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
Here is another gem in Jiyugaoka. I noticed it as we were entering Lupicia, but had recognized it from a Japanese magazine I subscribe to. My photographs do not do this charming two story English style cottage justice. It was really cloudy that day and I just couldn't seem to get the lighting right.
I had read about St. Christophers Garden in a coffee and tea magazine I love and it was definitely on my list of places to check out while I was in Tokyo. I knew I was going to love it right from the get go. The iron steel gate, the inviting tearoom sign and all the lush greenery. They have flowers 365 days of the year, with variations for every season.
St. Christophers Garden holds seminars for the public on traditional English tea (2nd and 4th weeks of the month on Thursdays). Hisayo Shibasaki is the instructor in charge of the seminars. In 1998 she won the award for International Table Decorator and is also a Licensed Tea Master in Japan. The seminars cost 5000 Yen which includes tea and cake.
Just to give you an idea of the topics they cover month to month, I'll list the seminars for the past few months.
This is what their typical Afternoon Tea looks like. This photo is from their web site.
There is a sign near the garden that states children under 6 not allowed. It was very quiet inside and more of an adult gathering place.
So quaint and coy...it's the perfect place for tea on a rainy day.
This is the entrance to the tearoom. It is quite formal.
They have a little boutique on the side where you can purchase gifts after you're all done with tea.
Happy tea time!