Swallowtail butler cafe has set the standard to butler’s cafes in Japan. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular franchise as well. Located at the famous Otome Road in Ikebukuro, the butler cafe is always packed with women looking to unwind and being attended to by well-dressed butlers. Whether you’re a Japanese pop culture junkie who read Black Butler day in and night out, or simply a curious butler cafe-goers, what can you expect from the experience?
Swallowtail Butler Cafe: Being greeted like a royalty
“Okaerinasaimase, Ojou-sama.” a smartly-dressed staff will greet you at the doorway as you enter the establishment. “Welcome home, my Lady.” the butler bowed down to you with perfect smiles on their faces. You’ll be escorted by one butler, often with a footman, inside your establishment. As said by one of the butlers, when you come to Swallowtail, you’re the Lady of the house. And they will treat you as such. Once the greeting at the front door was done, you’re going to be led down a gorgeous room highly reminiscent of Victorian décor. Your day as the Lady of the house starts here.
You’re not supposed to do anything by yourself. Anything. And that includes pouring down yourself a cup of tea. Don’t be surprised that a butler needs to escort you when you’re going to the restroom as well. This experience can seriously be an awkward one especially when you don’t know what you’re expecting. But you’ll get used to it soon enough!
Swallowtail Butler Cafe: The Décor and the Little Things
A huge chandelier made out of Swarovski crystals is likely going to be the first thing that caught your eyes. The building exterior was so ordinary that being engulfed in the Victorian decor and atmosphere inside felt a bit disorienting.
The Victorian decor is definitely stunning. Apparently, Swallowtail custom-made many pieces of furniture here. They even have their very own set of custom-made ceramics. Swallowtail original porcelain cup is explained in their “Cup Selection” menu on their website. One of the cup selections is named “Blue Butterfly” crafted by Okura Toen. And apparently, you can pick your own favorite teacups if you’ve been “repeatedly returning home”.
The little details. You’re given a small bell decorated with a little ribbon on top. Every time you need your butler (or when you need anything, really), ring your bell. You’re also not supposed to get up by yourself. As mentioned before, your butler will escort you anywhere.
You will have your butler explaining to you each and every one of your dishes and beverages as they serve them. If you’re an avid anime fan or at least have watched Kuroshitsuji, you’ll notice this. How Sebastian the butler always explained the menu he served to his Young Master the Earl at every meal. Interested in experiencing a taste of having your own butler literally at your beck and call? The Swallowtail Butler Cafe is here to give you the experience.
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Swallowtail Butler Cafe: The Menu
The menu at Swallowtail Butler Cafe changes on a monthly basis. So you probably don’t need to worry about coming here often and be greeted by the same thing. Swallowtail Butler Cafe created a Special Menu served only at a limited time. For example, at the time of this writing, a limited menu dessert named “灯火” (Tomoshibi) is served from January 4th to January 29th only. Another option available from January 16th to 29th, Homemade Zenzai with matcha is also a limited-time option for the menu.
They are serving small portions. I don’t recommend going here for their Dinner menu if you want a full, satisfying meal after a long day. In the current Special Menu, “Risotto with Japanese Seven Spring Herbs” is one of the smallest servings. It is literally miniature-like. But you’re not here to get full, anyway. You’re here to be treated like an Ojou-sama. Or a Danna-sama. Whichever you prefer.
Go all-out with your experience, be a royalty
A lot of Japanese Swallowtail-goers take the roleplaying to a great extent. There is no dress code in place. But most people who go, they go with their best dresses. Or with a cosplay. And simple lolita or aristocrat cosplay is just common. So don’t be surprised finding girls impeccably dressed with their impressive frills and sometimes, wigs. They’re serious about their butler cafe and being the lady of the establishment.
Now for a traveler you may not be able to afford over the top costume. Don’t worry, you won’t be treated any less because of it. But if you want to take your experience up a level, then dress up to your status as the lady of the house.
Don’t expect a maid cafe experience here. The Swallowtail Butler Cafe is a far cry from the moe-moe-kyun experience you’ll experience at most maid cafes. Elegant and sophisticated, expect a fine dining experience with a twist. Still have problems imaging what it’s like? Take a virtual tour through this report to the butler cafe:
Addressing the language Issue
Swallowtail Butler Cafe is growing the number of butlers who are able to speak English. They have also made improvements with their websites in recent years. The Swallowtail cafe website made changes as they accommodate more international visitors. If you specify that you’re going to need a butler who can speak some English, then they would provide the service to you to the best of their ability. However, you will find that understanding some Japanese would make the experience so much complete.
The butler speaks to you their practiced scripts about your food and beverages in their soothing tone. Those who watch hours of Sebastian explaining to Ciel about his afternoon tea, dinner, lunch, and breakfast menu would be familiar with the process. And everything is spoken in Japanese. Therefore, those who have been wishing to experience butler cafe because of pop culture would greatly appreciate this. But to those who come in because of simple curiosity may not live the experience it offers. But if you’re brave enough to experience the butler cafe anyway—why not?
Currently traveling in Japan but can’t make it to the Butler Cafe?
The reservation process requires you to plan this in advance. But traveling sometimes just doesn’t give you such a luxury. But Swallowtail has a few boutique stores that you can visit. In Shinjuku, you can have a look at “Patisserie Swallowtail Annex” that is essentially a cake shop. And just across the butler cafe, you can find Swallowtail Gift Shop. Here, discover a boutique cake shop where you can buy confiture, packaged scones, candies, baked cakes, teas, and even Swallowtail original merchandise. The place is perfect if you’re looking to find elegant souvenirs to bring home.
Interested in experiencing butler cafe yourself?
The Swallowtail Butler Cafe website provides you with an English Guide to help you reserve a spot. The guide addresses cancellation rules as well. Their website indicates “Tea Time” from 10:30 am – 6:30 pm daily, while “Dinner Time” is 6:50 pm – 9:15 pm. The cafe differentiates the menu between tea time and dinner are different. The butler cafe is located at the Otome Road. Here’s a more precise address of the Swallowtail butler cafe in Ikebukuro:
〒170-0013 東京都豊島区東池袋 3-12-12 正和ビルB1F
You can find the adddress in English below:
Masakazu Building B1F 3-12-12 Higashi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku , Tokyo 170-0013