Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Japanese Food Adventure Chapter 2 - Day 16. Harajuku Kawaii Monster Cafe



Despite all the alcohol last night we woke up with just a mild hangover, phew! Time to pop the kettle on and formulate a plan for today. We were thinking as it was Sunday that visiting Yoyogi Park would be a good idea. We'd heard that Rockabilles, Elvis impersonators and  various street performers gathered there on Sundays, this we had to see.




Everyone knows that the best way to kill a hangover is fried eggs, we were only suffering mildly but this breakfast did the trick nicely. At just ¥700 (about £5) it was quite a bargain too, it also included a drink and the toast may well have been the thickest slice we'd been served so far!




We went straight to Yoyogi Park only to find nobody performing there by the East side entrance as we'd hoped for, perhaps we'd arrived too early? With Harajuku just moments away we went to explore there instead with a plan to return to Yoyogi Park later in the day.




Takeshita Street is where everyone heads to in Harajuku, it's a pedestrian shopping street lined with food, fashion and hoardes of people. Most of the shops are independent businesses but quite a few chains are now appearing on the street. It's quite hellish to walk down on a Sunday but side streets are great for making a hasty exit if it all gets too much.




We were tempted by these crepes but having tried one last time we were here we decided to give it a miss this time.




As we wandered around Harajuku an old chap greeted us as we passed him, he was holding a small exhibition in a gallery so we went to have a look. It turned out that at the age of 70 he'd travelled around the world on his motorbike! We chatted with him and looked at some of his photos from the trip, it looked like an incredible adventure. Before going I asked if I could take a photo of him on his motorbike, he insisted he took photos of us on it instead!




We were hoping to have a drink in the Hideaway Treehouse cafe but it was closed, the interior and bar are built around a live Himalaya cedar.



Not my lunch but a realistic food display we spotted outside a burger bar.




We returned to Yoyogi Park again but still there were no performers to be seen anywhere, this seemed really odd as I'd read so many articles about Yoyogi Park on a Sunday such as this one. We ended up walking to every part of the park hoping to see something but other than trees and others walking around the park there was very little else to see or do. We were really disappointed as we'd been really looking forward to visiting Yoyogi Park on a Sunday for such a long time.



As we left Yoyogi Park we passed this huge wall of painted sake barrels. We were starting to feel quite hungry now and went in search of Kawaii Monster Cafe.



We'd tried to book a table here online but didn't hear back so we decided to just turn up and hope they had space for us. The tourist information centre in Harajuka handed us a coupon which saved us paying the ¥500 cover charge per person.




 When we first entered the main dining area it was difficult to take everything in.
This place was insane, certainly a far cry from your average restaurant! There are four different themed areas, Mushroom Disco, Milk Stand, Bar Experiment and Mel-tea Room.



The centre piece was a huge revolving merry-go-round in the shape of a lavish cake!




The menu is stored on a screen which is brought to the table, you chose what you want and place your order with one of the staff.




With our order placed I went to have a look around, this was the the sink area in the toilets!




Our drinks arrived first and I wasn't particularly impressed with either one. These drinks were non alcoholic and cost ¥780 (about £5.70 each) Both drinks were called Fruity Heavenly, one containing real fruit and the other containing Tapioca.




The only vegetarian options for my wife on the mains menu was pasta or fries. She opted for fries which were fairly standard really but the multicoloured selection of Monster dips looked quite impressive! They sauce flavours were - red (chilli tomato), yellow (mustard), green (wasabi mayo), orange (cheddar cheese cream) and blue (sour cream onion)




I ordered the M.A.D.B.L.T which cost ¥900 (about £6.50)
It was a fairly average mini burger and BLT sandwich served with fries and monster dips.




Having had a pair of disappointing drinks and average mains we decided to order the most expensive sweet on the menu, colourful poison parfait. It looked really impressive on the menu and at ¥2300 (about £17) we were hoping it would be quite special.




Now this was more like it! It didn't just look incredible with its colourful array of cream, cake, fruit and ice cream, it tasted delicious! Once inside the glass you were treated to multiple layers of fruit, sweets, syrups and nuts. The cream flavours on the edge of the glass were orange (orange), pink (strawberry/raspberry), purple (cream cheese), blue (peppermint) and green (lime)



After we'd finished eating we waited a really long time for our bill to arrive, this wasn't such a bad thing though. Suddenly all the lights went down and everyone started heading towards the merry-go-round. We had no idea what was going on so got up to take a look, it was the start of a show put on by the Monster Girls. The show lasted about ten minutes and somebody from the audience was invited to join the girls on the merry-go-round during the show. Had our bill arrived sooner we would've missed out on this great show which really added to the character of the place.



The only other themed cafe I'd visited in Japan was the Alice in Wonderland Cafe in Shinjuku back in 2014. I thought this one was much better but both had one thing in common, fairly average food, that said though the dessert here was incredible! I think overall Kawaii Monster Cafe is well worth visiting for the stunning interior and great show that's put on for the customers, just remember to get your discount ticket from tourist info first though!




From the Cafe we walked to Yoyogi Park Station to catch the train back to Koenji.




My wife decided it was time for another doughnut party.




I decided it was time for more Takoyaki, these ones were coated in mayo, takoyaki sauce and melted cheese, well nice!

Coming soon - Day 17
Kamakura and Enoshima