Ah Nobu… the occasion to dine there? Just as a lead up to Chinese New Year 2013 and part belated birthday celebrations of two family members! The Old Park Lane, one of the notoriously difficult areas to find parking, I found myself rushing and cursing to meet the rest of my family there on time. However, much to my relief, I wasn’t the only one delayed, so had time to sit by the bar to recompose myself. So while waiting I decided to try the Olympus OM-D in low light (no flash) and took the candle & menu below.
I am still undecided about Nobu as I watch the guests enter. The bar is a nice relaxed area but the rest of the restaurant too busy and noisy with people seemingly trying to over compensate for one thing or another.
When everyone had arrived and we were shown to a nice round table at one end of the restaurant overlooking Hyde Park, the next decision of course was to decide what to eat! As we had already eaten at Nobu several times, we all agreed that it would be nice to go Omakase which is a selection of dishes according to the Chef’s choice. I had only one very odd problem with eating… I just can’t seem to stomach cooked fish! Sashimi is fine, but the moment fish is cooked, I don’t seem to be able to get on with it. With this, my brother-in-law and I tried to convey this to the waitress who was taking our order, though unfortunately I think it went slightly over her head.
I can’t really fault the food at Nobu, but their fame is also their Achilles heel. I thought the service was slightly compromised by the fact that the whole place was totally packed which made the service more “run of the mill” with the staff seemingly harassed, and not of the standard one would expected of Nobu. This of course is solely my opinion (though this opinion I could extend to those at our table).
Omakase is always a pleasure to experience, it is a whole experience from the service and presentation of each dish to the intricate flavours combined to create the dish. This is where a chef can be so creative and the staff can demonstrate what high level of service can really be! I give you below some of the dishes served that night taken with my Olympus OM-D.
The most unusual dish served for me was the rolled lamb pictured above – quite exquisite! I just wouldn’t have thought lamb as a sushi dish and married with a delicate red and slightly pickled diakon (well at least that was my interpretation since it was very hard to hear what exactly each dish was with the noise level in the restaurant). Unfortunately one of the courses, a soup was served cold but it wasn’t just the fact that we got cold soup, we couldn’t get hold of any staff to relay this to. By the time a member of staff came to our aid, half the table had started consuming their soup: understandably as the evening was very busy, the kitchen and restaurant staff could have got their timings off, though for a restaurant of this standard, I should think this would be a rare occurence. However it was the fact that they had to ask if we would like our soup exchanged rather than immediately exchanging them that took us by surprise – that seemingly long silence which was in reality a few seconds as we were stunned by this question posed on us. As a result, those that reacted immediately had their cold soup exchanged with hot ones, while those that did not could not re-attract the staff and gave up continuing with their cold soup.
I do think Omakase is the way to go, experience what the Chef believes is his best dishes for that day, what fresh ingredients he found interesting during his trip to the market. So with that we will try a further two places discussed feverishly over this dinner (so typically Chinese: the meal had not finished and we had already started to discuss the next few!) and definitely go Omakase… As for our birthday celebrators, what a lovely meal to celebrate with family – Happy Birthday again!