On a Saturday afternoon, Raisin Bread and I went to the Akihabara district of Tokyo to do something uniquely Japanese - visit a maid cafe. We were expecting this experience to be completely unlike anything we have ever done and we were not disappointed in the least.
Maid cafes are a relatively new concept. Generally, the waitresses at these cafes dress in maid costumes and serve their master/mistress (the customer) as if they were at their home. Yes, I know it sounds weird. We chose @ Home Cafe because it is the only place that I had read a lot about.
If you don't have a maid cafe in mind though, you will see plenty of maids standing on the street, handing out flyers and trying to lure customers...I mean masters...in to their cafes.
I was surprised to find only two other people in line at the time we arrived. Here, one of the maids is yelling at me because I am taking a picture. Oops. I did not the see the no camera sign that you can clearly see in the photo.
The maids' costumes consist of a dress, petticoat, pinafore, stockings or high socks and a hair accessory. Each maid may add their own flair including plush backpacks and stuffed animals hanging from their bags or clothing.
@ Home Cafe charges an entrance fee of ¥600. I also read that the food here is pretty horrible so we decided to get the dessert set for ¥1600, which includes a drink, dessert and a photo with a maid.
As we figured out, you aren't allowed to take any photos inside, except of your food. The clientele was mostly made up of individual males, but there were also a few tables of couples and pairs of females. Our hostess maid led us to our seats, gave us menus and then proceeded to stand there and ask us to order. I did not like this ordering method and wished I had a few minutes to decide on what to have.
The hostess maid also brought a magnet board showing pictures of all the maids who were working at that time for us to choose who we would like to take our picture with. That was a slightly awkward thing to do as well.
Raisin Bread ordered the Magic Sketch hot green tea latte for his drink. When our server brought his drink over, she asked what animal he wanted to be drawn on his drink and he chose a cat. I was quite impressed by the results!
I went with a boring but quite tasty pot of earl grey tea. Before we could enjoy our drinks though, we had to cast a love spell on them. Our server taught us the love spell, which we repeated. Our drinks were then ready to be consumed!
While we waited for our desserts, we had a chance to observe the goings on. One older gentleman was seated next to Raisin Bread, and he was playing a dice game with a maid. We were seated in front of a stage where patrons were taking their photos with the maids, and we were eventually brought up for our turn.
I based my dessert ordering decision on whichever was the most colorful. The Fruit Cocktail Mini Parfait seemed to fit the bill. It was awful tasting though. Yikes. It consisted of canned fruit cocktail, a scoop of strawberry ice cream, marshmallow sticks, a white chocolate heart and loads of whipped cream.
Raisin Bread picked the Cutie Bunny Cheesecake. From the amount of cake left on his plate, this one was not a hit either.
Before we left, the maid who took our pictures with came back with our snapshot, which came in a handy dandy paper frame.
There was a basket of props on the stage that we could pick from to add a little character to our photos. They looked a little worse for wear, but I still grabbed the cat ears. When we were taking our picture, the maid would suggest hand gestures to do. I don't think I'm doing mine correctly and I'm also not sure what it means.
The maid also decorated the polaroids with the date, place and some words that I can't read.
When we got our bill, we were given a loyalty card. I couldn't bring myself to tell the maid that we would most likely never get the chance to come back though. I saw a fellow walk in later who had a black card. He must be a regular!
Our visit to @ Home Cafe was a lot of fun and slightly strange at the same time. It is definitely a unique experience that I highly recommend. Just don't go for the food!
@ Home Cafe
Don Quijote Akihabara
Chiyoda Tokyo 101-0021