Travel Log| May’s Garden House — Totoro Restaurant in Bangkok

Travel Log| May’s Garden House — Totoro Restaurant in Bangkok

Hello, hello BAYOG Fam!~ I apologize for the late and inconsistent updates. It’s been a bit crazy since I’ve been doing alot of traveling lately. If you didn’t know, I just came back from Thailand recently. It was great to be in the motherland! While I wanted to have lots of fun, I also wanted to be able to gather some material for BAYOG too! One of the most exciting things I was able to do, was go to May’s Garden House! You know me, I’m a hella basic Asian chick. So this was definitely a bucket list item for me.

Dragged my sister and aunt (who kept calling it “Tololo” cuz she didn’t know what Totoro was) along

If you didn’t know, May’s Garden House is the first themed restaurant licensed by Studio Ghibli. It’s basically a Totoro themed restaurant. You’d think it would be located somewhere in Japan, right? Surprise! It’s actually located in Bangkok, Thailand! You’ll find it on Sukhumvit road. It’s a bit odd and hard to find because it’s literally a house in a small neighborhood alley. So it’s pretty unassuming at a quick glance if the gate isn’t open. There wasn’t any parking. You can park on the side of the road, just don’t block the entrance to someone’s house. Although, I think I just saw on their FB page that the staff can arrange parking for you if you let them know in advance.

The Outside

Again, it’s basically a large house that’s been converted to a restaurant. I’m sure someone may live on the second floor though? Anyway, when you go to the entrance, you’re welcomed this the restaurant’s signage. The wooden signage is on a mini wall covered in fake plants. It’s basically set up so you can take pics with it. I found the sign really adorable. The wooden sign and plants (fake or not) really fit well with the Totoro theme.

I should’ve done a panoramic to show the whole thing…but we were in a rush… Pool was to the right.

Again, the restaurant is basically a house that’s been converted into a business. Honestly, it still looks like a house (albeit a bit of a fancy and newly renovated looking house compared to typical Thai homes). They even had a swimming pool, which I’ll tell you isn’t really common in Thailand. I should also mention though that this area is pretty popular and known to be a wealthier kind of area. The land in that area is worth a ton of money. The area is also very close to some of the biggest shopping and entertainment centers. We actually had been shopping at Emquartier before we decided to go to the restaurant. It was about a 7-10 minute drive away in the busy Bangkok traffic.

My aunt didn’t understand why I was taking a pic with this…she judged me hella hard

They also had the little bus stop sign from the movie. It was right next to the entrance of the building. I will admit, I kinda expected more from the outside. I just expected more stuff around the outside to really be like “TOTORO!!!” and “GHIBLI!!!”

The Inside

The inside was cute. It was simple and felt very homey. It’s nothing fancy, it just feels like a comfy home decorated with Totoro stuff. When you first walk in, you’re greeted by this huuuuge Totoro. Although, it’s kind of hard to take a picture with it. I found it a tad bit too close to the doors. It made it a bit difficult to take a picture. I found myself basically leaning on the door and barely being able to take a picture of everything in the frame. We kind of resorted to trying to get into this corner that allowed us to move the camera out a bit more, allowing us to get more in the shot. Basically, it would’ve been easier to take the picture comfortably if the doors were wide open. Also, while cute…know that Totoro was not soft lolol. He’s a really stiff plushie (more like a rock covered in cloth).

The whole place is covered in different Totoro related plushies, figurines, plates…all sorts of other Ghibli stuff.

My favorite thing was the stained glass windows. It was just so cute and the colors were beautiful. It gave such a whimsical feel to the place. I would honestly love to have these in my home.

I know…I should’ve taken a picture of the kitchen from the other side…but the server was so angry looking…

I also wasn’t kidding when I said the place is homey. They basically had a small little kitchen, very similar to what you’d find in your own home. It’s pretty out in the open. You can basically see everything.

I wanted the giant plushies…then I saw the price tag and was like “Noooope”

There was also a little area that had some merchandise on display. There were some display cases showing off different stuff. You can totally purchase stuff. However, it’s hellaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa expensive.


The Menu and Details


The menu was pretty cute. It’s pretty simple and a cover is basically wood. It has a little logo with Totoro on the cover. The contents itself is written in Thai, English, and Japanese. Although, we noticed that the description in English was a bit off and differed from the Thai ones at times. I can’t comment on the Japanese though. Some of the menu names were very forward, like “Apple Juice”, “Pad Thai”, and “Papaya Salad”. Other menu items had peculiar names to go with the theme? It was basically the desserts and cocoa drinks? More on that later.

The table itself has little paper place mats. There are basically two designs. The one I got had different Ghibli characters on it. The top actually says, “Totoro’s Friends” in Thai.

The other design, which my aunt had, basically just had “Totoro” written in several different languages.

The bottom corner that was folded down actually has Totoro. It was cute. I honestly would’ve taken it home had I not gotten it dirty…

I had my Totoro coin purse for comparison. It’s dirty I know….it’s old…shuuuuush….

Even the plate design matched Totoro. The utensils also followed the plants and flowers theme.

Even the damn water bottle had the Totoro logo on it.

FOOOOOOOD

We already ate our lunch, and we had a big dinner of grilled river prawns waiting for us at home. So we basically only stopped by for drinks and desserts. Like I said before, the menu items had pretty straight-forward and basic names. However, the cocoa drinks and the desserts all had straight-up peculiar names.

