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05 August 2010

Otaku Ippiki goes abroad: Maid cafe "Cafe-Matsuri" @Hong Kong

This report is on Hong Kong's maid cafe "Cafe-Matsuri". This is my 2nd report on overseas maid cafes in 2010. The last (1st in this year) report was on Akiba-Kiss @Bangkok.

Over the past three years, I wrote about two maid cafes in HK. How is "Cafe-Matsuri" different from the two pioneer cafes?  Here's my report.
(Note: full marks is *****)

(日本語版は、こちらへ。The Japanese version is available here.)

[Location: ****]
Cafe-Matsuri is located between Mongkok旺角)and Yau Ma Tei油麻地), the all-time-busy shopping belts. It's very close to the otaku complex: Sino Centre(信和中心), and Maiderland (which I wrote about last year.).

After alighting at the Yau Ma Tei MTR station, it takes only a few minutes to walk to the cafe.

Matsuri1

If you coming from the south end of Nathan Road, please look for Dundas Street and turn right (head East).

Matsuri2

You'll immediately find a battered multi-tenant building, named "Hang Lung Mansion"(please see a photo).

Matsuri3

(This is a photo from inside.)


Matsuri4

On the G/F, you'll see two "modern" elevators. There is a catch using these elevators. The left one serves even floors only, and right one serves odd floors only. So it's better to take the left elevator. On the 8th Fl, you can easily find the unit #44, where Cafe Matsuri [CM] is located.

[Atmosphere/Interior: ***]
At the entrance, you must remove your shoes just like in a Japanese house(*1).
Compared to the ordinary maid-cafes in Akihabara, CM is very small, even smaller than the other maid-cafes in HK. It has four two-seater tables, and one sofa.

Matsuri10


Matsuri11

However it is very brightly lit. All the furniture is in white, and sunlight shines in through the window.

Matsuri12


Matsuri13r

The cupboard has lots of tablewares, and some display cups are from maid-cafes in Akihabara(please see photos)

Matsuri14

(These cups are from here and there in Akihabara.)

Matsuri15


[Foods: ***+]
The menu is limited in items such as beverages and some sweets, and light meals like sandwiches.

I ordered hot tea(served in a pot), and an apple pie, and home-made cookie. The tea, and the cookie costs HKD38, and HKD13 respectively. The cafe specialises in Western tea and Japanese tea(in Akiba style) culture. It has wide selection of tea leaves like an authentic tea lounges in upmarket hotels.

When you order tea, you will ask to select a cup from the cupboard. Finally, when the tea is served, maid-san said "Are you right-handed or left-handed ?". In Japan, it's very strange enquiry since most people are all in right-handed. As long as I know, "Wonder Parlour" (*2) does always make such enquiry to all clientele. After this enquiry, she said "Can I serve the 1st cup of tea ?"

Matsuri20

This is a very typical phrase in Japanese maid-cafes. After all is set up. She left the teapot with a pot warmer.  I'm interested in the Japanese style serving manners. Needless to say, the served tea is excellent.

Matsuri21

For the apple pie, it took a while to be served. I know the reason shortly. She made chocolate art like this(^^). It's very delicious.  (please see a photo)

For cookie, it tastes strong butter-rich.

[Maids' attitude/Service: ****]
When I visited CM, it has only one maid-san/Ms. LamLam(小藍籃, wearing glasses/Meganekko). According to the HP of CM, she is the maid-in-chief.

The uniform is quite standard. It's a long skirt uniform in black/white. (Sorry for no photo of maid-sans. Because they have no-photo policy.)

I feel, she can speak enough English to communicate with customers(*3).
As for LamLam-san, I can give full marks in terms of politeness and helpfulness(*4). However, I don't know that all the other maid-sans can serve customers like her or not. So I mark four stars in this section tentatively.

[Misc.]
After enjoying the tea session. I make some casual enquiries to LamLam-san regarding CM itself, and her Japanese experience. According to her, CM proudly aims "Authentic maid-cafe". She said that she had ever been to Japan and had visited the otaku hotspots. Her favorite maid-cafes are "Cure Maid Cafe"/Akihabara, and "Wonder Parlour"/Ikebukuro. Finally I realized the hidden scheme of CM. The features (like pot warmer, and right/left-handed enquiry) are influenced by "Wonder Parlour".

She said, "Perhaps, Are you a maid-cafe reporter, wondering around the world ?". I'm very surprised at this enquiry(^^). She continued to say, "Recently, I read your articles for Bangkok cafe, and Los Angles cafe. I'm very surprised to seeing the author."

[Overall: ***+]
O.K., CM is a much better cafe than I thought. Compared to the pioneer two cafes in HK, it may be the 1st choice for you if you don't visit any maid-cafes in HK.
In brief, CM is a follower of "Wonder Parlour" in HK style. I am highly appreciative of the spirit of establishing an authentic Japanese maid-cafe in HK because it's very challenging.

