Twelve men sit in silence at a new cafe in Tokyo's Shinjuku district as three women dressed in Russian attire start serving a sour-looking plate of borscht.

The men have each paid ¥15,000 to attend this soft opening of ItaCafe, which bills itself as the city's first Russian maid cafe.

The general chit-chat you might expect to hear at a comparable Akihabara venue isn't present at the soft opening on Oct. 16. Instead, it's replaced by operatic background music and the shuffling of feet that comes courtesy of the press in attendance, who move around the diners to get a closer look at the chilled beet soup on the table in front of them.