Thursday, January 28, 2010
Review: St. Grace Court
Golgo13_sniper requested this one, so here it is.
St. Grace Court is unusual in several ways. Now, "unusual" pretty much fits many maid cafes anyway, because they tend to look for themes that make them stand out from each other. St. Grace Court is an exception primarily because it's not located within the main Akihabara boundaries. Instead, it's at the outskirts on the south side of Kanda river. To find it, exit the Akihabara JR station for Denki Town, head west to Chuu-ou Dori, and turn left. Cross the Kanda river, then take the first left, the first right and the first left again. It's just behind the big steak restaurant, in the middle of the block on the left.
The next exception is the theme. This time, we have a "church" dedicated to Akihabara. Normally, the "sisters" are dressed in blue frocks, and the "dansou" (women as butlers) are dressed up as priests. However, this evening they were in the middle of a tie-in event with "Pia Carrot Yokoso", and the maids were in cosplay as characters from the anime.
There's a small smoking space on the first floor, just large enough to hold about 10 people. A staircase to one side leads to the main dining area in the basement. The ground floor walls are white and lined with posters. The basement is more somber, with purple walls, and dimmer lighting. Posters line one wall, pictures of the "sisters" are on another wall along with a cross, and a third wall shows the glossy photos - known in Japan as "bromides" available for sale. The fourth wall has tableware, glasses, and a small fridge with beer and soft drinks.
(Bromide of a maid in cosplay.)
The menus are in Japanese, but one or two of the maids can speak some English. The entrees include curries, pastas and hamburg steaks, in the 900-1500 yen range. Drinks are 300 yen if you get an entree or dessert. Desserts are 600-800 yen. Right now, they have set meal specials for 1400 to 1600 yen that includes a "cream stew poured over a hamburg steak" and a bromide photo. Bromide sets do not allow for a set drink (i.e. - soft drinks are full price). I got the bromide set hamburg steak, with water on the side. The steak had a cream sauce on top, and a small salad on the side, for 1450 yen. It was tasty, but not quite filling enough, so I also got a chocolate sponge cake for 600 yen. The cake was good, but with all of the whipped cream, was about 50% air. The entire night came to 2050 yen.
There were 2 customers on the first floor, and 6 in the basement. Most were salarymen, but one woman arrived who really seemed to be enjoying herself. The staff chatted to some of the regulars, but only for a few minutes at a time. In my case, though, they were willing to talk as long as I wanted. One maid was particularly friendly and a lot of fun to talk to. So I asked her about the shop, etc. Normally, they don't have maid photos, just the bromides. Maid photos are available randomly on certain event nights. They do have a points card, but it's 1500 yen per point, making it the priciest one I've seen so far. Cards can be redeemed for branded goods like coffee cups and saucers.
Overall, I enjoyed myself a lot. St. Grace Court is an interesting place, if you don't take the theme too seriously. It's kind of like some of the manga on the market. And, the prices are reasonable.
Name: St. Grace Court
Location: The other side of the Kanda river from the Akihabara station. Cross the river at Chuu-ou Dori, take the first left, the first right and the first left again. On the left in the middle of the block, 1st floor.
Cover: No cover.
Food: Pastas, curries and hamburg steaks from 900 to 1500 yen, soft drinks and beer, and desserts for 600-800 yen.
"Love": No special chants or greetings. No writing on the food.
Outfits: Blue nun-style frocks.
Photos: Bromides of the maids only. Maid photos only during certain random events.
Wireless Internet: (?) (No laptops in evidence when I was there.)
Specialties: A "religious"-themed cafe with "sisters" and "priests". During certain tie-ins with games or anime, the maids will dress up in cosplay for that show or game.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. The prices are reasonable (for a maid cafe), the staff is friendly and talkative and the food is good.