Welcome to Japan’s Most Kawaii New Spot, KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU

07.October.2015 | FOOD / SPOT

Harajuku has earned a reputation globally for being the center of all things kawaii, the neighborhood’s cuteness spread worldwide via fashion designers and pop stars such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The recently opened Kawaii Monster Cafe isn’t content to just remind visitors of the area’s status, however.

This spot wants to go beyond the already established tropes kawaii, and be something all its colorful own…and then share that with the world.

Opened in August, KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU looms five stories over the always-bustling Meiji-Dori street in Harajuku. Sebastian Masuda, a long-time champion of the neighborhood and one of the key architects of kawaii culture today, designed the cafe. Part of his idea for the venue is to represent kawaii physically in a space, though he isn’t simply recreating the colorful chaos found at his store 6%DOKIDOKI or in one of the videos he directed for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. This is Japanese cuteness evolved.

The cafe envisions Harajuku as a monster of sorts, “engulfing the world’s most trendiest fashions and cultures.” Visitors first choose where they want to sit, selecting from four rooms — more on those in a second — and then they enter the belly of the beast. Quite literally, as a red carpet acting as the creature’s tongue guides customers inside.

Once in, brace for visual overstimulation. There is a lot to take in, though odds are the cafe’s centerpiece Sweets-Go-Round will most likely grab the most immediate attention. A Masuda creation, this sweets-inspired merry-go-round is great for photos, but is hardly the only standout spot around.

KAWAII MONSTER CAFE boasts four themed areas where visitors can sit — the colorful, fungi-themed Mushroom Disco, the Milk Stand corner featuring three giant animal heads sipping the titular beverage, the laboratory-inspired Bar Experiment and the sugar-overload Mel-Tea Room sporting melting ice-cream walls and biggie-sized macaroons. Customers can walk around and explore all these zones, but can only sit in one (the Mushroom Disco and Milk Stand, featuring booths with very high walls, offer a bit more privacy than the other two spots). Although they aren’t always there, chances are high customers will be escorted to their seat by one of KAWAII MONSTER CAFE’s “Monster Girls,” a quintet of women wearing Harajuku-appropriate clothes.

The place might be a feast for the eyes, but don’t forget that it is still a cafe, offering up food and drinks as colorful as any of the decor. The menu comes as an iPad cased in an oversized cake, and there are a lot of options to take in. Food choices tend towards shareable dishes that appear to have been dunked in a rainbow – KAWAII MONSTER CAFE’s most popular offering thus far is the Colorful Rainbow Pasta, featuring multi-colored noodles and a variety of colorful sauces to dip them in – plated like a painter’s palette.

 

Customers can also select from sandwiches, salads and various finger foods. Though, from this American writer’s perspective, the most surprising — (and welcome!) addition was a fried chicken and waffles plate. Dessert, fittingly, is every bit as rainbow bright. The biggest option might not have the tastiest sounding name – the Colorful Poison Parfait – but it definitely looks delicious. And intimidating, as it is a towering creation loaded with various flavors of ice cream, cake and fruits. If you aren’t ready to tackle that, there are plenty of other options coming in shades from all over the color spectrum, ranging from popcorn to ice-cream slathered pancakes.

On the drink front, the cafe sells a good variety of fruit-centric beverages. Dubbed Fruity Heavenly and served in a nice-sized jar-shaped glass, these feature flavors such as “mango” and “real fruits” (not to say the mangoes aren’t real, the latter is more of a mix featuring strawberries and various citrus offerings). They also have several signature cocktails — owing to the Bar Experiment area’s theme, they come in “non-druggy” (non-alcoholic) and “druggy” (alcoholic) form, and include the Experiment, featuring two test tubes of liquid one can add to the central glass of liquor – who knows what will happen, see the name! – and the Noctilucent, featuring a rainbow-sprinkle rim.

Worth squeezing in: KAWAII MONSTER CAFE features a point card system, allowing those who come frequently to earn special privileges other can not. These include discounts and the ability to make a reservation (non-card holders just have to show up and hope there isn’t a long line), yet the top card grants the holder access to a special VIP room hidden away from the other four zones. To add a bit of intrigue to the system, I’ll just say the room is extremely pink, cozy and offers one of the best views of the Tokyo skyline I’ve ever seen. Start earning those points.)

In the near future, KAWAII MONSTER CAFE aims to incorporate a special dinner menu, along with a nightly show that customers can watch while munching on technicolor pasta. Yet at the moment, it offers up one of the more unique dining experiences in Tokyo…and Harajuku. If your definition of kawaii ends at mismatched clothes and the “PonPonPon” video, prepare to have your idea of the word expand in a thousand directions after a visit here.

 

■Information

KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU

Address: 4th floor, YM Square Building, 4-31-10, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo.

Opening hours: Weekdays & Saturdays: Lunch/ 11:30〜16:30(Last entries: 15:30 Last orders: 16:00 – 90 minute seating period)

Dinner: 18:00 〜 22:30(Last orders: 22:00)

Sundays & national holidays: 11:00 〜 20:00 (Last orders: 19:30)

※ During peak times it is possible that seating time period will be increased to 2 hours

No closing days

TEL:03-5413-6142

URL:http://kawaiimonster.jp

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