I honestly wanted a hot drink, because I knew it would have some cute Totoro art on it. However, it was so incredibly hot. It’s basically the hottest time of the year in Thailand. I’m pretty sure it was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So I decided on getting a cold cocoa drink instead. I ended up getting the “Cold Mint Cocoa Coming With a Peculiar Friend”. I shit you not, that long ass name is the actual menu item name. It was basically some chocolate milk with chocolate ice cubes, served with a side of this mint green milk. It was 250 Baht, or a bit under $8 USD. So at first we were like, “Damn that’s an expensive ass drink”. However, we realized it comes with a little dessert and grissini (aka crispy bread sticks). So it made sense. The dessert was pretty simple though. It’s basically the ススワタリ/Susuwatari, or soot sprite. It was basically a chocolate cup full of whipped cream. The entire thing was then covered in very fine chocolate cookie crumbs (?). It then had little fondant/candy eyes. I’ll be honest the texture was kinda weird, so I can’t really tell if it was fondant or candy…

I’ll be honest, the drink was just okay. It wasn’t spectacular. Just cute. It just tasted like minty milk. If you didn’t realize by now, my Thai nickname is Mint…and I do actually love mint (and chocolate). However, the bright green color was kind of shocking lol. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t as chocolatey as I had hoped.

We only got one dessert though. We ended up getting the “Sleepy Totoro”. The menu description was, “A delicious Totoro covered in charcoal chocolate with a heart of raspberries is waiting for you to wake him up!” It was basically a chocolate mousse on a little chocolate cake base. The center was some kind of raspberry filling. The whole thing was then covered in I guess chocolate that had some charcoal in it. It was served on a little wood slice that was on top of some fake grass. There were also some flowers, as well as crushed cookies and meringue.

Rather than “charcoal chocolate”, I’d say that it was like a gummy fondant type of thing? I would’ve thought it was fondant, but it had a weird gummy texture to it. Not gonna lie, kinda weirded me out and was a bit difficult to cleanly cut through with my spoon. You know when you pull gum apart? It was kind of like that, but looked a bit more rubbery? It just made me like, “???!!” I still ate it though. Taste wise, it was fine. I did like the meringue and the chocolate mousse. Was it the best chocolate mousse? No, but it was still enjoyable. It also had the tartness of the raspberry to cut at the sweetness of the chocolate. Though, I admit I personally don’t like berries so much. Still, I think this was the only dessert we could compromise on based on what everyone liked and didn’t like.

The Downside — The Service Was Ehhh

What cute Totoro china

I’ll be honest though, the restaurant and everything is super cute. It was nostalgic for me. I had a blast because I’m a nerd and a basic Asian chick who loves Totoro and Studio Ghibli. However, taste wise it was alright. It wasn’t the best food ever. Although, it was cute to see the Totoro themed menu items. I do also have to admit that the service wasn’t that great when we went. That’s coming from a food service veteran who is pretty chill and understanding of staff. I grew up in the restaurant business. I’ve been a cook, cashier, bus girl, dishwasher, server, and manager/owner. I get it, sometimes it’s a pain to serve customers. I’ve been there, done that. So as a customer, I’m always super chill, relaxed, and understanding. It takes alot for me to admit if service is bad. If you smile, serve me with respect, and I see you’re trying your best…I consider good service. I get it if you’re busy and can’t get to me right away. I won’t count it against you. However, I consider it bad service when it’s visible that you don’t want to serve me.

This was actually the curtain for the men’s room…It was an accident…Luckily it was unoccupied…

The eye-rolls, the groans, and the sighing. Service in Asia tends is typically very top-notch. In Asia, they take that “Customer is King” thing pretty seriously. It’s a little extra for me to be honest. You can really tell the difference in effort of service. You can especially tell if you speak the local language. It’s really noticeable in the language and tone used. Formal and polite language is used when speaking with customers. However, we were spoken to quite casually without the polite tone. Our server just kind of stared at us, and it was obvious she didn’t really want to serve us. I think at one point we even had to ask for something from another server, cuz our original server wasn’t paying attention to us… Rather, it also just seemed like our server was avoiding us…?? The other servers seemed alright though. So basically, the service for this visit was kind of poor to aiight. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t go again though. I’m a firm believer in trying not to base everything all on just one bad experience.

So in short, you’re not really going for the food. Rather, you’re going for the fun experience. I also have to note that the menu items are kind of pricey. It considered pricier than your usual cafe fare in Bangkok. Although, I think it’s basically on average with your typical cafe fare in the west. So really you’re just paying for the aesthetics and experience. I loved how the food looked, and how it was served. It was adorable. It was definitely very Instagram-able. We were worried that it might be hard to get in. This visit occurred on my last day in Thailand. We were basically in a rush because we had errands to do before our 11pm flight. We also had to pack all our things too… We thought we’d try to squeeze in the restaurant anyway. We assumed it might be busy, and maybe a reservation was needed. Still, we just walked in. There were maybe only 3-4 tables taken? So there was no wait, and we were immediately seated. I should also note that we were probably there at around 4-5pm?


So go on. Go visit the only official Totoro restaurant. Enjoy the decorations and everything. Go ahead and get into the sense of nostalgia. It may not be the -BEST- food, but it sure is cute. It was a fun experience, and I hope you’re able to try it too. You can find more pictures and their menu [HERE]. Take care BAYOG Fam~

It looks like Cookie Monster lolol

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