The recently renewed Christon Cafe in Shinjuku is easily the best of the gothic themed restaurants that have sprung up all over Japan. The one is Shibuya may have a couple of nice touches, but for the full-on church-like atmosphere the Shinjuku restaurant in eastern Kabukicho is certainly worth a visit. Behold!
As you can see the theme is basically European Christian Gothic – you will see genuine English alters alongside Italian statues of the Virgin Mary in a real confusion of historical periods and branches of Christianity. And while it would be easy to find the place a bit tacky and somewhat of a reversal of Japanese restaurants in the West that confuse China with Japan and generally make a hash of Japanese culture, it is far easier to get right into the spirit of the place and eat, drink and most certainly be merry. As with all the better themed restaurants the success of the restaurant lies in the complete complicity of the restaurant with the theme in question, and it is here that Christon works. Plus, in this context the Christian theme seems very credible and cool, unlike the somewhat cringe worthy fairy tale places I will no doubt get round to chatting about later.
As for the food, again the menu is a massive mash-up of European food. The majority is Italian, but there are dutch hot pots and plenty of French inspired gastronomy on top of the ludicrous cocktails that no themed restaurant can go without.
I thoroughly recommend the “Tower of Babel” on the left of the pic above. Contained in the “tower” is a salad that is ceremoniously scattered on the carpaccio beneath – complete with embellishment of the original tale by the waiter! Pricing is slightly below that of the usual themed restaurant but as you would expect beyond the usual Izakaya fare. Expect to pay an average of 2500 yen per person and I would recommend getting a coupon on your phone or from the nearest Hot Pepper, especially if you are planning on having a couple of drinks. Booking is a good idea as while relatively large, it can get busy very fast at the weekends.
The Christon Cafe comes heartily recommended as very cool and credible place to spend an evening, whether it is a date or nomikai with friends. The wonderful feeling of entering the cathedral-esque expanse of the restaurant (so rare in Tokyo) is utterly at odds with the modern inauspicious building that contains it. Stepping out after you have basked in fine food and ambiance into the bright lights of Kabukicho afterwards can come as something of a shock!
Check out the Shinjuku site here