Osaka is incredibly popular and jolly difficult to get a table in – for a very very good reason. The food is simply out-of-this-world. The idea of Japanese Peruvian fusion comes from Diego de la Puente and co. who started with a beach bar in Peru and I hope are soon to take over the world. In fact, I ate there recently with some foreign journalists who think it is easily better than the prestigious Nobu chain.
The restaurant is simple, un-pretentious and buzzing. The staff are busy and the place gets noisy. This time round we started with a mixture of cocktails, not great for the head but the taste-buds were happy – the house caiproska comes with passion fruit and strawberry for the sweet toothed, the piscos are refreshing but deadly. The menu is soon to change and I was lucky enough to sample the Pisco Punch, a hand-me-down of 1920s U.S.A with pisco, pineapple and plenty of ice – impressive.
The nosh is cleverly thought out – some of my favourites are the passion fruit and peanut prawns and the shells filled with seafood which come rather dramatically alight. Those in the know, elegantly extinguish the fire with a squeeze of lime and then to avoid piglet style munching, delicately eat it with a spoon. Causa, a traditional Peruvian dish is given a new lease of life by the addition of wasabi to the mashed potato and the mouthfuls topped with octopus are swallowed down in one gulp.
Salmon tiraditos arrive with a lashing of coconut and melt in your mouth: noises that are more appropriate for the bedroom are heard from all corners of the two storey restaurant. It is evident how much research goes into sourcing products and ideas from Asia and Diego spends a good chunk of time in the area, particularly in Bali apparently.
I think it best to share here so that you can enjoy more morsels of deliciousness but some people aren’t so generous and want to hog something for themselves – a bit like an ex-boyfriend of mine (urgh). The crab soup is something a friend of mine talks about obsessively from the other side of the world now – yes maybe she is somewhat sad, however she is right. The red curry Thai chicken is another dish that comes to mind and really shows you the difference between average, OK Asian food and mind-blowingly scrumptious kinds. Which reminds me that my recent review of Neo Lotus Thai should become void due to a change of chef. Sadly their clients. When I sent the slimy chicken, undercooked noodles and tasteless curry back a couple of weeks ago, I was told that the new chef needed time to learn and practise – well not on me when I am paying he doesn’t!
Osaka is not cheap because they use high quality ingredients that are found in few other places, but I would suggest that people save and scrimp so that they can savour the flavours. If dosh is no issue well then move in next door and book a permanent table. It is easier to get a table at lunchtime or otherwise reserve with mucha anticipación so that you aren’t disappointed. This may read as if I was being paid, bribed or like I have become an Argentine critic who is too scared to actually criticise but quite frankly, if you don’t want steak, there is no better restaurant in Buenos Aires. The Osaka fare is high for international levels and deserves a star or two in memory of Mr. André Michelin. There are a couple about town that come within a step or two of here but I am not one to divulge secrets…
Osaka, Soler 5608, Palermo, Tel: 4775 6964
Likely to be sitting next to – people who love amazing food
Some people will love – the buzz
My favourite dish – ooh, too difficult because they are all so great. I abstain from having to choose.
Likely to spend – lots, but oh so worth it