“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
During my November trip to Japan (back in 2013) I finally dined at a place I’ve been dying to go to since it opened, Fantasy Dining: Alice in a Labyrinth. It’s an Alice themed (well, obviously) restaurant located in Ginza that’s entrance is practically a hole in a wall (or more literally, an elevator). To steal a line I’ve heard in some variation or other from many reviews and blogs I’ve read, it’s like a dream land from the moment you step off the elevator. It’s definitely a destination hot spot for any Alice in Wonderland fans out there. For anyone looking to go, it’s good to know that guests are requested to stay a minimum of 2 hours (“at the tea party”) but that really isn’t that hard to do in this cute setting! (Warning, this will be picture heavy!)
“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of many things: of shoes and ships- and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings.”
“What a funny watch!’ she remarked. `It tells the day of the month, and doesn’t tell what o’clock it is!’ `Why should it?’ muttered the Hatter. `Does YOUR watch tell you what year it is?'”
The “walls” of the hallway leading to the main seating area are lined with amazing curtains designed after key pages of the book. Some of these curtains hide sections of long tables reserved for big groups or even often, business groups that want to spice up their finalization’s and office meetings! Of course, the infamous room with the tea pot booth and cards mural on the ceiling is the most popular dining area.
The tea pot actually cuts off at the handle but the room’s walls are made of mirrors, giving the illusion that the tea cup is full and the room is larger. Though we weren’t quite early enough to get the coveted tea pot seating, we arrived at a time where there weren’t many guests just yet and I could take many photos without feeling like I’m invading anyone’s privacy. Our seat was probably the best location for that purpose! We got to sit in the last corner booth of the black booth row and even the mirror had an amazing card and queen design.
Of course there’s great touches like the tea pot and giant desk lamp for lighting to make you really get the Alice feeling of being small but I alo love how erratic and random the decor from the wallpaper to the pillows is. In any other place this would be clashing but it really is an attention to detail and grabs onto that true feeling of Alice, in a world where everything is nonsense.
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would.”
The dark shaded dividers were clever to create more privacy in seating but also be able to easily open it up. The place is really quite small but they use the space wisely. Of course, the interior wasn’t the only thing decorated to a T, the menu’s and food were even put to test the theme.
Tonight, our waitress is the Mad Hatter. She introduces the menu, points out the 2 hour requirement stated in the cover, explains the drinks and refreshes us with some water and time to think it over, leaving us a bell to ring when we’re ready. The adorable pop up style box is how they present your course and cocktail drinks menu. The drinks menu has the sweetest little card pockets that you open up to see a picture of each drink. I went with something I can’t quite recall the name but it was strawberryand extremely good. I would go back just for cocktails! From my understanding, I believe you can only order one cocktail style drink at a visit? Not sure. . . I didn’t get a picture of the course menu but it was semi-normal with each course selection laid out in very cute broken English as well as Japanese. We had already decided on the Fairy Tale course from a friends suggestion which really isn’t something 2 people should attempt but we didn’t realize at the time it was 7 decent courses! Luckily, we hadn’t eaten at all that day and we had our 2 minimum hours to conclude the tea party.
“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’ I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
How cute are these dishes? People say that you don’t come for the food but the ambiance but even though the dishes weren’t life changing I enjoyed them and was wooed by the styling. I can’t remember quite the order they come but you start off with a semi “soup and salad” type deal. The heart shaped plate holds a slice of bread cut in two and small tea cups of creamy soup. It was delicious but let me just say the salad was really excellent. I loved the rose shaped (not so lovely caught on camera, sorry) slices of tomatoes. The dish shaped like the hare is tilapia (so cute!) then fish sticks and potato wedges. In case you aren’t full enough of carbs, next comes pasta! I forgot to take a picture before the first bites were grubbed up but there wasn’t a special design. The final main course is a Cheshire cat steak. The cutest plate but the hardest to finish with hard boiled egg eyes and olives for pupils, what a strange combination! Luckily, I wasn’t expected to eat that. It was actually pretty good but by this point I was very full. To top off your dining experience is dessert, a small (quite a relief at this point as I saw a girl with a HUGE dessert platter which was probably, and thankfully, a different dessert based course) fruit and jello concoction with the cutest little cookie up top the whip cream. Despite the simplicity of jello, and it could have just been the bias joy to exist inside the restaurant at the time, it actually really hit the spot and was so refreshing.
“–and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn’t much.”
By the time our meals concluded and the conversation dried enough to venture our way out we’d successfully managed to stay and be thoroughly entertained for 2 and 1/2 hours. By this point, it was well past 7 and ready to turn to 8 and the place was filling up, a perfect time to make our exit. Overall, the restaurant was definitely a little pricey, which you might want to keep in mind, but I think the nostalgia and atmosphere are worth it. This was one of the best experiences I’ve had and one of my most cherished memories with my mom. It’s definitely a fun experience for those who are quite fond of theme eateries and, of course, Alice.
Sinead is recognized by her peers for her appreciation of the bold and whimsical. Armed with her scissors and thread, she loves to create garments that incorporate shape, print and texture. An aspiration that has held unfaltering since she first cut up Barbie’s ball gown.