Japan is world renounced as a gourmand’s heaven. This is especially the case in Osaka, famous for its ‘kuadore’ culture, aka ‘eat till you drop’. Regardless if it is a Michelin rated restaurant or just a tiny mom and pop shop around the corner, chefs often over-achieve and over-deliver, as striving for excellence is deeply ingrained into Japanese culture.

If I need to pick one meal as a favorite out of my brief stay in Osaka, I’d have to say the winner is Fujiya 1935. Before the trip, while researching for a Michelin-star restaurant with a decent and reasonable lunch menu, I came up with three contenders: Point (French – 2 stars), Hajime (Innovative – 2 stars) and Fujiya 1935*** (Innovative – 3 stars). After reading multiple online reviews and also taking price into consideration, my final pick was Fujiya 1935.

Communicating with them over the phone for reservations was challenging as I don’t speak any Japanese. The only word I could pick out from the conversation was “hotel”. I guess what they were trying to convey was that they only take bookings from hotel staff, and I completely understand and respect that. Fast forward to multiple phone calls and email correspondences with hotel staff, I was finally good to go!!!

Food and beverage aside, what I found most impressive was the logistics of the meal. From the first step into the restaurant until the time we left, everything was timed to a tee.

Fujiya 1935, in my mind, has undoubtedly mastered the art of hospitality.

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Hot towel and Japanese tea were served while we waited in their lounge area.

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Miyoshi sparkling Chardonnay vintage brut ~ As much as I can, I often try to order local wines. Unfortunately in Fujiya 1935, the wine list was very limited, with a total of 3 to 4 Japanese wines only. This tradition method sparkling wine was 80,000 yen. Our waitress compared this against an old bottle of sake, rightfully so, as both contained traces of yeasty and nutty characteristics. This wine was well-made and elegant, and the price tag reflected that to a certain extent.

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The first amuse-bouche was a fresh and crisp radish.

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Served with a wasabi cream dip.

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Green peas bread with air bubbles ~ The texture of this ultra-soft ‘bread’ was more like a sponge cake, with green peas cream as filling.

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White shrimp, prawn bizcocho ~ Light and refreshing shrimp ceviche, showcasing the fresh seafood ingredients without over-imposing on flavors.

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Cutlass fish, Japanese parsley, tomato ~ The fish was light and flaky, but what I liked most is that the fish was still steaming hot when served to us.

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The buns were so hot to a point that my hands were burned trying to tear them apart. Served with butter that immediately melted, they were sinfully delicious. The secret for maintaining the heat was a hot stone plate, hidden underneath the bread box. Ingenuity at its best.

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Clam and blossoms ~ The trick to this dish: the clams cannot be over-cooked or they become chewy.

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Brown mushroom spaghetti ~ Spaghetti coated in cream sauce was hiding under the thinly sliced mushrooms. Al dente~~

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Duck, several kinds of onions and leeks ~ Another perfect bite with crispy skin and moist duck meat.

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Tarte tatin ice cream ~ This was an attempt to create a unique ice-cream flavor. I would describe it as uneventful and slightly bitter.

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Kumquat and “Setoka” orange, yuza flower ~ The presentation alone took my breath away. The little kumquats were cooked so the peel was soft enough to eat. Too bad the portion was tiny.

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Suggestions for improvements:

1. Consider an online reservation system. To address the concern for no-shows, ask for credit card information to secure booking.

2. Expand on the wine list. There is nothing truly Spanish about the cuisine so why are the wines heavily focused on Spanish wines? A good mix from all countries are advisable, with heavier focus to showcase local Japanese wines.

3. Increase portion size; they are tiny.

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