October 9, 2008 9

Royal/T (Culver City)

By in 13: Culver City


DSCN4479Last year when I first heard about Royal-T I felt rather ambivalent about it. The idea of reinventing “Maid cafe” into a hip artsy thing is just such an oxymoron. For those who’re familiar with maid cafes in Japan would know that they’re for otakus. It’s a geeky thing, it’s not supposed to be hip. It was meant to be a “safe haven” for male anime geeks to feel like they can be themselves without feeling self conscious and intimidated by “trendy/hip environment”. Of course the main attraction is the cute girls in anime style maid outfits who treat them like kings and call them masters. So yeah turning it into a hip artsy thing is such an irony as that was exactly the kind of place driven otakus to turn to the Maid cafe culture.

Anyways, I am however interested in the idea of a cafe right inside of an art gallery. I love the space a lot. Converted from a warehouse, it was spacious with expose wood ceiling and ceiling windows. Though I wish there weren’t all these big glass panels caged around the art works. The mod-rococo chandeliers and design flatware reminded me of La Mill Coffee. There were two maids working when we were there for afternoon tea and dessert. Thank goodness they don’t call you “master” ^^;; They do however have very cute maid uniforms!

I got the Royal/T Milk tea. Black tea with rose petals, pieces of fruit and vanilla, brewed in soymilk. It was really good! The combination of rose and vanilla with black tea smells wonderful. It came in a big pot so it is big enough for 2-3 people.


Espresso (love the cup, it’s so light) and Sesame bean sensation. The sesame mousse cake was tasty but pricey ($7.50). There’s breakfast, sandwiches and salad on the menu but my friend said they’re mediocre. I will give them a try myself next time I go there.

Toward the end one maid was gone and the other was tired and went on break so it was just a regular server serving tables instead. One table asked “where are the maids?” and the maid who’s sitting at the back just waved at them and then continue her break. Perhaps there’s a shortage of maids?

8910 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 559-6300

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9 Responses to “Royal/T (Culver City)”

  1. valentine says:

    So Hilarious that the maids just take breaks rather than serving!!!!
    I can’t get over it~~~

    Maybe only the Japanese find serving someone a noble act…

    Rather than trying to mimick something that requires
    a Japanese-specific mentality,
    maybe something like a “Cheerleader Cafe” would do better in CA?(^o^;

  2. potatomato, I’ve enjoyed your postings. I don’t know how I feel about these maid places though. I guess it’s all in good fun, but there are bound to be some creeps out there. I was thinking this place might be great to have afternoon teas, but not sure how a bunch of women would feel about the whole concept.

  3. Joan says:

    Hey Valentine~ I wonder how someone like you or Seat who live in Japan would feel about this. I mean to be honest Maid cafe really is like “Hooters for Anime geeks” in Japan. It sells “sex” to fragile male ego (not saying all otakus have fragile male ego, but guys who enjoy seeing girls in maid outfits acting submissive and calling them master?) So imagine another country took the idea of Hooters and turn it into some sort of high end art gallery hip restaurant! And then said-country people somehow thought “Hooters” is a hip culture for American hipsters and such. You won’t believe how many reviews/people here I read said/thought “Maid cafe” is a “hip cool edgy Tokyo thing” that “hip cool fashionable Tokyo kids go to” in Japan! Seriously! (´Д`;)=3

    Oh that maid who “slacked off” was Japanese too, haha…

    Shavedicesundays, I felt the same way as you! Which is why it took me so long to check out the place. There were many female customers go there though, the envrionment doesn’t feel creepy like the ones in Japan either, since they make it hip and artsy. In fact I felt that the maids don’t fit the art gallery envrionment AT ALL. The way the maids look just scream “geektastic” to me, there’s no way around it. Cute outfits, but just really really geeky ^^;;; The servers who later served us (after the maids are gone/on break) fit MUCH better to the space and the vibe with their regular t-shirt/pants and apron. So I felt that if Royal/T strives to be a cool artsy cafe for everyone (not just fragile male ego or otakus) who’re into Japanese art, they really don’t need the gimmicky “maids”.

  4. That sesame cake looks good. I wish there were more black sesame desserts in this country…..people freak over peanut butter but not sesame paste? It’s SO much better!

  5. valentine says:

    Hooter’s Art Gallery!!!!
    That is SOOO funny…….

    …but wait. I can sorta see it happening in Japan ( ̄  ̄;)
    Blonde “companions” catering to Japanses Ojisans in an art gallery…
    Ojisans would love it!

    At the same time it’s hilarious that people think maid cafes are
    cool/hip artsey thing!!! HAHAHA~~~

    I suspect maybe Takashi Murakami’s works have something to do w/
    the misunderstanding?

    maybe it’s a good thing the “maids” aren’t putting in a real effort,
    it might clear the misunderstanding…or maybe not….

  6. seat says:

    Even though I hang out in Akihabara a lot but I’ve never been to a maid cafe so I really can’t say….but somehow I don’t expect it to be that creepy. I mean some of them are really just cafes, some of them let the guys chat with the maids or play some simple games(saw on TV) and that is it. More like a theme-park with fancy costumes. The culture here is just so different….sex is such an open thing. I used to be really surprised that guys can talk openly about going to kyabakura(hostess clubs) and girls who work in this kind of places will go on variety shows on TV and don’t seem to feel ashamed. Maid cafes seem almost “pure” in comparison…^^;;; What I am trying to say(^^;;;) is that if you look at the whole maid cafe thing from outside, it may seem creepy and difficult to accept, but if you are in Japan, it is really not a big deal…

  7. Joan says:

    I think the creepy thing about Maid is that we all know that “maid” is highly fetisized and sexualized among guys, and the whole “master/submissive” nature of it is a big part of it to satisfied the fragile male ego. I actually see hostess club or soapland or whatever as more “pure” because it sells what it is, they’re selling sex and you paid for it, it is straight forward and all. While these maids cafe are packaged up innocently, on the surface they’re just “cafe” with girls in cute costume blah blah…you go eat and drink and sometimes chat with them (and some have massage service?) Isn’t that basically hostess club but packaged with a “seemingly innocent non-sexual non threatening” outlook cater to a very specific crowd who might or might not have fragile male ego and have specific fetishes (I’m sure many of those otakus prefer the submissive anime-friendly maids over the “scary” “sexually threatening” hostesses whom they’re scare to social with/talk to). And so for me to see it being reinvented as some cool artsy thing here in LA is just…^^;;;

  8. RP says:

    Seems like an interesting place. I am going if for nothing else the crown logo, it’s pretty! LOL at the break-taking maid though!

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