Sailor Moon Café 2017 Review
As I’m sure you’re probably aware (and if you’re not – surprise!), Sailor Moon cafes have opened up for a limited time online in four different cities across Japan – Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka.
The cafes all feature the same Sailor Moon-themed menu, offering up an impressive selection of 13 different foods, drinks, and desserts inspired by characters and items that appear in the show.
Thanks to the absolutely wonderful people over at Patreon who support Tuxedo Unmasked, I had an opportunity to go to the Sailor Moon Cafe to write up this review.
I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry. Let’s eat!
While I’ve been to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka all at different times during my long tenure in Japan and found them all to be lovely places, I decided to visit the Tokyo Cafe since… well, I live in Tokyo. So please be aware that all information here is based on the Omotesando Box location. The menu is the same everywhere and, as near as I can tell, so are the decorations, but some of the venue details may differ slightly.
With that out of the way, let’s break this down into parts!
As someone who frequents the themed cafes that crop up often throughout Japan, I have to say that the Sailor Moon Cafe did things right – and they start strong even before you reach the door.
The walkway leading to the entrance of the venue (and where you’ll be lining up on busier days) is lined with posters of the Inner Senshi’s bows. While it would have been nice to showcase everyone, including the Outer Senshi, I suppose I’m happy that the lines aren’t long enough to necessitate that.
Once you’re inside, they really bring the ‘WOW’ factor! In addition to having several floor-to-ceiling banners featuring both the Inner and Outer Senshi for you to take selfies with, the walls are adorned with the Sailor Soldiers in their adorable waitress costumes with cookies in the shape of their planetary symbols.
On each table, you’ll find a paper placemat (one of four (?) designs; given out at random) and a plastic one (also random!) for you to take home.
In case that wasn’t enough for you, they also had songs from throughout the Sailor Moon anime running the whole time and a projector advertising the ongoing musical and its 2018 DVD release. Though most of the songs were the typical opening and ending songs you’d expect, they also had a few songs by the Three Lights, leading me to believe that they were playing the Sailor Stars Best Song Collection.
Not that I mind (since that was my first Sailor Moon cd ever, and I rather like it), but it would have been nice to get some of the more obscure character songs or maybe La Soldier from the musicals.
Overall, I’d say that they did a great job bringing together an exciting Sailor Moon feeling to the place – something that’s very difficult to do and that many cafes don’t succeed in, since these places are open for a limited time only.
My one gripe on the ambiance would be that the place is simply way too dark and the lighting incredibly harsh and yellow. I know that the purpose of these places is to have a good time and enjoy the experience, but in the age of social media, I find it bizarre that they’d have lighting that’s so… unflattering to photography. But that’s just a small gripe.
If you’re anything like me, the main draw to these themed cafes is seeing how inventive they can get with the menu in keeping with the theme, and once again the Sailor Moon Cafe doesn’t disappoint.
Offering three main dishes, four drinks, and six (!!!) different desserts, the Cafe had something to offer almost any fan – from those who want the most Sailor Moon impact to those who put more emphasis on the actual quality of the food.
The menu includes:
- Usagi’s Sleepyhead Croissant Sandwiches
- Luna and Artemis’ Best Friend Burgers
- Tuxedo Mask’s Black-as-Night Curry (w/ Rose Petals)
- Sailor Moon Mango Cream Smoothie
- ChibiMoon Strawberry Milk Smoothie
- Disappearing Luna-P Cotton Candy Soda
- Haruka and Michiru’s Forbidden… Smoothie
- Silver Millennium Pancakes
- Rainbow Moon Chalice Parfait
- Shabon Spray Cheese Cake
- Hikawa Shrine’s Burning Mandala Anmitsu (a syrup-covered bean-jam with fruit)
- Supreme Cream Thunder
- Love Me Chain Waffle
Unfortunately, time – and stomach space – made it impossible for me to personally sample everything on the menu, but I can review those that I did eat and at least describe the highlights of those I didn’t get a chance to.
I (together with my unnamed compatriots) ordered the three main dishes since, frankly, they were all too awesome to pass up on. Going by first impressions alone, I’d say that the Luna and Artemis hamburgers definitely win the day, while Tuxedo Mask’s black-monstrosity sounds kind of horrifying. Croissant sandwiches? The safe choice, clearly.
Luna and Artemis’ Best Friend Burgers
Considering the reaction at my table, those around us, and from what I see online, I think these are probably the stars of the show.
They just look absolutely adorable, they do a great job at keeping with the characters’ likenesses, and the food is reasonably good to boot! And hey, a moon made of cheese! It can’t get much better than that.
The only things going wrong for this item is that they’re pretty hard to eat since the fillings have exactly zero desire to stay in the buns and that Luna burger is the most unholy shade of blue you can imagine. Your mouth will be blue. Your lips will be blue. Your fingers will be blue when you’re done with this. But hey, still a winner!
