Special post for my experience at Swallowtail Butler Cafe. I’m really relying on my memory since no cameras are allowed inside (and I’m typing this up like at 1 am, 2 hours I got back to the dorm ww) so I’m sorry if things get fuzzy. I’ll be throwing in bits and pieces of Japanese here and there without explanation so uhm… yeah ww Feel free to ask me anything about it. And…my writing style might be different for this post ww… First part is about the food and overall experience. (Jump to the fangirling)
23rd April (Dinner)
After meeting up with Alyssa and attending my one and only class for the day, I met up with Jinxie at Ikebukuro and we headed to Swallowtail Butler Café for our 7pm dinner booking. It was my first time going there so it was comforting to have someone who knew what they were doing, with me.
I never realised it but I’d actually passed by the entrance of Swallowtail Butler Café multiple times when I accompanied friends to K-Books, opposite the Swallowtail Gift Shop. There is a board at the top of the staircase, displaying all the sessions available at Swallowtail, and next to the time slots were indications of whether the Café was completely booked out for the session or not. The board was filled with the two characters 満席 in red, meaning all session were completely filled. I really doubt there is a day where you will see 空席 (Seating Available) next to it though.
We walked down the stairs to the entrance where a footman was there to greet us and confirm our arrival for our booking. He led us inside the main doors to a sofa where we waited for them to prepare our seats. The area felt like a nice, mini, cozy, antique lobby where you wait to be guided. Jinxie and I were talking in English so before we entered, the footman asked if we required the English menu while we were inside. We chose to use the Japanese menu because I wanted to see the original menu with all the descriptions about the teas and food.
Can we like take some time here to appreciate the attentiveness of this footman?! I wish I asked him his name aaaahhh skfdjaoseifalskjfoir I’m sure they’re all trained to be observant but it just felt nice to have someone be considerate.
I don’t know if it’s because of my Asian appearance but I usually get mistaken as a Japanese so it’s like they have this 当たり前 attitude towards me. Then there are some who just completely change their attitude when they realise I’m a foreigner. Let’s not talk about that. (EDIT: I’m referring to other shops and NOT Swallowtail. I realised after an ask how misleading this was. The men at Swallowtail are great, treat you with respect no matter who you are.)
While we were waiting for our seats to be prepared, a few people came out and their footmen and the house steward saw them off. I actually didn’t see their faces but there was this one footman who had a really nice voice. I was talking to Jinxie the whole time but when he said 「いってらっしゃいませ、お嬢様」from within the café, I stopped talking. I literally stopped talking. If you know what voices I’m obsessed with right now, you’ll know why. He sounded young and his voice was gentle yet he projected it really well. It wasn’t too high but it wasn’t low in the way that would give it some growly-ness. He only said that one line but that articulation of each syllable with crisp. I never got to hear that voice again when we went inside though.
When it was time for us to go in, the footman outside told us to open the door to the café. Jinxie turned the door knob but didn’t have to push. The house steward of the night opened the door from the inside and greeted us with 「お帰りなさいませ、お嬢様」. Our footman for the night was standing with him at the door and he also greeted us.
Both Jinxie and I had our handbags and an extra bag, mine being from what I bought at Rejet earlier that morning. The house steward who later introduced himself as Suwano, took our extra bags. Our footman, Furuya, introduced himself and took our handbags. Suwano then took our jackets and put them in the cloak room along with the bags he had taken before. Furuya hung our handbags on his left arm and led us to our table.
I felt a little guilty at how heavy my bag was since it had handouts and other things I needed for class but of course, Furuya acted like it was nothing. When Furuya introduced himself I kind of doki’d… My favourite character from Dia no Ace is called Furuya Satoru so I really wanted to squeal when he said his name. I don’t know how I kept it in!! I mean… I MEAN IT’S FURUYA. FURUYA GUYS!!! /shot
The table Furuya led us to wasn’t one that was on the open floor. It was one of the two-seaters on the right side of the cafe. The table area is built into the wall with sofa-like seats. It felt like a semi-enclosed, private space with the curtains on either side of the entrance of the are. Jinxie told me it was probably because this was her 4th time at the café so they prepared a special seat for them. On the opposite side of the room were single seats but in the same design, most likely for the Premium members who come quite frequently.
