Butler service

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a prominent aristocrat with a plethora of servants waiting on your every whim? In the land of Gundam suits and cat ears, truly anything is possible and last week I paid a visit to the Swallowtail butler cafe in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district.

The concept is that of an elegant coffee house where you are waited on by attractive young men in black-tie attire who attend to your every (coffee-related) whim. While similar establishments exist, including maid cafes, such is the popularity of Swallowtail that reservations have to be made weeks in advance for specific time slots. The exception to this is if you can jump on a cancelled reservation which appear with a couple of days notice. This latter technique (supported by a friend with excellent Japanese) was what we opted for and we deigned to take tea and cakes at our time slot of 11 am.

Unfortunately, no photos are allowed inside the cafe perhaps because they spoil the ambiance or maybe because it adds to the mystery of the place.  The inside of the cafe resembles an manor house styled dining room with small tables, generously spaced surrounded by high-backed padded wooden chairs. The menu consists of a large variety of teas, delicate finger sandwiches, quiches and pastries. Jen's selection arrived on a three-tiered platter whereas mine was an artfully arranged single plate.

The butlers moved around the room, pouring your tea, moving each plate in front of you (in the case of Jen's three-part situation) and escorting you to and from the restrooms (actually that was a little much, but the idea was great!). Upon making your reservation, you could select a phrase in which the butlers would bow you out with, such as "your carriage awaits". I know we selected a random choice for this, but forget which option we were waved away with!

After this, we went manga shopping whereupon I promptly wished we could have retained a butler to carry my bag.