Irasshaimase!” that is the greeting that Robin and I encounter as we walked into Nobu, inside their new Shoreditch location. Rewind a few weeks back, I had made dinner reservations for the day after our wedding anniversary. My only excuse is that sometimes there is too much information going into my brain and therefore, things slip from time to time. On a rainy, dreary night after work, I made the short walk to Willow Street and met the husband inside the hotel lobby bar. That sounds very Mr and Mrs Smith, but the reality was not quite the same (I ordered a lychee juice for one thing) and I had made the very fashionable booking time of 6:30 for dinner (look, I like eating early) 😉 This meant that we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves…however not for long, for this is Nobu.
Thanks to our early booking, we have our pick of tables and nab a cosy corner booth facing the restaurant. My bag is whisked away and swapped with a wooden cloakroom tag before I even register to say thank you and led to our table by the hostess. An Armani clad server soon nips over and patiently explains the menu to us Nobu newbies
Cold, Hot, Sushi & Sashimi and then the Shoreditch Specials
Going on her advice we order a couple of items from each section
From the Cold selection, we pick the yellowtail tuna sashimi and the seafood ceviche, to cleanse our palates before moving onto the hot food.
The sashimi is divine; as fresh as the sea it was plucked from- and the best I’ve ever had. The waiter brought it to our table and said that the chef recommended placing a leaf of coriander onto the morsel of fish. The jalapeno gave it a gentle kick on the tongue- such a simple, but delicious plate and turned out to be my absolute favourite choice of the entire meal. Brutal Simplicity- my old employers were onto something there.
Under Hot food, we ordered the Black Cod in Miso- perhaps Nobu’s most well known dish- tiger prawn tempura, and crispy rice squares with spicy tuna.
Tiger prawns- delicious. What’s not to love about juicy prawns in a light tempura batter?
Black cod in miso? Lovely. Sticky, sweet sauce (maybe even too sweet at times) marinated over a plump and juicy piece of cod. I can see why it’s a signature dish.
The crispy rice? Meh. Wasn’t a fan of the texture (it stuck to my teeth) but the spicy tuna that accompanied it? Delicious.
Each Nobu location has their own specials, and Shoreditch isn’t any different. We chose the Chilean Seabass with creamy Yuzu sauce and Truffled Honey. So special, it needs fancy Cap Lock titles! Seabass is probably my favourite fish-and my preferred method of eating it is steamed. I had some reservations at first, as this dish sounded busy, but the end result was good.
The sauce, so rich and creamy with a touch of tangy yuzu, the meaty portion of fish adorned with shavings of truffles and honey and sprinkled generously with chives. It is certainly not a side dish- the generous portion size meant that after all our small bites, I couldn’t finish my share and let Robin eat the rest.
I know…we still aren’t done. We couldn’t come here to Nobu and not try their sushi. We chose the scallop nigiri, the Nobu House Special roll and a Soft Shell Crab roll.
The scallops were delicate and sweet; the slices of raw scallop were almost melt in your mouth.
The rolls here are wrapped in lettuce? cabbage? I’m not sure which vegetable leaf, but this clever addition gives the roll a crunch, without compromising on taste. I enjoyed both roll selections- to be honest, the sushi menu is fab- you can’t go wrong with any choice here.
Because, no matter how full you are, there is always, always room for dessert (or just a separate stomach)
So, by now it was creeping close to 8:30pm- peak dinner time. We knew they would need our table back by then, but hey, I ordered dessert. Deciding to share a Golden Ka- a golden spherical ball of chocolate filled with passionfruit mousse and mango- it was presented onto our table and before I could even go ‘oooooh, ahhhh’, a server had poured hot chocolate sauce all over it and I watched it melt in front of me. That was the only moment I felt rushed- but it was a brief one.
I had a brief glimpse at the bar, next to the restaurant. Apparently, it has the largest collection of Japanese whisky in the city. So, there you go whisky lovers. The bar wasn’t as busy as the restaurant, so you could easily walk in after work for a few drinks and bar nibbles without needing a reservation.
Overall, my first Nobu experience- great! It’s not going to be a regular occurrence, but for a special occasion, absolutely. The service was brilliant, the food was lovely- especially the sushi- and you know what? For one evening, I felt like a cool young thing.