Furuya held the sides of the curtains up for each of us to allow us to be seated and placed the napkin on our laps. The napkin was a deep blue, the theme of Swallowtail and on one of the corners their butterfly symbol and flower was embroidered onto it in white. Furuya confirmed who was a returning guest and who was here for the first time, collected Jinxie’s membership card before bringing us a hand towel to clean our hands and our menu. During the time Furuya was gone, Suwano comes to our table and places an old-fashioned key to the cloakroom in a small box that was on the table. When Furuya returned, he explained the menu to us and placed a bell on the table. It was for us to ring when we were ready to order.
Our session was a dinner session meaning it was 2 hours and we could order the dinner menu. The menu for this month was Catherine. Dinner included 1 entrée, 1 soup, 2 main dishes, 1 dessert and 1 pot of tea.
I’d like to think we didn’t take that long to decide our order but the teas really stumped me. I wanted to try all of them. Once we decided what to order, Jinxie made me ring the bell to call Furuya, who was actually serving another table nearby.
I chose the Cabbage Cream Soup and the Strawberry dessert. (This totally had nothing to do with the fact that Seiya’s CD was released today. Nope.) I chose the Ruhuna Tea, which Furuya recommended. It was one of those strong black teas but still light at the same time. Maybe it’s because of the way the brew it. I’m no expert at tea but it was good and if you like Assam tea, you’ll probably like this too.
After we ordered, he poured us some water while we were waiting for our food. Our tea came first. On the platter were 2 white teapots with the Swallowtail butterfly symbol painted in blue on the bottom right, near the spout. At first, I really didn’t think anything of the cups he brought us until Furuya was gone. He brought me a blue cup. It matched my bag, my dress, my… everything. He brought a pink cup for my friend who was mostly pink too. I just… I think I just sat there gaping after Furuya once I realised what he did. It never occurred to me he’d take note of such a small detail. Are they all trained to do that?!
The cup I used for the Ruhuna tea was the Aynsley Asian Rose (Blue), an English tea cup.
Furuya poured the tea to half a cup and whenever I emptied the cup, he was always there ready to pour another cup for me. He never gave me a chance to ring that bell again but I’m glad. I didn’t like using the bell at all. He was actually serving at least another 2 tables but the fact he was always ready just made me go slkfdja;osiejaf;osiejoair I died so many times inside it wasn’t funny…
The food was amazing. I thought the cakes at Swallowtail Annex in Shinjuku was good enough but this was just… high class. It’s no wonder they won awards for it.
For the entrée, the dish was slightly grilled scallop and octopus. The sakura jelly mentioned is umeboshi jelly. Furuya explained that the dish was made with the imagery of spring in mind and I think the umeboshi jelly did the trick. I’m not actually a big fan of octopus especially when it’s stuffed. I really don’t like the fishy taste and smell of it sometimes but when I ate it with the scallops and the umeboshi jelly, I didn’t taste it at all. It was a light, refreshing start to dinner.
Next was our soup which came with bread, butter and olive oil for you to dip in. The cabbage soup was sweet, smooth and creamy but not too heavy. The portion might seem small but when you think about the rest of the menu, it was probably the right portion.
Our first main dish was pan-seared fish on hashbrown with olive paste on top. It was delicious. I’m extremely picky when it comes to my fish and the fact that it was just pan-seared without any sauce to make it soggy again just hit the mark. The olive paste went really well with the fish and hashbrown too. The little olive sourness balanced out the saltiness of the fish. It wasn’t dry at all too.
The next main dish was a lamb chop. It was stuffed with mint purée and cooked to medium which means the lamb was cooked but still soft and moist. Usually marinated things are cooked through but this wasn’t and it tasted wonderful… The wine sauce got rid of of the lamb-taste of the meat. I’m actually okay with it if it’s not too strong. I felt a little bad for leaving a little of the meat left over because I couldn’t separate it from the fat.
By the time we finished our second main dish, we’d finished our pot of tea and so we ordered another pot. This time I went with 一世風靡 (Isseifuubi) which is a herbal tea blend by the footman Kaji. It was a little like Rufuna but slightly sweeter and minty, which was great to end the meal with.
Furuya brought me another blue cup, this time a Wedgewood Rococo tea cup.
Dessert was strawberry cookies, strawberry jelly and strawberry granite. lkasjfdaoisejf They all used real strawberries so when I bit into the dessert, especially the cookie, I could taste and chew the strawberry. My favourite was probably the jelly. They used agar jelly and it was kind of fizzy like soda. Then with the sweet in-season strawberries… *Q* I kept mumbling ‘I love who ever made this dessert’ while I went through it haha. I wanted more! I really did! I thought I’d be completely bloated from the 5 course meal but the portions were perfect. I was about 80% full which is probably best for dinner. A little after we finished dessert, our 2 hours was up and we had to leave.
