My friend had been raving about Nobu for years but until now, we hadn’t had the chance to go together. In my head there was a strong sense of hype and anticipation surrounding this meal, which thankfully the restaurant did live up to. Nobu is an established global brand name which evokes images of pricey Japanese fusion food amid funky surroundings and their Melbourne restaurant encapsulates these qualities well. It is located in the glitzy Crown casino complex and boasts a sleek wooden décor with mood lighting.
There is a youthful luxe atmosphere which permeates the whole restaurant, partially due to the upbeat lounge music playing in the background and their classy clientele. The glamorous vibe is also reflected in their prices which includes charging around $8 for a bottle of Fiji water (there is no option to order plain tap water). Nevertheless, I was converted into a Nobu fan over the course of the night because of the undeniable quality of the food they presented to us.
We started with their signature dish, the Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno which looked deceptively simple on the plate but packed interesting flavours onto a thin sliver of raw fish. The sashimi was fresh and soaked up the light soy sauce dressing while the single slice of Jalapeno chilli was just enough to leave a spicy tingle on your tongue after each bite.
Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno, $22
After that came one of my favourite dishes – sashimi tacos with yellowtail, salmon, lobster and snow crab. It’s hard enough for me to eat regular sized tacos without making a mess but Nobu’s crispy tacos are mini sized and quite delicate which presented a real challenge to gracefully eat them. I picked the lobster and salmon ones and when a dollop of their tomato salsa was added they became tasty little morsels leaving me wanting more. If only they made them in bigger sizes as a main!
Sashimi tacos, 4 pieces for $23.50
The last of our entrees to share was the crispy rice with spicy tuna, which on first impression looks like street food with a toothpick sticking out of each bite-sized cube of deep fried rice. There was definitely a bit of novelty factor appeal about the dish though I was a bit sceptical at first about how they would actually taste. I shouldn’t have worried because these little babies became very addictive when a little spoonful of the diced spicy tuna was layered on top of each crunchy rice cube. All in all, this dish was a surprise hit but was a bit pricey for what we actually got.
Crispy rice with spicy tuna, $28
After feasting on all that sashimi, our hot main of the night was the mouth-watering black miso cod. The flesh comes away smoothly as you pry it apart, which foreshadows the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the fish when you take your first bite. The miso has been beautifully absorbed into the fish and to increase the intense flavour of the dish, you can add a dab of the miso sauce they have included. After a while, the miso taste does get quite overwhelmingly salty if the fish is eaten on its own, so we ordered some steamed white rice to help finish it off. I’d suggest for this dish to be shared between 2 people for maximum enjoyment.
Black miso cod, $47.50
Looking back on it, this was a very seafood heavy meal but it showcased exactly why Nobu has its status as one of the most famous restaurants in the world. I’ll be back to try their wagyu beef options next time I’m back in town.
Riverside at Crown Melbourne Australia
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank, VIC 3006
Phone: (03) 9292 7879