If you're in Umeda, Osaka and you want to discover the local culture, you should definitely try an izakaya (Japanese pub) for some tasty dishes! Rock Izakaya Star is all that and more, you can enjoy some awesome food and drinks in a venue that would make any rock lover's heart sing!
Do you remember the opening tune for the TV show Cheers? "Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name." You know the feeling when you're travelling or living abroad and you're looking for something familiar. Well, if you've never been here, chances are no one knows your name, but a few drinks in, and you'll know everyone.
Rock Izakaya Star is an unpretentious music bar which brings people together for their love of music, specifically rock. What's fun about this izakaya is that you can easily strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you or with the bartender and talk about music for hours. Great food and great music are all you really need, really.
You can ask the staff and they will play whichever tune you want on the tv screen. The staff are really approachable, and although they don't really speak English, what they lack in English skills, they make up for in terms of friendliness! They do, however, have an English menu (and even a drink menu in Chinese)! And the owner claims to be fluent in body language. Charades 'sensei' perhaps.
What you'll also notice at this music bar is the incredible attention to detail here in terms of decoration. The bar counter is made of actual guitars, the lighting made of drum sets, the counter of drumsticks, there are even pedals on the front door! It's a really beautiful and inviting venue. It's worth making the trip to Osaka just to see it!
Rock Izakaya Star's Menu
What's great about this izakaya is that they offer some classic and delish Japanese food, but they also add some tasty Western food to the mix! The "omotenashi" (hospitality) in Osaka is like nowhere else.
The Sashimi Assortment of 3 types of fish ￥950 (excluding taxes)
You should start your meal off with a sashimi assortment. The fish is selected daily at the local market nearby Umeda, this guarantees the freshest possible ingredients. The sashimi set changes daily given that they only want to serve the freshest, in-season ingredients. You'll be amazed at how tender the fish is. Undoubtedly, the perfect accompaniment to this dish is their selection of sake. This dish can be served half-size as well.
The gumbo soup, ￥600 (excluding taxes) & The mac and cheese, ￥500 (excluding taxes)
If you want to spice things up, quite literally, you might want to try the Cajun dishes. The gumbo soup is made with chicken soup, over 10 kinds of spices, and is simmered for two days. It's also made with chicken thighs, sausage, okra, celery, etc.
Next in the American soul food line-up, is good ol' mac and cheese. Is there a more comforting dish than mac and cheese? I think not. Especially with their super cheesy and creamy sauce.
These two dishes go down so well with a nice cold beer! Who knew you could have Cajun dishes right in the heart of Osaka!
Half pound of shoulder loin steak, ￥1,500 (excluding taxes)
Now meat-lovers, brace yourselves!
First, if you're craving some meat, start with the steak, a half pound of shoulder loin steak. It is tender and juicy and served with two different sauces.
The BBQ sauce spareribs, ￥980 (excluding taxes)
Next, the red BBQ sauce spareribs are absolutely amazing. They are made with a home-made BBQ sauce and Cajun spices, in which the ribs were simmered and then cooked again. The meat is so incredibly tender and deliciously addictive. It is served with some mashed potatoes and tomatoes.
The Karaage, ￥500 (excluding taxes)
Now for a Japanese classic, you need to try the "karaage" (Japanese fried chicken). This is the number one menu item, and the best part is it's surprisingly cheap for the quantity and quality that you get! What sets this karaage apart is that it's made with famous chicken from Kyushuu. The karaage is tender and juicy, and goes a little too well with beer! You can choose between three flavours: plain, spicy and curry. Yum! One of each, please.
If you don't know what to try, or you wanna try a little bit of everything because, well what the heck, you're in Osaka, you should try the course menu. They come with a 2-hour all-you-can-drink plan. There are two course options to choose from:
1) This course comes with their famous potato salad, a seasonal vegetable salad, French potatoes, karaage, and a daily recommended dish (￥3,500, excluding taxes)
2) The following plan includes the same as the one mentioned above and also comes with a seasonal sashimi plate (￥4,500, excluding taxes).
The all-you-can-drink course includes beer, a glass of house wine or a bottle (changes daily), chuhai, shochu, sake, whiskey, cocktails, soft drinks, etc.
"I wanna rock-and-roll all night and party every day!" Well, you've come to the right place! Umeda, Osaka is where it's at apparently!
There is also another music bar next door, and it is a lot like the cool older brother you used to look up to; he has an awesome guitar collection, great taste in music and his room is so fresh! Well, this bar is the embodiment of that. This bar is cosy and cool and feels super authentic. While you're in Osaka, you should definitely check out both venues if you have the chance.
Unlike a lot of izakayas, the food here is home-made and really delicious, and the atmosphere feels authentic and welcoming! Rock Izakaya Star should be on your check-list when in Umeda, Osaka!