Clarissa and I left the house early in the morning and set out to Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Ginza district of Tokyo. It's like 5th Avenue, but ten times more luxurious. I'm not sure how many of you know this, but if you arrive right when the department store opens its doors, customers are in for a special treat. A true demonstration of Japanese hospitality. I wanted Clarissa to experience this in all its glory.
As soon as the department stores open, every employee is lined up neatly waiting to greet customers. Traditionally they bow and welcome you to the store with an enthusiastic "irasshaimase!" which roughly translates to "welcome and please come in".
Clarissa thought this was really over the top and a little strange.
We were both so excited because there was so much to see.
Harrods The Plantation Rooms Tea Room is located on the Fourth Floor...
and David Myers Cafe on the Sixth Floor. Ladurée Salon de The on the Second Floor.
Ladurée Salon de The is located on the 2nd floor of the luxurious Mitsukoshi Department Store in Ginza. You'll find a little bit of Paris right there in that little nook. That's where we decided to have breakfast.
A table right by the window with a fantastic view.
Busy street below...
with lots to see.
Matching china, gorgeous menu, and embossed paper napkins...
everything was so charming. Sterling silver tea pots...
and little details like customized handle covers for the tea pots!
Clarissa ordered herself some breakfast: eggs and bacon, and a pot of tea.
And then we ordered some desserts...
Although it was cloudy and misting that morning, we enjoyed every minute of our time together.
Ginza Mitsukoshi 2F, 4-6-16 Ginza Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8212, Japan
BVLGARI in Tokyo has two cafe locations where you can sit back, relax and enjoy a quiet meal in an exquisite setting. I passed the one in Ginza, but didn't have an opportunity to go in so when I was in Omotesando Hills doing some last minute shopping, I made sure to go in.
Bulgari Il Cafe is a restaurant located in the Harajuku neighborhood of Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan. It is located on the second floor of the Gyre building, across the street from Omotesando Hills.
This upscale cafe is owned and operated by an Italian company that owns Bulgari Hotels. The interior is designed by Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio & Partners, and is very modern with glass walls, black leather chairs, and teak floors.
You're definitely going to need reservations if you want a seat indoors in the middle of summer (which I highly recommend by the way). We were lucky that they had space for us outside, but if you know anything about Tokyo in the summer you know that it's HOT and HUMID.
We were taken outside to the patio area where we were seated at a lovely table. Spacious deck and beautiful greenery surrounded us.
I'm all about details so I knew I was going to love this place once the menus...
and napkins arrived.
BVLGARI Brunch Box includes three kinds of appetizers, a pasta dish, Sautéed Sea Bass with Marinated Eggplant and Green Beans, three kinds of desserts (including one piece of their famous BVLGARI chocolate) and drink (coffee, tea or chocolate drink).
Iced coffee for my cousin and Iced Tea for me.
The menu is Italian cafe food - full of sandwiches, pastas, and handmade chocolates.
And on your way out...
if you feel inclined to take home a little souvenir or maybe a special treat for a loved one...
check out their gorgeous display case full of handmade chocolate gems and chocolate dipped fruit and nuts.
The packaging is to do die for.
Here's the other cafe at the Ginza location...
The service was excellent and the food portions were surprisingly generous. My cousin and I split the brunch box and still couldn't finish everything. We would have liked to purchase some more chocolates, but as we all know, quality always stomps quantity. One chocolate for each of us.
GYRE 2F, Jingumae 5-10-1, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo
I can't understand why we don't have a Mariage Fréres in New York City? They have 15 locations in Japan alone! It drives me completely nuts. Luckily I had the opportunity to stop into the one in Ginza on my last trip to Japan.
Mariage Fréres Ginza is right in the heart of the Ginza district, down a small street off the main Chuo-dori Street. This most prestigious of Japan's Mariage Fréres stores has a graceful, wood-paneled facade, with wrought iron window bars upstairs that reflect its French origins.
Step inside Mariage Fréres Ginza and you are greeted by a very inattentive yet knowledgeable staff - as well as a wallful of teapots and tea canisters, as varied in shape and color as the kinds of tea offered here. I have to say, the sight of those oversized tea canisters set my heart aflutter. They also had books about tea and other little accessories.
The Mariage Fréres Ginza is comprised of a restaurant, tea museum, tea emporium and tea salon.
Their tea menu reads like a book. A staggering selection with exclusive teas not available in all their stores. I couldn't resist picking up a few teas while in the shop.
First one I chose was the Paris-Ginza, which is an exclusive flavored black tea blend.
The second one I chose was the Tokyo Breakfast Tea, a yuzu black tea.
I couldn't resist purchasing this Sel Matcha, a tea flavored Matcha salt that can be used for cooking or flavoring savory items. I might just sprinkle a little on my popcorn.
The last thing I picked up before heading out was some Moon Palace Tea, a blue tea from Thailand. Of course, that's only after I managed to get the attention of a nice young man, who was more than eager to help me choose some teas. The two French men standing near the counter barely glanced my way when I asked for assistance. The young man who finally did end up helping me (and I must have spent a good half hour smelling more than a dozen teas) was very patient and knowledgeable about the MF tea line. He answered all of my questions and showed a great passion for tea. In the end he suggested I might like the Moon Palace Tea so I bought it.
In conclusion, I thought the shop was gorgeous and the location is ideal, but I'm not sure I'll be returning to this particular location to pick up my teas in the future.
More on the specifics of the teas in a later post.
Mariage Fréres Ginza
Suzuran-Dori, 5-6-6 Ginza
Phone. : 03 3572 1854
If you're shopping for tiaras, cosmetics or fine pearls while in Tokyo, you know you'll need to take a small tea break at some point. Lucky for us, Mikimoto has it's own Lounge where you can savor sweets made by Japan’s famous patissier, Hideo Yokota, and special tea blends available only at this location. Toyoo Ito, a Japanese architect that designed multiple buildings in Japan and all over the world, designed the world’s best pearl distributor Mikimoto’s boutique in Ginza.
This year the Mikimoto company will be celebrating their 120th anniversary!
Read about Kokichi Mikimoto and the origins of these highly revered pearls here.
The have a gorgeous selection of desserts. This is the menu that is displayed in the lobby before entering the elevators to the 3rd floor.
We didn't need reservations this time because it was a little late in the afternoon, but if you're planning on visiting I highly recommend making reservations in advance.
It was definitely very posh and Clarissa was ultra excited to have tea and dessert. A lot of tea lounges require children to be at least 6 years of age, but Clarissa is a very well-behaved young lady so they made an exception.
If you like everything you try, you can buy the teas to go before leaving.
The space is airy and full of natural night.
Recognize these sugars?
We had an excellent hostess that told us all about Mikimoto's exclusive tea blends.
She brought out all the teas for us to smell and allowed us to look and touch all the dry leaves.
All their pastries are made by Chef Hideo Yokota. It was so difficult deciding on just two!
The Pearl - A passionfruit parfait...is their signature dessert for obvious reasons. This photo does not do it justice.
All their original tea blends are organic and from China. They have three and we ordered all three ^_^
I highly recommend you visit the Mikimoto Lounge when you're in Ginza. The service is excellent, but the desserts and tea are even more outstanding.
I made this string of pearls out of our white sugar balls a while back. I couldn't stop thinking about them when I was enjoying myself in the Mikimoto Lounge. How truly decadent and elegant a simple thing like sugar can be if presented in the right manner.
2-4-12 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo
11 am to 7 pm Monday through Sunday