Welcome to Maid Date!
This cafe first opened for business on 5 Aug 2007. This cafe definitely has the look and feel of an authentic maid cafe, like those in Akihabara. It has the same kind of moé atmosphere that reminded me of Maid Cafe Pinafore (メイドカフェ ぴなふぉあ), from the interior decor to the very genki meidos.
I was at the cafe just before dinner time (around 5pm). Other than myself, there was this group of school girls in a ‘private room’ area playing board games. The was only one maid on duty at that time.
Maid on Duty
When I first entered the cafe, she immediately greeted me in Japanese “お帰りなさいご主人様” and showed me to a table. Her soft-spoken demeanour was reminiscent of the maids from Cure Maid Cafe. She saw my shopping bags, one of which was a Bandai Gunpla tote bag from the Gundam Expo. She tried chatting with me about my buys but I could only respond in halting Cantonese…and the conversation didn’t get very far. Orz….
Mint Coffee and Chocolate Puff
I was really hungry because I hadn’t taken my lunch while rushing from otaku haunt to otaku haunt and was hungry. But I was going to have dinner in awhile so I didn’t order a full meal. But never did I expect them to be so generous with their portion of chocolate cream puff…Other than light bites, the cafe also offer main courses on the menu
Maid Date – Interior
Although it’s a small cafe that can seat about 20people or so. There’s free wi-fi broadband service available so customers can use their mobile computing devices to access the Net. There are references on maid cafes from the reading corner, and also a LCD TV and a hi-fi set that appears to support karaoke sessions.
The cafe played anime songs (but I can’t recognise from which series). There’s a sign that mentioned about tarot card reading services. However, since I can’t converse in Cantonese, I had to pass that chance of having my fortunes read.
South China Morning Post’s Report on Maid Date
I got to speak to Alan, the boss of the maid cafe. He mentioned that he’s got about 13 meidos serving at the cafe. According to his interview with Apple Daily, Alan got the idea of opening a cosplay cafe after visiting “伊莱特宮殿” (Inodo Palace) in Guangzhou. His girlfriend also happened to be a cosplayer and at her behest, decided to open Hong Kong’s first maid cafe. During staff recruitment, he had more than 50 applicants wanting to work as cosplay meidos at his cafe. In the end, he could only pick 10, all of whom are fans of animation, comics and games. They live and breath the otaku spirit.
Maid Date’s meidos
I also managed to speak to two of his off-duty staffs, Siew Fung (小楓) and Siew Lam (小南). Both left lasting impression, especially Siew Lam the megane-musume (眼鏡っ娘) – her mannerism is bursting with moé. The effervescent girl is excited about cosplay. Both she and Siew Fung immediately identified the characters that Cosafe’s meidos cosplayed on their first anniversary [I was sharing with Alan about Singapore's first maid cafe].
Maid Date – Flyer
Before I left, the meido on duty bade me farewell in Japanese. From my experience at the cafe, Maid Date definitely has the formula of success as it managed to capture the spirit of Akiba’s cosplay cafes.
Maid Date is located strategically across Times Square in Causeway Bay.
Room D, 2/F, Percival House, 83 Percival Street, Causeway Bay. Tel (825) 28080789
Although it is in the middle of an easy access area, getting to the Maid Cafe could be an adventure on its own for those unfamiliar with Hong Kong’s terrain.
In fact, the maid cafe was an unexpected discovery. While waiting to cross a street from Times Square, I casually took a glance upwards to marvel at the odd urban landscape of Hong Kong when I spotted something out of the ordinary:
Maid Date – Street View
Maid Date – night view
The cafe is located on the third level of this old building known as Percival House. Till then, I never knew that Hong Kong had maid cafes.
I didn’t manage to find the entry to Maid Date on the first night. That’s because Percival House is a really old building and I couldn’t find where the entrance was. It’s on the reverse side of the building. In fact, I’d passed by the entrance several times while trying to find a way up. It was a frustrating moment like those quests when you’re stuck on the map not knowing where to find the door that leads to another spot on the map that’s already visible to you.
Entrance to Percival House
It’s that narrow doorway tucked in between two shops. The nondescript aluminium gate is locked, and you’ll have to press the door bell to get in. I realised that in such buildings, its common to find residential units right next to commercial shops.
Press the button at co-ordinate 2/F-D座, the button right below the sticker that says ‘maid’. Once the door opens, proceed up the stair case. It can be quite creepy, as I keep thinking about the Hong Kong ghost movies such as 《有房出租》 and “The Eye” 《见鬼》.
Stairway to Maid Heaven
Climb upwards till you reach the third level (although it says 2/F – the ordinal sequence for storeys is G/F, 1/F and then 2/F) .
Once you see the characters “三楼“, you’ve reached the right floor. You have to go through the doors.
Once you’re through, you’ll see signs guiding you to Maid Date.
To Maid Date
I found it interesting that the unit preceding the maid cafe is a residential unit. I can hear an auntie speaking loudly to a kid, who’s sitting before the television. There’s the homely smell of dinner cooking. Proceed down the corridor, and you’ll find your meido waiting for you behind the door.
Entrance to Maid Date
You’ll be duly rewarded for completing this quest.
If maid cafes turn out to be a profitable business, you can expect more of such cafes to be bloom all over Hong Kong.
Do check out more pictures of Maid Date on the following blog entries: