Wander seven floors up to the rooftop beer garden of Dotonbori’s New Japan building and you might feel like you have teleported yourself to the south of France.
Opened just a few months ago, the open-air bar and kitchen looks like the courtyard of a Saint-Paul de Vence art museum with miniature, arched, stained glass windows, creeping vines, hanging pot plants and tiled walkways. It is so quaint, you would be forgiven for getting carried away browsing the area and forgetting to buy a drink. That is if you are not distracted first by the giant 500-inch screen showing a film or televising the latest world sporting event.
Gastro Garden on the 7th’s owners, Katsuhiro and Yoshie Nakano, say the European-style garden is a family project inspired by their grandfather’s love for Europe. Often Japanese customers tell them once they walk into the courtyard they feel like they are on vacation. Katsuhiro and Yoshie think the garden’s atmosphere will make many a foreigner feel at home.
The area seats about 40 people on woven bamboo chairs arranged in small groups around matching tables. These encircle a central water feature which is illuminated from below by soft, yellow underwater lights. A large menu of drinks is on offer with beers, cocktails and everything in between starting from ¥600. To really get a feel for the place, you could sit at one of the tables next to the herb garden and order the bar’s signature drink; a mojito garnished with its very own home-grown mint. Take a Japanese slant on the beverage and order the mojito made with saké.
Open the English/Japanese food menu and you are bound to find something to your taste. There are some delicious starters to choose from including Norwegian salmon, smoked scallop carpaccio and ratatouille. Pasta, curry and pizza are on offer along with a variety of meat dishes, or you could select some light greens from the salad list. The huge California sushi rolls are a delicious must-try. Dessert is not to be overlooked; you can choose from rice flour roll cakes, pineapple sticks with tiramisu and mouth-watering chocolate brownies with vanilla ice-cream.
The latest offer from Gastro Garden on the 7th is a lunchtime barbecue course which is available each day before beer garden opening hours. The kitchen provides the grill for you to cook, plus ¥10,000 meat and vegetable plates that can feed five people each. All-you-can-drink deals cost ¥1,500 yen and there is a ¥500 per person charge for renting the barbeque grill.
Gastro Garden on the 7th
Address: 7F New Japan Building, 2-3-28 Dotonbori Chuo-Ku, Osaka
Access: Namba Stn, 10-min walk (See KS Shinsaibashi map B4)
Open: 5pm to midnight
Barbecue course: available every day (including Mondays) 11am–3:30pm (reservation only)
Reservations: Please call 06-6211-0900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org