Sweets Paradise Factory delivers goods in Tokyo
“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
If author Ernestine Ulmer were alive today, Sweets Paradise Factory would be the restaurant she would frequent. The buffet not only encourages its customers to ruin their appetites by eating dessert first, there are very few other options.
Next to the massive BIC Camera store and in the basement of the FF Building in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, you can find Sweets Paradise Factory. Despite its upscale location, the restaurant has both a family-friendly environment and family- friendly price structure.
A ticket booth at the entrance offers three price options: for adults, for ages 4 to 12 and for ages younger than 4 (they eat free). The tickets stamp the time of your arrival and prove that you prepaid for your meal. Check your diet at the door. From here, you have 70 minutes to eat whatever you can get your hands on.
Next to the entrance is a large chocolate fondue fountain and ice cream machine. Beside it are about 20 cakes with a giant yellow sign above them reminding you that this is sweet-tooth paradise.
As you head to the seating area, you pass by puddings, jellies and sundae toppings all leading up to a wood-fire-style oven. It’s as if Hans Christian Andersen designed the layout specifically for Hansel and Gretel.
The oven is on the far side of the restaurant in a dimly lit area where you have to make a concerted effort to avoid the sugary temptations. This is the pizza-and-pasta buffet. Here you’ll find two or three small pizzas and two small pasta dishes still piping hot in the pan. Farther into the corner is one of the smallest, yet freshest, salad bars you’ll ever see.
The pizzas are razor-thin, crispy and delicious. The pastas are even better, especially the pesto. But you don’t visit a dessert buffet to eat dinner. The stars of the show are the 20 random cakes and their sugary coatings glistening under the lights. There’s no way to know what’s there and no way to know what will be there even 15 minutes later. As soon as one cake is finished, another cake of any kind will replace it.
I lost count of my calorie intake after four pieces of different kinds of chocolate cake, three cheesecake slices, a fruit torte and some peach pie. There were some strawberry-covered cakes and cherry-filled somethings that all became a sugary blur until I realized that the sugar had taken over my toddlers’ bodies and sent them into a near untamed surge of energy.
If the idea of a dessert/pizza buffet isn’t enough to reel you in, Sweets Paradise Factory also features free tarot card fortunetelling on Tuesdays.
Sweets Paradise Factory has 22 locations where you can have your cake (and pizza) and eat it, too.
SWEETS PARADISE FACTORY
Style: Buffet; serves pizza, pasta and desserts
Times: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, all locations.
Attire: Casual, family restaurant
Cost: 1,520 Japanese yet adults (about $15), 860 yen for children 4-12. Children 4 and under are free with paying adult; all seats are limited to 70 minutes.
Location: The one I visited was at Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-26-6, Shinjuku, FF Bldg. B1F (across from Shinjuku Station east gate in the building next to BIC Camera).
More information: Telephone: 03-5925-8876. Find locations at sweets-paradise.jp/shop (Japanese only).