Nobu has long held the longest standing position on my list of places to go in London. The newer Japanese restaurants like Zuma, Roka and Yashin had been swapping in at last minute to trump the older, well established Nobu. Nobu is still considered as one of the best Japanese restaurants in London, but Londoners no longer talk about it in an excited tone, more like ‘oh Nobu, ok’. Each conversation about Nobu has turned into naming other Japanese restaurants that are better.
My experience at Nobu? Great Japanese food, but yes, not as good as Zuma, Roka and Yashin.
Nobu’s menu was similar to those in Chinese restaurants, long lists of classic dishes that takes a long time to decide. We gave up after 10 minutes and decided to with the £80 and £95 omakase menu. Omakase means ‘leave to the chef’. £80 menu hosts the most popular dishes at Nobu, while £95 menu give modern twists to traditional dishes depending on the freshest ingradients of the day.
On the downside, we were sharing both menus, which means I can’t remember which dish belonged to which menu! There was way too much food for 2 people, I walked out of Nobu like a pregnant woman!
Yellow tail with caviar
We were told the yellowtail was suppose to be eaten with the purple leaf on the right. I can’t remember what the leaf was, it was a delicious way to eat sashimi. The tingling taste of dried seaweed flavours matched the fresh taste of yellowtail really well.
Seabass with shiso sauce
I liked this dish more the previous as the seabass tasted smoother and fresher. Perfectly seasoned with shiso sauce. Loved this dish.
Lobster, sea urchin, abalone, sesame and citrus sauce
This Sea Urchin was the freshest I’ve tried in London. The fresh Sea Urchin in Japan tastes creamy with a after taste of sticky sweetness, while the London ones have been bitter and slightly tougher in texture. Nobu was the closest I’ve tasted to that sticky sweetness, though still miles away from the Sea Urchin I’ve tried in Japan. Abalone was average but lobster was very fresh.
Sole and Razor clam, miso sauce with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice
Average dish, I can’t remember very much of it which probably speaks volumes!
Salmon tempura, mixed veg, spicy mustard miso sauce
I’ve never tried salmon tempura before, it’s not part of the classic tempura set (normally prawn, sweet potato, mushroom etc). It was delicious, perfectly plated with the cute looking tomatoes!
Seared tuna sashimi salad with mustard onion sauce
The sauce was amazing! The strong taste of mustard and onion balanced the fresh tuna to give an extra salty and sweet onion taste compared to the classic wasabi.
The big roll behind the prawn/tuna was quite hard to eat with one mouth full….see pic below
Black cod with miso sauce
This was the most famous dish of Nobu, however it was not as good as Zuma/Roka. Perfectly seasoned but black cod was too soft in texture when compared to an almost layered texture in Zuma when you open the cod. The black cod at Zuma/Roka was also fresher with that fresh, strong taste of miso/soy sauce in every bite.
Perfectly cooked monkfish, not too tough in texture and tasted like chicken!
Beef to ban with citrus sauce
This dish looked so beautiful! Beef was however a bit chewy and too salty dipped into the sauce.
Ok dish, I can’t remember too much of it sadly.
Spicy miso soup with clams
Fresh miso soup, with a peppery spiciness and a fresh clam. Perfect way to cleanse our palates.
I thought this was to get us ready for dessert, then 2 large sushi plates came….
Assorted sushi for both omakase menus
Sushi at Nobu was benchmark, fresh fish, perfect proportion of rice and wasabi. However after my elevated taste buds from Yashin and Yoshino, this simply wasn’t the best sushi in London. The rice felt crunchier rather than simply melt in my mouth like Yoshino. The omakase menu had too much sushi after the heavy beef and duck dishes! Only 3 pieces to try would’ve been prefect!
Green tea ice cream, red bean paste and strawberry cake
I love, love, loved this dessert. You have to eat it all together to taste all the flavours. Such a smooth texture with creamy strawberry, melting green tea and a touch of red bean to combine the two. Not too sweet, perfect to end the great meal at Nobu.
Cappucino ice cream
What a cute way to present cappuccino ice cream! Full of strong coffee flavours with small crunches of nuts at the bottom. I loved it!
Overall I loved our experience at Nobu, all the dishes were above average, though not as good as Zuma or Yashin. However, a couple dislikes on the service and ambience. Our omakase menu was brought over by a different waiter each time who also spoke with a different accent each time. Some was really hard to understand, I had to ask him to repeat 3 times before realising he was trying to say yellowtail…Other than this, it was the most noisy restaurant I’ve been to in a while. At one stage, I pretended to shout just to see if anyone could hear me, but unfortunately I was drown under everyone’s conversation. It was that loud. People seemed to come from everywhere, rather than a local crowd. Since the tables were placed very closely together, it would’ve been the worst place for Valentine’s day or any sort of celebration.
Our bill came to £223, which considering how much food we ate was ok. Green tea was free, drink as much as you want!
See revisit on NYE post here