Thursday, April 22, 2010
Cos-Cha is a little hard to find, being in the middle of a bunch of little shops towards the north end of Akihabara. Go north along Chou-ou Dori to Kuramaebashi Dori, then turn left. Go another 3 short blocks west and turn left again. One short block, and it'll be on your right, on the second floor in the same building as Little BSD.
I'd kind of forgotten about Cos-Cha, having walked by it a couple of times before but not really wanting to check it out right away. However, I'm now getting down to the end of the list of cafes I haven't been to yet, and I was planning on hitting Little BSD (which I'd been putting off because of the table charge) when I saw the sign again for Cos-Cha. The advertisement saying "no table charge" tipped me over the edge.
Cos-Cha bills itself as a "cosplay cafe and kitchen". When I arrived, there were two maids, both in black sleeveless short French maids outfits. Other nights include different costumes, including a "bunny girl" event on Friday night. The French maids dresses are very distracting.
The room forms a kind of "L" shape, twisting around the kitchen. The front area is smoking only, and seating is at school desks for about 10 people. There's a big blackboard at this end, with a lot of announcements and pictures in chalk covering it. The back half of the L consists of 20 normal wooden laminate 2-person tables and chairs. The walls have a fake red brick covering, and 2 TVs were showing some program where maids were pulling practical jokes on people (such as serving sushi rolls packed with hot sauce, and a "look where I'm pointing" game that ends up with the maid delivered a really wicked slap to the face. The sound on the TV was turned down and j-pop played on the speaker system.
In Cos-Cha, the maids are referred to as "angels", which explains the logo. When I came in, the first angel asked if I wanted smoking, and when I said "no" she directed me to the back of the room. There were were 2 men in the smoking area, a couple sitting next to the windows, a salaryman working on a laptop in the corner below the TV, and three foreigners along the back wall to the left. Two of them seemed to be French, and they ignored me before leaving a few minutes later. The third foreigner seemed to be Latino, and he ignored me when playing video games on his cell phone. Most of the people headed out after while, but were replaced by another couple and several other regulars. The place felt somewhat empty, but there generally were several people in there at a time.
The angels are friendly and willing to chat, but will also leave you alone if you desire. Neither of the two there that night spoke English, and the first one commented later that the two Frenchmen hadn't tried talking with her at all. After I'd finished my meal, I spent some time chatting with her, and then teaching her the standard list of English phrases ("welcome", "can I take your order", etc.). I really should know better by now that I'm not going to get anything in return for the English lessons, but it is one way to make the time go by, and I'm guaranteed to get attention this way.
The menu is fairly extensive, with pastas, omelet rice and hamburg steak entrees running from 800 to 1500 yen. Soft drinks around 500 yen, mixed drinks and beer between 500 and 1000 yen, and large desserts for 1000 yen and up. There was also a special menu featuring three "Indian curry dishes" for about 1300 yen. I ordered a chicken curry that turned out to be a regular Japanese curry rice, a little spicier than normal but lacking any meat at all, so I don't know if that was supposed to be "Indian" or if the cook messed up the order. I didn't mind that much, because the serving was filling and the sauce was pretty tasty. (They also have lunch and tea time menus.)
Some of the dishes are marked "chu chu" and are a couple of hundred yen more expensive. Mine was a "chu chu" curry. What this means is that when my dish was brought out to me, the second angel knelt by the table, picked up the spoon, took the first spoonful of curry and blew on it for a few seconds to cool it down before spoon feeding it to me. After that I was allowed to feed myself. It's a fairly erotic experience, but you really have to be trusting that she's not coming off a cold or the flu. I also ordered an ice coffee, which was a dark roast in a large glass. It was strong enough to retain its flavor while the ice melted in it. The curry was 1280, the coffee 550 yen. If I'd stopped at that, it would have been a reasonable price for a maid cafe, especially as there's no table charge.
The real money is being made on maid photos. It's 1000 yen for just the photo of the angel. 1500 yen if you want a shot of two angels, or a picture of yourself with an angel. That's 1000 yen more than at most other cafes, and is the cost of an entree or dessert right there (or twice a normal table charge). On top of which, there weren't any drawings or embellishments, either. When the meal was over, my angel brought me over to the blackboard and asked what pose I wanted. I asked what her suggestion was, and she answered with either the heart or cat pose. So I joked "how about a "cat heart", so that's what I got. (You can also get a short maid video, or a 15 second "voice greeting" for 1000 yen each.)
Total for the evening came to 3330 yen. Normally, you pay at the table, but here you go up to the register near the door. I asked for a points card, and was told that yes, they do have one. Apparently my angel wasn't going to give it to me if I hadn't asked for it. 1000 yen per point. At 20 points you get an unspecified present.
3330 yen is definitely on the high side, but the food is good and the servings are big enough. If you're counting pennies, hold off on the maid photos and get that somewhere else. I think that this would have been a pretty standard experience if I didn't speak Japanese, but as it was my angel was very smart and easy to talk to (the second angel tended to giggle mindlessly just a bit too much) so I did enjoy myself. And I knew what I was getting into when I ordered the photo, so the final price tag wasn't all that unexpected. Overall, Cos-Cha was definitely worth visiting. And now I'm wondering what my angel looks like in a bunny girl dress...
Location: Back side of Akihabara. From Akihabara station, go west to Chuu-ou Dori, then north about 1 km to Kuramaebashi Dori. Turn left (you'll be heading to Schatzkiste), go three short blocks and turn west again. It'll be on your right, on the second floor below Little BSD.
Price: Moderate to high.
Cover: No cover.
Food: Wide variety of entrees, including different curries, pasta, hamburg steak and omelet rice in the 800 to 1500 yen range. Soft drinks around 500 yen, mixed drinks and beer between 500 and 1000 yen. Massive desserts from 1000 yen and up.
"Love": Drawing on the food in catsup for a couple hundred yen extra. Standard "welcome master" greetings when you arrive and leave. Certain entree and dessert items are a little pricier, but include the maid feeding you the first bite.
Outfits: This is a cosplay cafe, so outfits can change daily.
Photos: 1000 yen for just the maid. 1500 yen for either 2 maids, or yourself with a maid.
Wireless Internet: Yes.
Specialties: Cos-Cha is a cosplay cafe, so one of the main attractions is to see the maids in different costumes. There's also something of a school theme, with about 1/4 of the tables being made up of elementary school desks and a big blackboard along one wall.
Recommendation: Cos-Cha is actually one of the more fun places to go to, if you want a semi-erotic experience and can speak Japanese. But, watch out for the maid photo prices - that'll break your budget fairly quickly.