My Christmas Day of 2018 was a wintery one spent in Tokyo. Christmas morning was filled with brunch and friends, followed by a visit to a gorgeous Japanese strolling garden, and later some obligatory KFC (the Japanese Christmas food tradition). To cap off the day, I was lucky enough to spend the evening at Ginza’s very own Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant: Alice in a Labyrinth! My friends and I enjoyed this wonderful wonderland dinner before hitting up a German-style Christmas market (and snacking some more).
Editor's Note (July 12, 2021): Alice in a Labyrinth is permanently closed.
While there is the benefit of the kitsch factor, Christmas is not widely celebrated in Japan as Shinto and Buddhism are the country’s main religions. When it comes to spending time with family and friends, Japanese New Year or Oshogatsu is the special event of the year. Typically, the Christmas holiday itself is spent with friends or your other half if you're in a couple, wandering through the illuminations or Christmas markets.
So this Christmas, my 3 friends and I decided to spend the evening together doing what we do best: gossiping and eating awesome food. “Where to?” was the main question on our hungry lips. To really celebrate, we decided to try out Ginza’s Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant for a special Christmas dinner. As the ladies of luxury that we are, we booked one of the many fancy fantasy banquet sets for the four of us. While there are at least 7 Alice-themed restaurants across Japan, this one is not just a Disney-fied one.
At 7:07 pm on Christmas, I was scuttling down the main street of Ginza, late as always, through the sea of neon lights, then finally into the elevator and up to the magical fifth floor... My tardiness was fitting in the style of the White Rabbit on this occasion.
The doors opened and I popped out straight into the books of Lewis Carroll (originally written in 1865)! The exciting wonderland that is the Alice in a Labyrinth restaurant kindly greeted me with larger than life pages showing iconic images from the classic and well-loved books. I skipped this step in my “I’m late, I’m late for a very important friend date” hurry, but apparently, they supply Alice-themed accessories like the White Rabbit’s ears for diners to wear!
A friendly and whimsically dressed staff member led me through this wonderland restaurant and over to our table. Winding our way through the different nooks throughout the restaurant, we walked past the Cheshire Cat room and seats just like roses, as well as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party meets the Caterpillar’s mushroom forest. Looking to the ceiling, the Queen of Heart’s loyal playing cards wiggled and everywhere I looked, I could see Alice in Wonderland paraphernalia. Dark and almost mysterious, staff members dressed up as characters from Alice’s adventures floated by. As fate would have it, I arrived to meet my friends (in their best frocks a la Alice), who were seated in an absolute prime position: inside a giant teacup! (All my childhood dreams came true at this moment).
After a few Alice-themed cocktails here and some obligatory teacup selfies there, I was excited for our multi-course meal to begin. Five exciting courses were delivered to a table, themed and delicious.
The first course was a tomato rose laid over some delicious seafood-y goodness, including salmon and salmon roe that burst in your mouth.
Next was a cheesy mushroom soup, followed by a delicious fish dish garnished with cute rabbit ears.
The fourth course included a sumptuous slab of beef adorned with an Alice-shaped cracker on an Alice-printed plate. It was rare but delicious with meat that would simply melt in your mouth.
The fifth and final round was our Christmas-themed dessert. Served up on a heart card platter, this delicious dish included the Cheshire Cat’s tail and a sweet strawberry Santa! Not to forget the pink tart, copious amounts of cream, or the decadent and chocolatey main event of the dessert!
We exchanged some gifts and nursed our banquet-filled bellies. It was time to leave the magical labyrinth, so we then headed off to different kind of wonderland, a Christmas market!
Even though it’s a themed restaurant, the deliciousness of the food was not compromised at all. Meaning, our ladies dinner was both delicious and definitely Instagram-worthy! This restaurant offered a whole range of other banquet options and course menus, all with Alice-style specialties and tasty themed garnishes. Alice in a Labyrinth caters well for bigger groups and parties, too.
We researched the menu options online extensively ahead of time and settled on one of the Christmas specials. In the end, it was not incredibly expensive for how detailed the food was and for the fun of the experience! Drinks were not included in the set menu price, but Christmas in Wonderland at Alice in a Labyrinth was still a lovely dinner event to do with friends.
The wonderland atmosphere was festive for Christmas and the food was really delicious! I would definitely recommend (make sure to book ahead for the surprise best seats in the house) and I would be keen to come back (with a better camera) and take on the challenge of a different seasonal banquet.
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