HK has British influenced tea culture. Most five star hotels in HK have its own tea lounges, and serve a High-tea in the afternoon. If you simply like to have delicious scones and sweets, it's better to visit these top notch hotels. CM apparently aims for the other stratum of customers, and seem to try to introduce Japanese-style tea culture(in Akiba style).

I really hope that CM will have long success in HK.

Matsuricards

(There are postcards[Left: Biscuit-san, Right: Ichigo-san], and the business card of Cafe Matsuri. )

[Note]
*1) CM has no slippers to visitors. I think that it's OK in a warm/hot season. But I think, CM may need to provide slippers to visitors during the mid-winter season since HK has a rather chilly winter season.

*2) "Wonder Parlour"[WP] is a famous maid-cafe in Ikebukuro/Tokyo. Although WP is a very small cafe, it has a devoted customer base.

*3) It's far better than my level of English, but it's not like native English speakers. However, it's not her fault as HK does not teach English much since after the Handover. It's rare to find good English speakers in HK today.

*4) LamLam-san's gestures, and expressions are like Japanese, not similar to typical HongKongers's one, I feel. I wonder if it's her own manner or not. In general, most HongKongers never smile to strangers [like Ms. Kelly Chan, known as "ice beauty"] even if they are receptionists, sales staff in cafes/restaurants/shops(*5).

*5) If you like to see ordinary-beauty HK-women, and their facial expressions, I highly recommend Bijin-Tokei/HK.

[Suggestions to 1st-time visitors]
*CM has irregularly shorten the business-hours. If you visit CM in the fixed date. It's better to ask CM for the business-hours in advance.

*CM has no signboard both outside the building and on the entrance of the building in GF. It's good print the location map and contact info from CM's homepage before your visit.

[Cafe/Restaurant DATA]
Name    : Cafe Matsuri
Address : Hang Lung Mansion 8F-44, Nathan Road 578-580, Hong Kong
Phone   : +852-9575-1707
Business time:
         Weekday:15:00 ~00:00[L/O 22:30]
             Fri:15:00 ~02:00[L/O  0:00]
             Sat:12:30 ~02:00[L/O  0:00]
     Sun/Holiday:12:30 ~00:00[L/O 22:30]

     Email   : cafe-matsuri@hotmail.com  [English, and Japanese available]
Official HP  : http://cafe-matsuri.blogspot.com/

[Related articles]
Otaku Ippiki goes abroad: [2010.04] Akiba-Kiss @Bangkok review
Otaku Ippiki goes abroad: [2009.10] Maiderland @Hong Kong review
Otaku Ippiki goes abroad: [2009.07] Torashabu @Singapore review
Otaku Ippiki goes abroad: [2009.01] Cafe Royal/T @Los Angels review
Otaku Ippiki goes abroad: [2008.10] Maid Date @Hong Kong review
Otaku Ippiki goes abroad: [2008.05] Cosafe @Singapore review


P.S.
Recently, I got a HK-frequent visitor card. It's must-have item for frequent visitors. This trip is my first trip after getting the card. As many recommended, it really shortens the time to clearing immigration. When I flashed the card to a security staff, I easily bypassed the very long queue with more than 50 people.

Pscards

If you have an Octopus card (smart card for train ride, and for many small payment in HK), you don't need to stand at ticket vending machines of HK Airport Express.
After all, I could get into Kowloon town near one hour after landing to HKG airport. Yes, It's world-class efficiency.

P.P.S.
When I took a taxi, I saw strange sticker on the back of a mini-bus.
It's "Fujiwara Tofu-ten"( <Initial D) (^^).

Psfujiwara

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Comments

so informative, thanks to tell us.

Posted by: StewayTepmemy | 30 September 2010 at 11:42 AM

hi, nice to meet you
i am a HK blogger (you can just call me 盲鬼) who just recently done a short review on all the maid cafe in HK. (and hopefully doing a tour to TW's maid cafe soon)

just saw your blog by accident today and found some reviews on the maid cafe in HK ^^
haven't seen much foreigner in maid cafes, you are the first i know in fact

there are two more maid cafes in HK if you wanna try them out
they are Alice & Rabbit and Cafe Dre@ming Akiba(but personally i don't suggest you to try out Alice & Rabbit)

hope i will be able to see you in a maid cafe in the future
cheers

Posted by: 天下第一盲鬼 | 08 October 2010 at 02:01 AM

>blinder_geist(盲鬼) san

Thanks for a comment. "Cafe Dre@ming Akiba" is interesting.
I'll drop at "Cafe Dre@ming Akiba" in my next trip to HK.

Posted by: don777 | 08 October 2010 at 02:53 AM

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