I was only in Japan last summer but I couldn’t resist a $550 return sale fare (thanks Jetstar), so I jetted back there recently! This time I set out to try a few themed restaurants which I didn’t get to try last time. First up on the list was Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant (絵本の国のアリス), an Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
The restaurant is located <5 minutes from the JR Shinjuku station, but is located on the underground level B2, so it can be a bit hard to find from the street level (look out for the sign in Eng/Jap). We actually weren’t able to get in the first night we visited as they were booked out, so we made a reservation for the next night. When the lift doors open, a hostess dressed like Alice takes you through a large door resembling a giant book into the restaurant. It’s dimly lit and busy, but it looks magical with many Alice-themed waitresses walking around, a grand chandelier on the ceiling and cartoons on the walls.
We’re seated in a booth and receive an amazing welcome – a notice that there is a ¥500 cover charge per person, 10% service charge on the bill and that each person much order 1x food item and 1x drink – welcome to an expensive dinner! Once this is out of the way, we’re presented with a menu which contains pop up pictures on the front and back to keep us entertained.
To kick us off, we’re given some complimentary crackers with a sweet potato and pesto/cream-cheese dip. Nice nibbles while we wait for our food.
My hot chocolate is the first of the orders to come out and it’s very underwhelming. It has been served lukewarm and tastes like chocolate powder with water – it doesn’t taste milky or sweet. I’m very disappointed.
Our first main is the fried prawn sushi, served up looking like a caterpillar. It tastes good, but little did I know it would be downhill from here.
The pizza is comes out next and is quite small – it’s slightly larger than an envelope. It looks and smells tasty but in reality was quite bland and needed salt and seasoning. My friend started dipping her slice in the soy sauce from the sushi which made it taste better.
Our last savoury dish was the spaghetti ragu, artfully presented like the cheshire cat. Once again, it looked and smelled tasty but it lacked flavour. A big dose of salt would’ve helped!
From here onwards, we moved to desserts with the vanilla creme brulee and macaron. Beautifully presented, this dessert was a nice surprise from the mains – the creme brulee was smooth with a thin crackly top, and the chocolate macaron had some nice crunch to it.
Our last dessert was the mixed berry parfait, which contained layers of whipped cream, ice cream, cornflakes and mixed berries, all topped with sweet puff pastry. The pastry was a bit hard and wasn’t that nice, but otherwise the contents underneath were ok.
Although the Alice-themed restaurant contains some sense of allure, charm and fantasy, my overall experience was quite disappointing and I wouldn’t return. The food was not up to standard, their dining rules made the meal more expensive than other restaurants (which serve better tasting food), and the restaurant only served up a visual theme rather than an actual experience. Many other themed restaurants in Japan have entertainment of some sort which makes you feel a part of the theme, justifying the cover charge. Would I return? Nope. Unless you’re an Alice in Wonderland die-hard fan, you’re better off visiting a different themed restaurant.
Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant (絵本の国のアリス)
〒160-0021 東京都新宿区歌舞伎町1-6-2 T-wing ビルB2
Ph: +81 3-3207-9055