A taste of a luxurious view in Osaka.

Japan has a lot of castles, but what makes Osaka Castle one of the coolest is its location. It sits right at the center of the third largest city in the country, which means you can get some amazing views of it from nearby skyscrapers, often with both the castle and the modern cityscape in the same field of view.

And you’d better believe that the DoubleTree by Hilton Osaka Castle took this into account when designing its Lounge & Bar Sen. Located on the hotel’s sixth floor, Sen boasts a fashionable interior…

…which you could argue is actually a bit superfluous, since when we visited, we were captivated by the view out the panoramic windows that make up most of the exterior wall.

But we did manage to tear our eyes away from Osaka Castle when our amazing selection of food and beverages was served.

We stopped by Sen during our recent stay at the DoubleTree, which just opened at the beginning of May, to try out the Osaka Castle Afternoon Tea set, which consists of several beautifully prepared items, including an edible version of Osaka Castle!

The roof of the actual Osaka Castle is a distinct green color, the result of its copper coating oxidizing to a fortuitously fetching hue. So while the edible Osaka Castle that sits atop Sen’s tea tray is officially called a “lemon pound cake,” it also contains chocolate enhanced with Japan’s favorite green-colored dessert flavoring: matcha green tea.

The mix of sweet but tart citrus with the bitter matcha notes works surprisingly well, our taste testing Japanese-language reporter Yayoi Saginomiya says, balancing each other without diminishing their individual charms. Oh, and if you’re a history buff, you’ll definitely have a smile on your face as you lay siege to the castle with your fork and see its defenses crumble before your assault.

The Osaka Castle cake is far from the only sweet treat included in the Osaka Castle Afternoon Tea set. On the day of our visit, we were also served pistachio nama chocolate (an extra creamy kind of chocolate) and a blueberry tartine.

Our unabashedly sweets-obsessed spirits soared even higher as we made our way down to the second plate tier and saw a glass of almond tofu butterfly tea gelatin, loquat compote, and slices of matcha tiramisu and melon shortcake.

It wasn’t all desserts, though, as the bottom plate had a slider-size bacon burger, medley of salmon, asparagus, and avocado, and a Jamon Serrano and mozzarella arancini.

Finally, we were given a pair of scones, one plain and one matcha, with a dish of clotted cream, yuzu citrus jam, and raspberry jam to accompany them.

Everything tasted wonderful, and visually the meal was full of delightful details like the dome-shaped chocolate cap to the matcha tiramisu, giving us a peek at the sweet kuromame beans inside and the ladybug-like pattern to the melon shortcake.

Also included in the Osaka Castle Afternoon Tea set are unlimited refills of tea and coffee from Ronnefeldt and Dilmah. Yayoi opted for rose French vanilla tea first, then a peppermint blend, and found both to be excellent complements to the flavors of the food.

The Osaka Castle Afternoon Tea is limited to 30 orders per day, requires an ahead-of-time reservation, and is priced at 6,000 yen (US$37.50). As you can see, it’s a fancy meal in a fancy hotel, so the price feels fair, especially considering that it’s rather filling as far as afternoon tea sets go, enough so that you might want to go for a nice walk in the nearby Osaka Castle Park afterwards for a nice digestive stroll. We’re even hoping to go back to Sen again soon, since from July 1 they’ve started serving a summer version of the set, which keeps the edible Osaka Castle cake and adds in new sweets like coconut mousse and dragon fruit watermelon truffles.

Restaurant information
Lounge & Bar Sen / ラウンジ&バー SEN(舟)
Located inside DoubleTree by Hilton Osaka Castle / ダブルツリーbyヒルトン大阪城
Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku Otemae 1-1-1

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