Sometimes you wait for something to happen for a long time and then, all at once, it happens twice. Last autumn, I had the chance to eat not at one but at two Nobu restaurants, in Marbella and London. Both incredible experiences that have turned me into a fan of the Nobu brand. The Omakase tasting menu at Nobu Shoreditch was one of the best meal I had in 2017.
Nobu Shoreditch opened last July as part of the new Nobu Hotel on Willow Street, EC2A.
The trendy neighbourhood around Old Street and Great Eastern Street is one I know well and that I frequently visit. To find Nobu, you need to know that it’s there, as Willow Street is tucked away from the main road. Turn into the little street and the imposing hotel is impossible to miss.
Enter the hotel from Willow Street, cross the lobby and walk the long staircase down into the restaurant.
Even if you have never been to Nobu, you have probably heard of it already. The renowned restaurant group founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper now features over 30 restaurants across the world. Chances are there’s one in your city. The Shoreditch restaurant is the third Nobu in London, after Park Lane and Berkeley Street.
Concrete walls and floors provide an industrial look for the cavernous dining room, which can seat 240 guests (including a private room). Oak timber tables, terracotta vases and soft spotlights add warmth to the space.
The staircase leads into the lounge bar, a double-height space bathed in light coming through a 5-metre high glass wall.
There is an outdoor courtyard for al-fresco dining, which can be accessed directly from the street. I am looking forward to having a few drinks there in the summer.
The bar menu features an extensive range of wines and sake as well as Nobu signature cocktails. On my first visit to the bar I noticed that all the mixologists at the bar were Italian, so of course I had to order one of my favourite drinks, a Negroni.
I’ve been to Nobu Shoreditch twice, once for drinks on a Sunday evening and once for lunch on a Saturday. Both times the restaurant was fairly quiet, but as you can expect it gets very busy for dinner. I would recommend booking a table in advance.
The large kitchen opens into the dining room with a long and low sushi counter dividing the two areas. I love sitting at the counter, especially in sushi restaurants where the food preparation is so beautiful to watch. In my opinion, it adds so much to the whole dining experience.
There is a reason why the Nobu is restaurants are famous all around the world and the answer is of course the quality of the food. The essence of Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa cuisine is a blend of Japanese and Peruvian flavours, with signature dishes such as Yellowtail with Jalapeño or Black Cod Miso.
You will find these classics on the menu of every Nobu, together with exclusive dishes. Executive Chef Greg Seregi and Head Sushi Chef Teruya Noriyoshi are in charge of the kitchen in Shoreditch.
The best way to experience Nobu Shoreditch is to order the multi-course Omakase tasting menu. We started with this work of art, Dry Miso Style Japanese Red Snapper, which was almost too pretty to eat.
The tasting menu continued with Tuna Tataki Sashimi with Tosazu, an incredible dish of lightly seared tuna.
Everything in the sushi selection was delicious, especially the Lobster Wasabi Tacos.
Next was the Black Cod Den Miso with Yuzu Miso Sauce and Pickled Ginger Root, surely the most famous dish to try at Nobu. It is the single best thing I have tasted in any restaurant in 2017.
The fish is marinated in sweet sake-
Beef Toban-Yaki is another one of Nobu’s signature dishes which you can taste across all Nobu restaurants. The beef is sautéed in sake in a traditional-style Japanese ceramic skillet (Toban).
The dessert – Santori Whiskey Foam, Almond Crumble, Coffee Brulée and Milk Ice Cream – was delicious (though not much to look at). I loved the subtle coffee and whiskey flavours and the juxtaposition of creamy and crunchy textures.
Overall I had a great experience at Nobu Shoreditch: the food and service were flawless. As we left around 4pm, the restaurant was starting to get busy for the Saturday evening service. I’d love to return on a busy evening and sit at the sushi counter to watch the chefs at work.
Nobu Shoreditch is the first London Nobu to offer breakfast, so if you want to get a taste of Nobu without breaking the bank, go on a weekday morning. The Matcha Waffle with Chicken with Smoked Maple Ponzu sounds like an amazing dish to try.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Nobu Shoreditch. All opinions are my own.