Nobu – London
19 Old Park Lane
You know that feeling of satisfaction you get when it seems like you can do no wrong because lady luck is on your side and everything in the world in that moment seems right? Yea me neither but I have a friend of a friend who once claimed they did.
Well a couple months ago, I came about as close to it as I’ll ever get – even if it was by design. I had just finished my last day at my job and thought I’d keeping the good times rolling by celebrating the event with a nice meal. Such a life milestone, however minor in the grand scheme of things, required a venue to match and so fittingly, I decided to treat myself and T to Nobu for some high-end Japanese – my cuisine of choice. In truth I just needed an excuse and this was the best one – my alternative was going to be because of my recent new hairstyle but that didn’t quite seem to cut it (pun completely intended).
I was pulling out all the stops on this visit and was ready to eat up a storm with an order that in itself read like a menu – starters of ceviche, salmon and avocado inside out sushi, baby tiger shrimp tempura with all sauces, grilled asparagus with dried miso; mains of Dover sole with black bean sauce, tenderloin of beef with teriyaki sauce, Matsuhisa slider; and dessert of strawberry cheesecake and coconut mochi (phew, need a minute after that…).
The ceviche and salmon and avocado inside out came together, a beautiful union if I ever saw one. I love ceviche and I feel equally the same about sushi so seeing these on the table at the same time was my idea of a pretty sensual threesome. Both were made to the high standard expected of Nobu dishes so to say they were enjoyable would be an understatement – a very strong start to the meal.
Next to come was the baby tiger shrimp tempura and T could hardly contain her excitement as this is one of her favourite dishes – period – to the point that were I to turn my head, I fear I may have missed out. We couldn’t settle on which sauce we liked so we choose the easy way out and opted for all three (ponzu, creamy spicy sauce and jalapeno) though now having had all in a row now to taste test, I prefer the creamy spicy sauce. The bowl of shrimp was a lot more generous than I remember and I am totally not complaining. I do love this dish and a visit to Nobu is incomplete without it.
We figured we should somehow get some greens into the meal considering how heavy the rest of it as going to be and the grilled asparagus with dried miso was an appealing. It was served in a tangy miso based sauce which I found delightful and was a welcomed changed from all the savoury dishes we’d had previously – almost acting as a bit of a palette cleaner. The dried miso didn’t add an overwhelming amount to the dish apart from add a bit of texture.
Moving ahead to the main part of the meal, the Dover sole with black bean sauce was exceptional and was probably the highlight dish of the night for me – the fish pan fried to just on the edge of raw and cooked and the sauce completely balanced so as to not take away from the fish.
The tenderloin however was not to be scoffed at either. Served medium-rare, it was as tender as its name suggests and basically melted in your mouth – a fine dish in its own right but was just up against stiff competition.
Surprisingly, the weakest dish of the night (for me anyway) were the Matsuhisa sliders. For those of you who read this blog even sparingly, you’ll know that we here at We Try Kai love our burgers so for this to not be the highlight is very strange indeed. Well on paper, with a description that read like “shiitake mushroom, lettuce and a wagu beef patty served with a chilli tomato sauce sandwich between two tofu “buns””, how could this be anything but a winner? The reality was though that the patty was overcooked and the overall slider lacked any sort of real flavour. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the great burgers I’ve had round London and as a result, my expectations have been raised but I won’t be ordering this again.
Bringing us home was the strawberry cheesecake (served with strawberry sorbet and kanten and an oat biscuit) and a coconut mochi (though this was quite a decision in itself given the variety of mochi’s on offer). Having original considered ordering a dessert each, I am thankful we didn’t because the cheesecake was extremely rich – a wonderful sharing dessert for those romantics out there.
Meal over and hunger satisfied, I felt on top of the world – nothing was going to stop me now! Well, that would be true until I stood up and realised I had completely overeaten and wouldn’t be moving at any great speed anytime soon. Lucky for me then I was heading into a brief period of unemployment and wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere anytime soon…