NOBU, CROWN PERTH
The first Nobu, co-owned by chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and famous actor Robert De Niro, opened in New York in 1994 and there are now nearly 30 Nobu restaurants all over the world. Australia got its first in Melbourne back in 2007, the Perth restaurant following late 2011. Matsuhisa was classically trained in Tokyo then travelled the world and working in restaurants in Peru and Argentina before opening his first restaurant, Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills in 1987. Matsuhisa was an instant success, and achieved fame in the culinary community; his food being described as “new style Japanese cuisine”.
I was taking my mother, who was visiting from New Zealand to Jersey Boys, so a good opportunity to dine at the Crown Casino, which now has a great and varied selection of restaurants, very different to when I first arrived in Perth back in 2009.
After a quick cocktail at Rockpool we arrived at the restaurant to find that it didn’t open until 6:00pm. The show was at 7:00pm, so we were a bit concerned about time, but the wait staff ensured us that we would be fine, as long as we ordered straight away. So we sat in the bar with a glass of wine and attempted to tackle the huge menu.
I had looked at the menu numerous times online, each time thinking that I would have absolutely no idea what to order when I finally get around to dining there. It is broken down into sections such as signature hot and cold dishes, yakimono, new style sashimi, specialty tempura… I didn’t really even know where to begin, except that I wanted to try one of their famous lobster tacos. With a little bit of guidance from the waiter, the order was placed five minutes after opening time, then we had to wait and hope that we would receive all our dishes in time so that we would not have to make the decision between food and entertainment!
Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño ($26), is a signature dish at Nobu and a great way to start the meal. Delicate tuna, yuzu juice (a Japanese citrus fruit), soy and a nice kick of jalapeño which was eaten as instructed by the waiter, a coriander leaf and a piece of jalapeño on each slice of tuna.
While visually stunning, I was a little bit disappointed with the Lobster Tacos ($20 for two). I found the taco to be almost wonton-like and overall the dish was very subtle, with no strong flavours coming through. I had heard so much about the signature tacos, perhaps a bad night, will try again though, or would order the wagyu tacos instead.
Again, beautifully presented, there was no problems with lack of flavour with the Nobu Style Ceviche – Mix Seafood ($22). The ceviche was quite chunky compared to others I have tried, but lovely flavours of coriander, red onion, cucumber, tomato and chilli with tasty bits of white fish, squid and shellfish.
Beef Toban-Yaki ($32) was melt-in-the-mouth perfection. Toban-yaki refers to the style of cooking, it is cooked on a Japanese ceramic dish, didn’t really enjoy sharing this one!
Pork Belly Miso Caramel ($27), nice tender pieces of pork, looked beautiful on the plate, with red onion and fresh herbs to cut through the richness of the pork.
Made it to the show without rushing, and only had to wait two minutes for the show to start after we had found our seats – perfect! Next time I would love to try the seven course Omakase lunch menu, $110 with a glass of Veuve Clicquot, as I feel I have a lot of unfinished business with the Nobu menu!