Shiseido Parlour Salon de Café is a fancy dessert place in the middle of Ginza, started at the Shiseido pharmacy in 1902, which would later become the cosmetics giant we all know today.
Shiseido Parlour is foremost famous as one of the first Japanese-style Western restaurants serving dishes as omelette-rice (omurice), meat croquette and macaroni au gratin. You would not expect a cosmetics company to serve you more than medecine, but the connection between a pharmacy and sweets is not unheard of. Think Belgian chocolates coming out of the Neuhaus pharmacy in Brussels.
Shiseido opened its pharmacy in 1872 at this location in Ginza. In 1902, it introduced a soda making machine, a so-called soda fountain. That proved to be popular and marked the start of the Salon de Café, where sweet things are still the main focus.
Limited edition strawberry parfait
Praline cake with lemon creme and gold garnishing, and sorbet
While the (rather strong) coffee and tea are excellent, the main stars of the show are the sweets: colorful parfaits, dessert plates, cakes, cream soda, fruit sandwiches and more. Each month there are many limited items that seem to be quite popular.
Shiseido Parlour turned into a chain with 8 cafes/restaurants in and around Tokyo and several in the rest of Japan. Cafes/restaurants can also be found abroad in Singapore, Taipei and Bangkok.
My experience in visiting this cafe is that it feels very much like a touristic attraction. I had to wait in line in the shop on the first floor, before I could move to the 3rd floor for the cafe. However, on that floor was another line where I had to wait. This was one a weekday, so I can only imagine how crowded it must be on the weekend. Looking at the other people who were there, I had the strong impression there were many first time customers. Indeed, many tourists.
I liked that almost all the waiters (yes, male) were over 60. It brings a side to the service that I am not used to anymore in a city where this industry is dominated by young woman.
Interior of Shiseido Parlour Salon de Café
Address: Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building 8-8-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Salon the Cafe is located on the third floor. On the first floor is the Shiseido Parlor Shop and on floor 4 and 5 the restaurant.
Opening hours: 11:30-21:00 (on Sunday and holidays until 20:00), closed on Monday
Budget: JPY 980 for one coffee, desserts generally JPY 1000-2000; sets available
Web: https://parlour.shiseido.co.jp/shoplist/salondecafeginza/ (in Japanese)
Name in Japanese: 資生堂パーラー サロン・ド・カフェ 銀座本店