Nobu Winter Tasting Menus & Omakase Menus

The last time I wrote about Nobu the restaurant, and Nobu san the man, I had met him at the Cape Town branch at the Saki and Umami dinner he hosted and you can read about that here. Plenty has happened since then, and I’ve eaten there a few times since.

My latest visit, was the first invite we received to dine at another’s expense (thank you Manley Communications) to sample the new Winter Tasting Menus and after negotiating with my husband whether it would be okay, for all those various reasons you do, and asserting that I would be objective in this write-up as I always try to be, we bundled ourselves off to the familiar shouts of “Irasshaimasse” translated to mean “Welcome” or “Come in”, a common practice in businesses in Japan I believe. They aren’t too frequent or terrifyingly loud, just so you don’t get a scare if you haven’t been before and you’re easily startled.

nobu cape town

I’ve always wondered why Nobu was so dimly lit (reminding me much of Haiku, our old favourite) and cavernous in it’s design and I speculate it must be properly fung shui’d. The seating along the left hand wall, when walking down the stairs towards the restaurant is a tad awkward and as it is in Haiku, you could very well be sitting in on someone else’s bad date.

I recommend you sit at the pass (or the bar) which is brightly lit and watch the chefs in action, probably making your very meal or nab a booth along the right hand wall.

On this particular occasion, it wasn’t crowded at 7 pm and we sat at a table on the left; it was dimly lit but we were in the mood for mood. Or as a friend from London who visited recently at my suggestion said of Nobu “…It had such a lovely setting, like Shanghai at night”.

Winter Tasting Menus

The Winter Tasting Menus are priced at R299, R329 and R349 for 5 courses and are exceptionally good value. Just a warning, there is nothing “tasting menu” about the sizes of portions, they are full sized and a range of Nobu favourites feature.

We opted for Menu 2 and 3 and the highlights for us were the yellowtail and jalepeno and white fish and citrus sashimi, the sole in a chilli sauce (Menu 2) and the passion fruit creme brulee.

Nothing felt shortchanged, service was excellent (I hoped it wasn’t just because we were guests of the P.R) and the restaurant filled up (not bad for a Tuesday) as we ol’ suburbanites got ready to leave (just after 9 pm).

If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to try Nobu, now is it. I reckon this special is also good for parties and bigger tables. I recommend you give the sake rock a try (sake served with a perfectly spherical ball of ice) to get the party started.

The Omakase Menus

If you order one of the 6 course Omakase menus  (which means entrust, in other words you entrust the chef to make a decision on the menu for you) which come with a dessert, you are also in for a treat.  Both the regular Omakase (R550) and the Cape Town (R650) contain two cold appetisers (most likely new style sashimi and cold seafood e.g lobster plum tiradito and caviar which we had and are just the starters to fire up the taste buds), a salad, a warm fish dish, a hot beef dish (the wagyu beef on the Cape Town menu is melt in your mouth/can-never-be-replicated-in-your-own-kitchen-stuff-of- dreams), a soup, sushi and dessert.

You have the option to pair with sake for R700 and I recommend that you enjoy any one of these menus at the pass, watching the nimble fingered chefs with polite but playful smiles on their faces. My plea to you is to not use any soya sauce with the cold starters unless the chef gives the instruction to do so. I almost gave one of the chefs a mild cardiac arrest with my hillbilly ways once.

Nobu details:

One&Only Cape Town
Dock Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Phone: +27.21.431.5111

Fax: +27.21.431.5230


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