Tuxedo Mask’s Black-as-Night Curry
Considering that I’m a pretty big fan of curry and that, in most reasonable circles, curry is most affirmatively not black, I had my doubts about this dish. However, I was actually quite pleasantly surprised!
The dish consists of a large mound of rice with a very mild/sweet Japanese-style curry (with beef? pork? in it) poured over the top, and inside is a semi-hard boiled egg. It was a lot better than I expected!
No real complaints about this one, other than that I think the theming was a bit half-hearted. Other than the Tuxedo Mask wafer sticking out of the top and the rose petals sprinkled in it, there really wasn’t much Sailor Moon about this.
Usagi’s Sleepyhead Croissant Sandwiches
The unexpected sleeper hit – if you’ll forgive the totally-intended pun – of the evening, these croissant sandwiches were actually pretty good.
The theming seems a bit dubious at first, but when you take a look at the dish as a whole, the croissants make for some nice crescent moons in their own right, the soup has a moon floating in it, and the paper underneath uses the same design as Usagi’s bedsheets. So not bad!
The sandwiches are filled with egg, bacon, onions, and avocado. They were a lot heartier than I thought they’d be, so I’d definitely not hesitate to recommend them.
Downsides? Surprisingly, for being what I thought would be the most boring thing on the menu, I was quite impressed.
Unfortunately, I didn’t order any drinks so I can’t comment on anything first hand, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the amazingness of the Disappearing Luna-P Cotton Candy Soda.
I’m not sure if this is also a “thing” in the west (but I’m sure it must be?), but for awhile there was a popular trend in Harajuku and other cafes where they’d give you seltzer water together with a glass filled with brightly-colored cotton candy. You pour the carbonated water over the cotton candy, it dissolves, and you get flavored soda. That’s essentially what this is here, and it’s just as traumatizing watching Luna-P
die melt away as you imagine.
While I desperately wanted to try all of the desserts, I also kind of don’t want to die before turning 32, so I was forced to keep it down to three. It was a tough choice, but after considering the looks and potential for deliciousness, I finally went for the following.
Silver Millennium Pancakes
I mean, when you stop and think about it, this item pretty much sells itself. There’s literally nothing bad about it.
Characters? Check. Theming? Check. Pancakes? Double-check.
I assure you that it looks more appetizing in person. The dish features two pancakes with a cream over the top together with various fruits such as bananas, kiwis, and strawberries. There’s even a white-chocolate moon and white-sugar specks to serve as stars on the midnight-blue plate!
You also get the opportunity to channel your inner Queen Beryl (… or Sailor Pluto, depending on who you ask?) and take your revenge on these pancakes, but I can’t recommend doing this in front of small children.
Rainbow Moon Chalice Parfait
This was probably the most risky of the dessert items simply because you don’t really know what you’re going to get. While you know that it’s a parfait… I’ll be honest: Japan has a pretty mixed record over what it’s willing to consider a parfait.
And this is what lands on your table. Not altogether a bad impression, more just… confusing? You get decorative cream at the bottom (all the same flavor, just colored) in what I assume is meant to be the colors of the four Inner Senshi, Uranus, Neptune, and white/Moon.
The dessert itself is a dome of cherry Jell-O resting atop a goblet full of cream/pudding/something poured atop granola and various fruits.
If you want to take pictures and aren’t actually hungry for dessert, I would absolutely recommend this item. It looks absolutely gorgeous. If, however, you’d actually like to eat something, I would hate to ruin our good relationship by suggesting this as an option. It’s not bad, exactly. Just… weird.
Love Me Chain Waffle
Choosing between which of the equally-tempting Inner Senshi desserts I’d order was a challenge, but it ultimately came down to the simple fact that I love waffles, and will generally order anything on a menu that has “waffle” written in its vicinity. Forgive me, I am weak.
These aren’t the crunchy, or even soft, waffles that I would normally expect. Instead, they were rather dense. Almost like a cross between a fluffy pancake and a dense cookie, I guess? Definitely not bad!
The stack of three is served with mangoes, two dollops of ice cream, and two cookies – one themed after Sailor Venus’ transformation stick, and Sailor Moon’s brooch, but orange. The red bow in colored sugar and the glasses were a nice touch!
I was actually pretty impressed with this one. Despite it being a pretty generic cafe-style dessert, and the fact that I actually don’t care for mangoes, they did a great job getting the theming just right to make this feel like a dish that brings Minako immediately to mind. I’d definitely recommend it.
As someone who’s been to 4+ Sailor Moon cafes at this point – and at least 3-4x that number when it comes to other anime and video game cafes – I was pleasantly surprised by what a good job they did with this place. The menu is definitely not cheap, but that comes with the territory.
I’m not sure I’d recommend going along, but if you have some friends who are as enthusiastic about Sailor Moon as you are, this is an excellent thing to do together and a lot of fun. They also have exclusive goods featuring the cast in their waitress costumes, so it’s nice to have the option of taking these designs home with you.
Overall, I was quite impressed! I really hope they maintain this level of quality with the next one they do.