According to my Lonely Planet, Osaka is renowned for good eateries. And whilst that statement might be true, after interrailing round Eastern Europe in the summer, I don’t trust anywhere Lonely Planet recommends.
So we wandered the streets at leisure, stopping to laugh at all the ridiculous places we found. Here they are, in ascending order of amusement:
1. Snack Donkey
Snack Donkey has squeezed itself down a dank-looking alley, to serve you God knows what.
2. Eat Man
Really? Eat a man? Cannibalism? Or is this a case of punctuation – Eat, Man!
3. Pizza Ball House
This serves takoyaki (fried octopus balls). Maybe it serves pizza as well. But it definitely does not serve pizza balls. The octopus looks just as confused as we were.
4. Far D
Take a look at this food. Yes that is an omelette stuffed with rice, served with a hamburger and a pile of spaghetti. Yes, the Japanese have VERY different tastes when it comes to what flavours they believe fit together.
However, look at this preposterous claim:
From Canterbury? Yes, I believe the Archbishop eats that dish daily.
But on to our actual lunch restaurant….
The place: Buzz Brasserie & Wine Café
The food: faux-European
We spied this stylish place straight after crossing the road from Umeda Hankyu station and later returned to it hungrily to snap up what we thought was a 1,500円 lunch deal. And European food! I get so sick of eating rice, rice, rice and pickles. Hooray for chips and steamed veg!
Although on the main road and at the beginning of a rather dirty “shopping” arcade, Buzz was clean and quiet inside – despite the fact it was packed with people.
They had three options: lunch deal 1 (hamburger), lunch deal 2 (spaghetti carbonara) and lunch deal 3 (mustard chicken). I eyed the room eager to spot what everyone else was eating. I could only see hamburgers but didn’t really fancy it as it came covered in thick tomato-based sauce. Nor did I fancy the pasta because Japanese pasta is notoriously bizarre (I ignored my own reservations just the other day and regretted it – post coming soon). So I ordered the chicken. Mistake. If no-one else in the room was eating it, then there’s probably a reason.
It wasn’t terrible. But the mustard sauce was hardly complex in the flavours employed, and the meat itself was rubbery.
Calle took the pasta, which was “all right, especially for Japanese pasta”, and given that they’d adapted it to make it veggie.
However, it really was amazing to have steamed vegetables!! And chips!
Plus the appetisers were delicious, and steeped in olive oil and basil and oregano, which are rare finds in Japanese food.
The dessert was also good – not the tastiest brownie in the world, and definitely not home-made, but the fresh fruit provided a delicious contrast.
Gratuitous shot of the super-fancy coffee cup:
Visit for relatively well-priced and above average “Western” food.
Food quality 3/5 – Pretty good for the price. Given the quality of ingredients and effort that had done into the appetisers, the rubbery chicken was the biggest disappointment. My ice coffee was also undrinkable – no idea what they did to it.
Value for money 3/5 – let down by not including the dessert in the price. They slapped a cheeky 300円 extra on for it!
Atmosphere 4/5 – Busy yet quiet. Pleasant, stylish interior. Just enough space between tables so as not to feel uncomfortable.
Service 5/5 – Very helpful and obliging. Water glasses were continuously refilled. The till lady then directed us to the nearest cash machine.
How to find it
See this map on their website: http://www.bwc-buzz.jp/umeda/access
Turns out they also have a restaurant in Tokyo too: http://www.bwc-buzz.jp/marunouchi/access