The 2019 Aladdin movie has had a lot of things going against it. After all, it is a live-action remake of the beloved 1992 animated classic whose success relied heavily on the improv talents of the late Robin Williams. And even though Williams’ Genie was replaced in the 2019 film by the undeniably talented Will Smith, it felt like people would need something more to flock to the cinemas. It’s not surprising then that the marketing campaign for the live-action Aladdin movie was fierce, with the “Aladdin” café being part of it.
Magic Carpet Ride
Opening its doors in the chic Tokyo neighborhood of Harajuku, the “Aladdin” OH MY CAFE is not an official Disney property but rather a “special cafe” that from June 14 to July 15 will be transformed into something straight out of Agrabah. Not the royal palace, though. The café’s interior design is actually quite restrained, with a few rugs hanging on the walls and a couple of lanterns adorning the vaguely palm-like plant centerpiece in the middle of the establishment. Combined with the garlands of silky cloth hanging from the ceiling and the flimsy curtains, the café has a sort of a tent vibe to it, which I suppose fits its Aladdin theme perfectly.
But other than a screen showing scenes from the movie and a few silhouettes of the iconic magic lamp/film characters decorating the walls, there doesn’t seem to be that much Aladdin in the “Aladdin” OH MY CAFE… until, that is, you get to the menu.
A lot of thought and effort has been put into creating the café’s food and drink offerings, all reportedly prepared under the official Disney nutritional guidelines. So you have things like the Magic Lamp Curry, itself shaped like its namesake, which is already fun, but which also comes with a meringue “salad” side dish with the cutout silhouette of the Genie riding it like a cloud. The Magic Carpet Special Wrap Sandwich is similarly whimsical, with its flat bread being made to look just like the Magic Carpet. Then you have dishes like the Jaffar Evil Chicken Cream Plate, which, other than having the greatest name ever, is worth mentioning because it looks like it was coated in desert sand.
Genie In A Bottle
The drink menu similarly does not disappoint. The Princess Jasmine jasmine tea is a bit on the nose, but the Rajah Orange Smoothie, named after Jasmine’s pet Bengal tiger, is definitely worth writing home about. Other than its bright color, which together with the painted glass it’s served in creates a fun tiger stripe effect, the drink actually manages to pack a strong orange taste. As anyone who’s ever tried to make a thick orange smoothie can attest to, that isn’t the easiest thing in the world. And providing a nice blue balance to the drink menu’s color palette, there’s also the vividly blue Genie Yogurt Smoothie, which I enjoyed.
Although, the presentation really is the best thing about the “Aladdin” OH MY CAFE. The best word to describe it is probably “photogenic,” which also gets into the heart of this establishment. When you look over the menu, you’ll notice A LOT of mentions of how well a particular dish photographs or how great it will look on social media. Then you realize, this is why the café décor is so restrained. They don’t want too many things in the background distracting people as they take selfie after selfie in front of all this beautifully-put together menu. In short, the café is working hard to entice regular people and online content creators to take plenty of picture of all that it has to offer. A lot of thought has been put into its design, but its main purpose is to look nice, and stylish, and vaguely nostalgic (exactly like the live-action movie that it’s based on.)
There’s also a sister Aladdin café, the kawara CAFE&DINING, in Osaka, which too will close on July 15. Check them out, take a few pictures, buy some Aladdin goods and bring in some traffic to your social media accounts.
Feature image: ©Disney