La Baie in Osaka’s Ritz Carlton is an exemplary fine dining restaurant. It ticks all the boxes with effortless, slick service, a suitably grand décor, lengthy wine list and most importantly carefully executed food.
The latter, courtesy of chef Christophe Gibert, could best be described as contemporary haute cuisine that is decidedly French in its approach, yet mainly uses high quality Japanese produce. Dishes such as oyster, potatoes and caviar show how well-balanced Gibert’s cooking can be: no element sticks out, and together the combination of oysters and potato works marvellously well.
More conventional conceptually, but no less delicious is a piece of Japanese beef served with green vegetables and an olive oil emulsion. This is impeccably executed cooking, making full use of Japan’s beautiful products and certainly not skimping on flavour.
Kirsch-flambéed cherries with vanilla ice cream evidence that Gibert’s team is perfectly capable of serving the great dishes of the classical repertoire. Expertly flambéed by the Maître d’Hôtel, this is the sort of nostalgic dish one gets all too rarely in France itself these days.
A meal at La Baie is a complete experience. It brings the positive aspects of the grand restaurant to the heart of Osaka in a way that does not feel stuffy or overly complicated. That this restaurant only has one Michelin star is difficult to understand given the quality of what is served here.