girls in their cute yet seductive outfits and lots of colorful food. Kawaii Monster Café is located in Harajuku, the heart of Japanese pop-culture. The Kawaii Monster Cafe opened in 2015 as a collaboration between Art Director Sebastian Masuda, a pioneer of Japanese kawaii culture, and Diamond Dining, the company responsible for several of Tokyo’s best known themed restaurants. The café’s mascot Mr. Ten Thousand Chopsticks (a.k.a. Choppy) greets you at the entrance with a greedy smile. Apparently he is a monster which eats anything and everything that comes his way, and keeps growing in size – which is said to represent the creative culture of Harajuku known for its extravagant street fashion. I yet have to find the place whose name fits its ambiance so well. You find a hybrid of cute (kawaii) and grotesque (monster) with huge neon animal heads with scary eyes looming over tables next the milk bottle light fixtures; forks, lips, giant macarons and strawberries adorning the walls; and mushrooms sheltering the tables. Even the bathroom décor makes a statement with its chandeliers, colorful tiles and the translucent basins filled with multi-coloured, glittery rubber bouncy balls. There are so many details to explore I spent a good 30 minutes just wondering around partly amused, partly dazed by the quirky atmosphere of the place. Seating is divided into themed sections: Mushroom Disco, Milk Stand, Bar Experiment and Mel-Tea Room. We opted to sit in a mushroom booth, and after seeing that enormous head of a rabbit with bright eyes suspended over tables I think we made the right choice. I mean, you know clowns are supposed to be funny and cute, but some people actually are scared of them? Well, that’s how I felt about these trio of rabbit, unicorn and horse staring at me. Don’t they just look angry??I felt much safer and more comfortable in a forest of giant, colorful, poisonous mushrooms and space plants. Soon after we were seated a “show” started. Lights went dim, the magical carousel named Sweets-Go-Round began to spin and three cheerful Harajuku girls emerged to hop onto the roundabout and dance (or make random uncoordinated movements in the cutest way possible). At some point I was picked out from the crowd and asked onto the stage to join the dance. No, I will not share the photos of that.
Once the charade was over we were allowed to take photos with the girls posing and then proceed to our tables to make an order. Between the three of us we ordered savory and sweet courses. Menu is quite extensive and the presentation of the food fits the theme. Just for the fun of it I ordered a monster burger. How horrendous AND hilarious does it look? To be quite honest, the thought of eating a blue bun was not appetizing, although it was not the bun, but the burger itself that was utterly disappointing – a breaded chicken dipped in a sweet soggy sauce, topped with tomato, lettuce and onion. I left half of it untouched. But seeing it was still fun (admittedly quite expensive though). Oh, and the fries were really good! My friend enjoyed the colorful spaghetti which was plated as a palette garnished with condiments (cheese, pesto sauce, mustard and ketchup). Quite creative, huh? Although nothing was visually as striking as Colorful Poison Parfait. Just look at this obnoxious thing! Layers of strawberries, scoops of vanilla, mint chocolate chip and berry ice-cream, sorbet, multi-colored flavored whipped cream, and a rainbow roll were mounted into a gargantuan dessert. We eagerly dug into the goodness, and it was actually quite tasty! It probably won’t come as a surprise that between three of us we still couldn’t finish the thing. I also quite enjoyed my fruity cocktail drink and these two are the main reason I decided to feature Kawaii Monster Café in my dessert posts. If I ever revisited (which I plan on doing soon with my besties) I’d go for a drink and something sweet, savory is not quite their forte. Although, most importantly what you come here for is an experience and the stories. Perplexing and peculiar experience which will make such an amusing story. So is it worth going there? Absolutely! You walk in the streets of Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka, eat at local restaurants, admire the historic sights and maybe even attend some of the local festivities. And all that is phenomenal and unforgettable. However, places like Kawaii Monster Café or Robot Restaurants give another perspective, an insight into local oddities and Japanese pop-culture that is as deeply rooted as Japanese tea ceremony or the art of ikebana. That night I saw what makes Japanese tick, what they consider to be entertaining and fun and exciting. I saw what makes Japan so unique and different compared to the west. And I love how enthusiastically they share it all with tourists.
Have you been to any of the themed cafes in Japan? What did you think? Or would you want to go?
Address: 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae, 4 Chome−31−10 YM スクエア 4F
Hours: Closing soon · 11:30AM–4:30PM, 6–10:30PM
Phone: +81 3-5413-6142