We'd booked a table at Nobu for the Saturday night over Easter for a 6.30 sitting with the advice that we needed to finish by 9 pm for the second sitting, which was not a problem but clearly this is a restaurant which understands the phrase "turnover".
There are 2 levels in this restaurant - the downstairs level is for those who have a reservation and the upstairs level ( which is the same level as the entrance) is for walk-ins. Apparently you can ask to be seated upstairs if you would prefer the "walk-in" view.
Our table was not too close to adjacent tables, which was welcome as too many restaurants place tables way too close to each other for comfort. Lighting was dark and our phones were needed to illuminate the extensive menu. While it was extensive the menu was not set up in a way that many people would expect..ie there is no section for the entree (starters for non-Australian readers) , or main. It's presented as cold dishes, hot dishes and other labels as well. We had a very sweet and charming waitress who was very patient in explaining how it worked and in the end it all worked out. There were some choices i would have liked such as the Wagyu beef carpaccio, which I've enjoyed elsewhere but this was available only in the tasting menu and not as a individual selection. We made our choices and the drinks waiter took our drinks and wine order. My vodka and orange juice was delivered but had been made with processed orange juice...a tragic first world problem I know, but a screwdriver does taste better with freshly squeezed orange juice. To Nobu's credit the wine waiter, without any angst or attitude, replaced the vodka and orange juice with one that had freshly squeezed orange juice. I wondered why it had not been made like that in the first place but I suspect that it's a generational thing as my first request for a cocktail was a Harvey Wallbanger, which the waiter did not know and which the geriatrics amongst you will recognise as Vodka, yellow galliano and freshly squeezed orange juice. Alas, yellow Galliano, Nobu had not!! Not sure how James Bond would have managed having things stirred not shaken.
Our food choices were delivered remarkably quickly so no problem in finishing by the set time. One of the consequences of the menu structure was that we didn't really have a sense of how much we were ordering so we ended up ordering another two dishes which arrived with minimal delay. All the while I could not stop fantasising about menus with photos of each dish.
All the food was presented to us with the intent of sharing each dish with our companions, which we did. I thought the Wagyu dishes, Wagyu Tacos and Wagyu Gyoza were very good but in truth everything was very tasty and nothing really disappointed. On the advice of our sweet and charming waitress we made a point of choosing the Nobu signature black cod dish which we were informed is flown in from Alaska once a week. I liked it but not sure it's worth the bother. An exotic twist to the concept of food miles to be sure but then again, why should Alaskans be able to have this and not us!!
The same sweet and charming waitress also suggested I try the signature dessert, the Whisky cappuccino. I can now say I've tasted it. Perhaps the Stonefruit Mille Feuille next time
Nobu is a very nice restaurant and a good night out. The service, on a busy night, was very good, the staff were attentive, professional and not obsequious. I see Nobu as an upmarket Japanese restaurant but don't quite get the hype surrounding it. Possibly I need to go back another one or two times to sample the full range of what they offer or perhaps the tasting menu would have been a better way to experience Nobu...it's certainly my preference at Ezard, for example.
One minor irritant, which I think is out of keeping with the tone of Nobu, is the addition of a credit card surcharge. For god's sake, in a restaurant such as this, add 10 or 15 cents to the cost of each dish and do away with the surcharge. The public holiday surcharge is also irritating but understandable. At least with that you can decide how much to adjust the tip.
Overall I rated Nobu as very good. There are some better but you'll almost certainly enjoy it, especially if you like Japanese style cuisine. If you don't like Japanese go elsewhere.
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