Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Birthday Dinner at Nobu

Nobu has been on the list of restaurants that I want to try for a long long time.

Over the years, I have heard that it is a gastro-temple that magically marries the flavours of Japan and South America, a very unlikely combination, and, of course, it has attracted patrons all over the world, including the rich and the famous.

When Nobu lands in Melbourne (not Sydney this time, for a change), I am eager to try. I decided that it’s going to be my birthday dinner. On the day, however, I read two negative reviews about Nobu Hong Kong before I headed to the restaurant in Crown.
As you could expect, it is a very chic looking restaurant, with the bar at the ground level and the dining area at the basement. What surprises me is the level of noise. That loudness is not something that you would normally expect from a restaurant of that level. I believe it originated from the many large groups who seem to treat this place as a partying venue. The dining room was extremely crowded.
After 10 minutes of staring around, we eventually were able to capture the attention of a waiter and had a touch on the menu. The menu was extensive, ranging from traditional Japanese selections to more unusual dishes. As the restaurant encouraged us to share our dishes, we ordered 7 dishes altogether and leave it to the staff to split them into courses.

"Toro tataki with miso".
The tataki (lightly grill the surface of meat/fish and leave the centre rare ) technique intensifies the richness and creaminess of toro (tuna belly). The thick miso sauce is a perfect match. I believe Nobu has made a considerable effort in guaranteeing the supply of toro as this is one thing not easily available in Australian Japanese restaurants.

"Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno".
One of Nobu’s signature. The spicy dressing matches quite well with the yellowtail, although the fish itself doesn’t have a distinct flavour.

"Scallop Tiradito"
Peruvian fusion. The scallops have a nice delicate flavour with a hint of spiciness.

"Tomato Ceviche"
Another Peruvian fusion, it is a tomato salad, heavy in onion and quite heavily marinated in a spicy dressing. It has a very attractive and distinct flavour. A moorish dish.

"Artichoke Salad"
The most interesting dish of the evening: artichokes are thinly sliced, mixed with grated parmesan cheese, dried miso flakes with a yuzu dressing on a bed of Inaniwa udon. The blend of the flavour is awesome and unexpectedly well. The chunky artichoke with the delicate and soft inaniwa udon is a surprisingly good match.

"Black Cod with Miso"
Probably the most well-known Nobu signature dish. The cod was grilled to the extent that the corner of the fish is lined with a nice black glaze. The fish is extremely succulent and the balance of the miso and sake flavour is just right. It is served with a pickled hajikami (purple-coloured young ginger shoot) .

"Beef Anticucho"
This has the least Japanese flavour. The sourness and spiciness really hit your tongue. However the beef is a bit rough. Perhaps the only Japanese contribution is the finely shredded picked daikon which is a good counterpart to the heaviness of the meat.

"Chocolate Bento Box"
There are some more interesting sounding desserts. However, already had my full dose of adventure for the evening, I decided to go with a safe option. The soft centred chocolate pudding is smooth and rich. The green tea ice-cream is one of the best I’ve ever had.

On the food level, Nobu is pretty brilliant. The service is professional (but somehow not easily available). However, the dining experience is spoiled by other factors. As mentioned earlier, the restaurant was extremely noisy and crowded. The waiting time between each course was about 20-30 mins. During that time, we couldn’t talk due to the noise level. So we could only stare into space. Moreover, I noticed that two guys from two different tables were trying to pick-up two girls at the corner table. Nobu has been turned into a night club.

With 7 dishes, 2 desserts, 2 cocktails, 1 coke, 1 juice, 1 large sparkling water, the total bill is $192. Not too bad!

I think I’ll wait til the place become less crowded and noisy before I want to go back there again.

Counter Stats
web counters
web counters Counter


Unknown said...

Wow - it sounds divine (well, the food anyway!)

That artichoke salad had some rather interesting combinations. I can't quite imagine how each of the individual elements would combine on the palate. I gather it is one of those dishes one has to experience in person.

Great review :-)

camelia said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,