Japan’s newest restaurant is a testament to the country’s obsession with Kawaii, or “cute,” culture. It can refer to objects, actions, fashion, facial expressions, or just an overall spirit of charm or cuteness. Japan’s most famous Kawaii creature is probably Hello Kitty though Pokemon and other popular Japanese-style characters and stuffed animals are also good examples.
Kawaii Monster Cafe is the embodiment of Kawaii culture, designed to evoke a colorful, loud, flashy spirit. The cafe in Tokyo is a truly unique dining experience and designer Sebastian Masuda’s newest project. Visitors enter through the mouth of a monster, entering into a space filled with life-sized gummy bears, peppermints, cupcakes, and other sweets.
There are four different dining sections, each with its own aesthetic. The Mushroom Disco features psychedelic booths underneath giant fungi. The Milk Stand has bunny and unicorn heads drinking from baby-bottle chandeliers. The Bar Experiment room allows guests to drink inside the dim glow of a jellyfish, and the Mel-Tea Room surrounds guests with pillars of pastel macarons and frosted wainscoting.
The waitstaff fits the restaurant’s aesthetic, as well. Each waitress fits into one of five Monster Girl categories: “Baby” (sweet and kitten-like), “Candy” (neon and excitable), “Dolly” (in red bows and frills), “Crazy” (a gender-bending alien), and “Nasty” (a sexy cyber-goth).
The food, too, is dreamlike with a nightmarish edge. You can order the Painter’s Pasta, a plate of multicolored noodles on an artist’s palette, or the Colorful Poison Parfait Extreme, which is a mishmash of ice cream, cookies, frosting, and fruit.