Last Updated on August 26, 2021
A chance to enjoy Nobu without making your bank manager cry.
Of course, there’s a reason why good quality Japanese food of the sort served at Nobu comes with a price tag. The type of ingredients say it all – fish has to be fresh enough to be served raw (sushi quality) and all the other ingredients used seem to be of the same ultra-high quality. It is not surprising that the signature dish of founding chef Nobu Matsuhisa is miso-glazed black cod. Nor, that co-founder Robert de Niro helped set up the group because he was such a fan of this style of food. Now, though, with the summer set menu, there’s a chance to feast like a film star for a price that won’t break the bank.
Situated on Old Park Lane, if you haven’t been before then do check out the photos on street view to help you find the entrance. Unprepossessing frontage leads to a modern, comfortable interior with great views onto Park Lane with Hyde Park beyond. It’s a perfect location to watch the world go by.
Arriving for a 12.30 lunchtime booking it was quiet enough to allow time for a chat with our server. Two hours later as we were rounding off an excellent lunch with a perfect coffee, the restaurant was humming and service was definitely “on” with a crowd of affluent regulars, business people, visitors and shoppers. All clearly relaxed and enjoying the experience.
The drinks menu is both exciting and informative with a fascinating page dedicated to the Hokusetsu Sake brewed on Sado Island by the Hazu family and supplied exclusively to Nobu. The cocktails are categorised by “Mind”, “Heart” and “Soul” and are described deliciously and delightfully. The compact yet quite eclectic wine list cleverly has something for everyone: from a glass of Bolly to a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal Rose 2006 by way of a Californian Masut Chardonnay, a New Zealand Craggy Range Pinot Noir and some lovely drops in between.
There are also great cocktails and mocktails. We tried the Master Margarita, a heady mixture of 1800 Silver tequila, tears of children sorrow, Chartreuse and Absinthe, apple juice and citrus – a beautifully balanced margarita that at any time other than lunch would have definitely needed seconds. And a couple of non-alcoholic drinks – a deliciously fruity Sweet Calpis Fruity Punch with berries and Japanese calpis followed by a Farmer’s Tonic with Seedlip Spice, maple syrup, apple juice, rosemary, tonka beans bitters and lemon juice.
Our meal started with Salted and Sesame Chilli Edamame, the perfect thing to nibble on while we waited for our Nobu sushi boxes. If I’m honest there was enough there for a light lunch without the next course. But neither of us were complaining.
We had salmon, shrimp and sea bass sushi with yellowtail rolls and a beautifully fresh sashimi salad with slices of tuna and salmon topping the leaf salad with Matsuhisa Dressing.
Beef Toban Yaki arrived sizzling to the table and was perfectly cooked to medium-rare. A style of cooking that uses a hot ceramic plate to create a dish that sizzles long after it has been taken from the oven, it really epitomises the drama of the kitchen.
We both enjoyed the generous and beautifully plated portion of grilled asparagus with dry miso – a subtle attempt to add some green vegetables.
Both desserts were light and subtle. Green tea and salted caramel mochi from a wide range of flavours were refreshing and creamy.
My whisky cappuccino dessert arrived looking like a rather excessive bit of coffee art, with a brilliant white frothy top. A teaspoon revealed a delicious whisky creme brulee and a chocolate caramel crunch. Anything larger would have been too much at this stage, but this final bit of decadence just rounded the meal off to perfection.
19 Old Park Lane,
We dined as guests of Nobu Park Lane