As winter creeps in and the mercury drops, the body yearns for comfort food. And few places do comfort food like the French bistro, serving satisfying cooking with glamour and finesse.
Osaka has no shortage of French restaurants, but in bustling Shinsaibashi lies the gem Bistrot d’Anjou. Osaka’s oldest bistro has been serving brasserie food to a loyal following for 40 years.
The subterranean restaurant, tucked away in an alley just off Ebisubashi arcade, is an affectionate homage to the Parisian bistro. Its decor does a fine job of evoking the grandeur of the Belle Epoque; a pastiche of bow-tied waiters, brass railway luggage racks, dark banquettes and chairs, a wall of gleaming copper pots and brass lamps.
The menu is similarly faithful, never straying too far from the built-in familiarity of bistro classics. A pleasant surprise, however, is the affordability of this menu; a three-course dinner with coffee and tea will only cost ¥3,500. Lunch is, of course, even better value at ¥2,625 for the lot.
Entrée could be escargot simmered with butter and parsley, or the dangerously wicked foie gras terrine, which is served at the table with customers asked to indicate the desired portion size (warning: although it’s tempting to take a massive slice, there is such thing as too much foie gras).
For main you can’t go past the coq au vin, cooked in its own little cast-iron pot and theatrically served at the table. First, a quenelle of buttery mash is placed on the plate, over which the wait staff spoon a rich sauce and then meat. Those wanting the forest taste of autumn should order the rabbit in cream sauce, which is cooked with a generous helping of seasonal chanterelle mushrooms.
To finish, dessert could be a light ice cream done affogato style with bubbly moscato, or, if digestion allows, the memorable chocolate mousse. Staff serve it at the table from a giant glass bowl, and here again let us dictate how many scoops (tip: four is too many).
With authenticity, attention to detail and plenty of good food, Bistrot d’Anjou sends diners on a one-night trip to Paris. And we can only hope they’ll keep doing it for another forty years.
[box]Where: Hayakawa Bldg B1F, 2-6-18, Shinsaibashi
Hours: Lunch 11:30am-3pm, Dinner 5:30-9:30pm (weekdays) 11:30am-9:30pm (Sat, Sun, holidays)
Url: www.anjou.co.jp/shop/bistrot [/box]