At City Bakery in Osaka (and also in Tokyo), there’s an eclectic mix of what you would expect from an New York bakery (brownies and chocolate-chip cookies) as well as items you may not expect (pretzel croissants and blueberry corn muffins) and a few that don’t meet expectations — namely the scones.
On a recent visit I sampled three — mixed berry, honey and raisin, and plain scone — and they left me wanting. It was a case of too much sugar and not enough subtlety. Chief among the problems, for this scone lover anyway, was that they were too dry — more like their American biscuit counterparts, which feature prominently on the menu too. The chocolate-chip cookie was better; that all-American sweetness was not out of place.
There is quite a bit more on the menu: soup, breakfast sandwiches, burgers and salads, and a comprehensive drinks menu including smoothies, kale juice and Brooklyn Lager.
The bakery and cafe are situated in the basement of Grand Front Osaka, a huge shopping and commercial plaza connected to Osaka Station that opened last year. Despite the marquee names at Grand Front, the area has yet to find a soul. The mood at City Bakery is relaxing, and the NY tart should satisfy the “death by chocolate” crowd, but, besides a few novelties on the menu, this New Yorker doesn’t bring much to make it stand out.
B1F Umekita Square, Grand Front Osaka, 4-1 Ofukacho, Kita-ku, Osaka; 06-6359-2010; www.thecitybakery.jp; open 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; nearest stations Osaka, Umeda; no smoking; Japanese and English menu; no English spoken.