Monday, May 19, 2008

Extravagent eating - Nobu

Robert De Niro's restaurant Nobu is a synonomous with innovative Japanese cuisine served up in style... And that's exactly what I got when I visited the Nobu located at SouthBanks Crown Casino. To my surprise we were able to get a booking for a table of five just two days prior to our visit!

Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa is responsible for establishing the first Nobu restaurant in New York, that triggered off a chain in London, Tokyo, Las Vegas, Milan, Hong Kong and Waikiki and ofcourse good old Melbourne. Nobu is frequently covered int he pages of the New York Times, the Zagat survey and the Michellin guide ... it would be a crime for me not to have checked out what the fuss is all about.

The restaurant has a sexy and distinctive lounge feel to it that automatically puts you at ease and all of a sudden you are inspired to order an exotic cocktail, take off your coat, show off your elegant evening dress and drape your legs in a seductive James Bond like criss cross sort of way by the bar! Waiting for the rest of my freinds to join us, we sat at the long bar and I ordered melon belini. Looking around the place customers comprised quite a mix of businessman, young proffesionals looking glam and some rather doudy looking middle aged people that seemed out of place. Anyhow, my belini arrives and suprisingly its not served up in a long champagne glass but has been shaken and served on ice in a stout glass, none the less it tastes fab - fresh and delivering a heady punch at the end.

By the time my drink came to its end the rest of the gang had arrived and we proceeded downstairs to be seated at our round table.

We started out with the highly recommended and talked of Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapenos - pure delight for the palate - smooth and buttery it was subtle yet sensational.

Tataki with Onion Ponzo and Garlic Chips... this was a platter of Wagyu beef with a grading of 9+ and was delicious. The taste is very much Tepanyaki inspired, with these wafer thin slices of beef garnished with curls of paper thin crisp garlic slices - the combination is absolutely delicate and the meat - ohhhhh, so perfectly cooked tender as ever!

Fried Oysters with a touch of Wasabi Mayo. Never eaten oysters like this - was interesting but don't think I would order them like this again - all that deep fried noodle covering takes away from the texture and feel of the way an oyster should really be slurped up!

Black Cod with Miso - a definite must have - was my favourite part of the meal. What a dish!!!

And finally the moment I had been waiting for all night - the Wagyu beef with a marbling of 9+ and priced at AUD 35 per 50 g. WOW! It came with three accompanying dipping sauces... Wish I didnt have to share it!

The chicken that was oh so BORING! I did not order this dish and don't have much to say about it - average!
By this stage we were good to go, having downed several courses, but its not everyday that you eat at Nobu so we splurged and this Sashimi platter was a result of giving into tempatation. Tuna, Salmon, Scallopes, White Snapper and caviar...

All in all - the meal was unforgettable but I must confess that my degustation menu at the shy and unacclaimed Shoya was better by leaps and bounds. For the glitz and glamour Nobu is a must see - but for all the raving it does not do itself justify!

Nobu on Urbanspoon

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