Tokyo can be overwhelming. For a city always on the go, there sure are a lack of places for people to sit and just chill for a moment from a busy day of hauling 45 different shopping bags and walking up and down endless flights of stairs. Well, do yourself a favor before you go to Tokyo, and book yourself a place where you can enjoy a relaxing 80 minute dining experience, and where the staff will seriously make sure you are as pampered as can be. Book yourself a table at Swallowtail, right in Ikebukuro! Just schedule a day to go check out all the amazing anime culture or do shopping in Sunshine 60, then hop over to Swallowtail for your reservation time. Ensure some relaxation while never leaving the city.
What, exactly, is Swallowtail? Simply put, it’s a butler cafe. But, boy, is it an extravagant one. It’s such a convenient way to relax and get away from the busy streets! They do everything for you there to make you feel like you’ve been transported to Victorian England. They start by greeting you at the elaborate, wooden, European door to welcome you home. After all, you are their Lady, or Lord for that matter, and will address you as such. Once inside the foyer, you can check in whatever items you would like and a butler carries your bags for the whole party to a stunningly decorated dining area.
This place is outstanding. There are several single, dark, wooden, tables for one person parties along the wall with light curtains dividing them for privacy. In the corners of the room are booths. In the middle of it all are larger tables for groups of three or more. Crystal chandeliers hang from the crown molded ceiling, and set the atmosphere aglow with sheer elegance. The wooden tables compliment the floral upholstered and carved chairs. Thick, red curtains hang off one wall, making the whole place just scream luxury. There is even a fireplace and mantle that really make you feel like you just stepped into a completely different era… and country. Once you take in your surroundings, you’ll start to notice everywhere are butterflies in small places. Since Swallowtail’s logo is a butterfly, they make sure it’s on pretty much everything. There are little, white stitched butterflies on their napkins and etched into all their mirrors. Some desserts come with gold butterflies printed onto their chocolate. Even the tail coats the butlers wear have swallowtail stitched into the back. It’s just one of those small details to show you how classy this establishment is.
When the butlers take your coats at the front and lead you and your party, with your bags, to your table, this also sets the stage that they will be doing everything for you. I mean that, quite seriously, everything. They place your bags in baskets designated to go under the table and begin to pull your chair out for you for you to sit down. And they do this in a clock-ways rotation. Everything they do is in clock-ways rotation, starting at the head of the table. This is actually a pretty important tip because you should probably put someone there who understands/speaks Japanese in the seat closes to where your butler is standing. This is who the butler will primarily be talking to. In orientation to the table, the butlers stand at the head of the table, the side furthest from the door you entered, and will talk to the person on their left, mainly.
After you are all seated, your butler will handed out the menus (again, in clockwise rotation) and opened it up and asked us to review the house rules. Okay, yeah, there are some rules. Absolutely no phones are permitted, so that means no pictures. You are told your time is 80 minutes. They will fill that 80 minutes, trust me. You are given your bill 20 minutes before your departure time. They explain what you are allowed to order on the menu. They have a lunch, dinner menu and a dessert menu. If you go during lunch you aren’t allowed to order from the dinner menu and visa-versa. The dessert menu consists of two desserts; A European style dessert and a traditional Japanese style dessert. These two are options on their high tea set that is more expensive. Once your butler is done explaining the menu rules, he tells you another rule is that you are not allowed to refill your own tea. You are also not allowed to move plates off of your tiered high tea, if you get that. The butler must do it for you. You are also not allowed to go to the bathroom without accompaniment of a butler, I know what you’re probably thinking… and it’s, “What?!”.
But these are the rules. Remember, you are the Lord or Lady of the house, these are your butlers to use in such a manner. This is their job, and you are too important to refill your own tea. On the table there is a bell for you to ring if you need a refill, or want a new plate of food, or need to use the restroom. After the rules are explained you are given wine glasses filled with water and those butterfly embroidered napkins are placed in your laps. When you look over the menu and are ready to order, you ring the bell and your butler comes to take your order. Their lunch menu is actually really delicious. You can choose between high tea (which has finger sandwiches, flavored scones, and an assortment of desserts with a complimentary pot of your choice of tea) and pasta dishes (which also comes with tea and a bigger dessert. These desserts are actually the same as the high tea, just bigger and you only get one instead of three). I will clarify here that your high tea option is available all day. There were several options for food as well. You can also order just drinks if you’d like.
Now, if you are wondering if you can just pop into Swallowtail, you can not. You must place a reservation 2 weeks before your desired day and can only do it online! They have an English guide to help you through it.
You can find more about how to reserve a table at Swallowtail here: https://www.butlers-cafe.jp/swallowtail/company/reserve_en.html.
Be sure to read all the rules there, they have strict cancellation policies and you must show up with the number of people you reserved a table for or else there is a penalty fee! You can also easily find it from Otome Road! If you are facing the cosplay Animate’s front doors, just go right to the end of that block. From there, go one more block and there should be a Family mart with two K-books on top of it. On that corner, there are stairs going to the basement and a blue lit sign that says Swallowtail and you know you’re in the right place!