We were sent off with「夜のお出掛けの時間になっております。遅く帰ると心配になりますので気を付けて行ってきてください。」I couldn’t help it. I said 「行ってきます」 and Suwano and Furuya replied with 「いってらっしゃいませ、お嬢様。」
So when I first walked into the cafe and was greeted by Suwano, it literally felt like I was walking into another world. The feeling of someone just waiting for your return home and standing there greeting you with a smile and and aksjefoa;siejfoskjdfaoi *sobs* He was so nice and it made me miss having a grandpa.
The way he held himself, the aura around him omg I don’t know how to describe it but he was confident in himself and he gave me the impression of those butlers that have spent their lives looking after their Mistress and now their Young Mistress???!! DOES THAT MAKE SENSE??!!! I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore but yeah. I’m really glad we had him as house steward. I thought he’d be busy but he came around a few times towards the end of our session and refilled our tea. His smile was really nice to look at owo So 優しい I……….. _(:3」∠)_
But that’s not the main focus. Nope. Because Furuya’s the one who was with us the whole time. I don’t know where to start… he’s not the really handsome type like some other butlers*coughAoicough* but he was nice to look at and makes up for it through his actions and…stuff (fudge I’m brain-dead right now). He was tall… like probably 180cm or more. Okay, so that’s tall for me because I’m just 155cm.
His voice! I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help it. I notice that more than his appearance… Unlike the one I heard while I was waiting to enter the café, Furuya’s voice was mid-ranged and mild. His voice wasn’t one of those that you’d think is special but it’s one of those voices that you can just listen to forever. I think when he greeted us I melted inside and tried to distract myself by looking at what Jinxie was doing. OMG she’s so used to this place lol. His voice was just so soothing ugh… I really liked listening to him when explained things or just… talked LOL I mean I was kinda trying to listen to him when he was serving one of the tables near us. /slapped I didn’t tell him I liked his voice though omg. I didn’t want a repeat of what happened in Switzerland. o///o
WHAT ELSE CAN I SAY!? His smile?! I think it links in with his aura too. He had this kind aura to him and it made me really comfortable. It’s not like Suwano’s one where he knows what he’s doing and obviously has a lot of experience. Furuya was like… He gave me the feeling of ‘I’m a little nervous but I’ll do my best for you’ type of aura? I found that really cute /slapped.
Like…Maybe he was starting to get tired after a long day or something but he made mistakes. I realised that all of his mistakes were made when he served me and I was always served second. I’m not nit-picking, it was cute okay? slkdfjao;wiejf There was this one time where he could put the cover over the teapot properly and tried to fix it without it being really obvious it was hard to do with one hand. THAT 一生懸命な姿が・・・ I…..FFFFFUUUU *melts*
Then the seat I was sitting in made it hard for him to place down our dishes with his left hand so he had to swap but not before he fidgeted a little asjdfaosijgaoijs >w< And for one of the main meals he put my fork on the wrong side. I didn’t say anything and he realised his mistake immediately. The way he said「失礼しました」and moved the fork was so smooth I’m like please…make that mistake anytime. GOMEN IT WAS LIKE THE ONE OF THE FEW TIMES HE SPOKE NEAR ME. When he spoke, he was usually on Jinxie’s side so I rarely got to hear his voice up close /bricked.
What I’m saying doesn’t do him justice. It doesn’t cover everything I want to say about him but I don’t know how to put it in words!! AAAHHHHHH lkdfjaoseijf I know he’s a new footman. I checked. I went to the official site and searched for him and read his blog. There’s only 3 entries and he started in late January this year. HE’S A NEW FOOTMAN BUT GAAAAHHHHH SO CUTE SO SO LKFJAO:EIJOFAIJS I was happy with him as my footman. I really do need to go back again. Jinxie recommended lunch, which I can totally do before class LOL.
I loved the experience. Walking in made me feel like I was stepping into a different world. Time flowed a little slower and I felt like I could just relax and take it easy. It was a great escape from the busy Tokyo life I’ve had so far. If any of you reading this have a chance to go, jump and take that chance, even if you’re alone. There’s really nothing to be nervous about if you treat it like a high-class restaurant. Even if you are nervous, don’t worry. The footmen take really good care of you. And if you’re not that interested in the guys, then go for the food. It’s worth a try at least once.
I can’t wait until I find the time to go again because I want my card haha. Oops, better fill in the card Furuya gave me. ;3c