City Bakery: A taste of New York at Grand Front Osaka, but only just


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.