My favourite Disney film is Aladdin. You've got a badass princess with a tiger as her freakin pet (although I suspect animal rights groups might have some issues with this), a monkey wearing a fez and a blue genie. However it's not cute and in Japan, the land of kawaii, cute goes. Therefore it probably is no surprise that in Tokyo alone, there are 6 chains of Alice in Wonderland themed restaurants and I headed to Alice's Fantasy Restaurant in Shinjuku.
This visit almost didn't happen. Tokyo without a doubt is one of the most confusing cities I have ever been to. EVER. We stayed in Shibuya (renowned for its multiple zebra crossings) and each night, trying to remember how to get out of the right exit of the subway with its millions of exits was exhausting, overwhelming and had me on the brink of hysteria each time.
Shinjuku station is no easier. In fact it is the world's busiest station. Unfortunately instead of using the instructions which were clearly stated on the website, we decided to use the photographic step-by-step guide someone posted on their blog when they reviewed the restaurant (I won't name and shame when they were so clearly trying to be helpful). It was a 17 step / photo guide so I figured "jeez, this place must be tricky to get to" and the photos looked straightforward. It wasn't. It took us half an hour to find this place when it should have taken 5 minutes. Oh the shame.
As we triumphantly raced towards the entrance, it looked like this.
FYI on top of the flat stack of books are the fake models of food that seems to be this crazy rage in Japan
Panic sets in. We did not wander around Shinjuku for half an hour for this place to be shut!! But then as you approach the door, this happens
There are little nods
And smack in your face references
OOOh and so the Alice experience begins. The menu is in a book of course.
The drinks menu was a deck of cards of course.
This was a Magic of Cheshire Cat with peach liqueur and herb tea. I love how sweet and innocent this drink looks. It's like what 8 year old girls must think cocktails are like. And it tasted like ice tea and sweets.
Alice's Fantasy Restaurant is a surreal dining / drinking experience and if you're going to go, you have to have the right spirit to embrace its cute and quirky ways. We went quite late on a Saturday night without making a booking but I would suggest it's worth booking if you went at prime time. Plus the whole Alice in Wonderland theme must have made a lasting impression on me because when I went to the arcades and hired fancy dress the following week, I chose this...