I wanted to visit a Japanese restaurant while I was in Hong Kong. Flipping through the Tatler dining guide showed a recommendation to NOBU. I was practically staying within a 10 minute radius of Hotel Inter-Continental, I thought, why not give NOBU a try?
A partnership between Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Hollywood actor Robert DeNiro, NOBU is synonymous with innovative new-style Japanese cuisine. Opened in 2006, NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong was Nobu’s first restaurant in Asia (ex Japan) and is among 21 NOBU and 4 Matsuhisa restaurants currently in operation around the world.
For the inquisitive, Chef Nobu Matushisa’s profile can be found on Wikipedia.
Ankimo Yuzumiso with Caviar
Ankimo is basically made with Monkfish Liver. Unlike French foie gras (made of Duck or Goose), the texture was more creamy and literally melts in your mouth, somewhat like a Pâté.
The Caviar on top gave it a savory hint to the dish and the sweet Yuzumiso Sauce complimented the Ankimo like butter to bread.
Each bite tasted better than the previous one.
The Red Yamamomo, last to be eaten as suggested by the wait staff, helped to cleanse the palate in preparation for the next course.
Kanpachi Sashimi with Jalapeno
Served on a bed of marinated cucumbers, The Kanpachi Sashimi tasted fresh, no complaints there! Paired with soy sauce and a little bit of vinegar, it was wonderful on it’s own.
But NO, Nobu goes one step further and introduces a spicy element to the dish – The Jalapeno Chilli Pepper. Now, who says you can only eat Sashimi with wasabi?
To balance the spicyness of the chilli peppers, sprigs of coriander were available.
A Brief Background – Kanpachi is a shusse uo , or “promoting fish”, which is a fish that changes its name (in Japanese fishing terminology) according to its age. Kanpachi is the amberjack’s most mature stage.
Shokko 1 ft Shiogo 2 ft Akahana 3 ft Kanpachi Over 4ft
(Adapted from http://www.sushiencyclopedia.com/sushi_fish/amberjack.html. Last Accessed 19 April 2010)
King Crab Roll with Matsuhisa Dressing
Wrapped in a thin layer of radish, the roll was stuffed full of Succulent King Crab Meat with crunchy and juicy asparagus in the middle.
The flavours of the crab meat, his signature matsuhisa dressing and the asparagus all complimented one another!
Lurking around behind the tomato, are exquisitely presented rolls and bundles of vegetables. Evidently, presentation plays a huge part of the whole dining experience here at Nobu.
If I were to choose my favourite dish, this would be it!
Crystal Bay Prawn with Ginger Salsa
Of course, no meal is without its misses and for this meal in particular, this was clearly one of 2.
The prawns were a tad mushy for my liking and were overly salted. The ginger salsa failed to add any flavour element to this dish.
The steamed asparagus were decent and the mushrooms were firm on bite and moist.
Saga Beef (A3) with Goma Ponzu
Besides for a fact that Saga Beef is from the Saga prefecture in Japan, and claims (after my quick Google Search) that it is known for its flavourful rich sweet taste and perfect marbling, I do not know much else about Saga Beef. I would be curious to find out if there are any differences between the other well known Wagyu.
Note to readers: If you do have knowledge on this matter, please add your comment below or e-mail me. I would love to find out more.
The Beef was char-grilled perfectly to medium which allowed it to remain tender and retaining all that yummy natural jus. The charcoal grill imparted a earthy flavour profile, one that I completely adore.
The light sprinkling of sesame seeds on top and Goma Ponzu sauce both worked well with one another to enhance the flavours of the dish.
Gently grilled Cherry Tomatoes (still on the vine), Japanese mushrooms, Carrots, Cucumbers and Eggplants accompanied the dish.
Seafood Soup Udon
This was the other miss of the dinner.
While the soup was seasoned perfectly and the udon noodles were well cooked, the prawns were too mushy for comfort.
The Scallop and Squid were both overcooked, resulting in a rubbery like texture.
Suntory Whisky Iced Cappuccino
Dessert came in the form of a Sherbet and Chocolate. While nothing to shout about, it was a sweet and refreshing dessert to end the meal proper.
Would I come back? Probably. The view from the 2nd floor of the InterContinental Hong Kong, overlooking the Avenue of the Stars pathway and the Harbour, alone is suffice as a reason to return. The food served here was a mixture of hits and misses.
While I can understand and fully appreciate the idea being fusion cuisines, the culmination of ideas, in this case, of Japan and South America, and the thought that goes into creating dishes that brings the best of both worlds together, I am proud to say that I am a firm supporter in classic cuisine styles. This is much like my preference to have cuisine classique rather than nouvelle dishes.
NOBU, till we meet again. Another place, another time.
NOBU Hong Kong
InterContinental Hong Kong
18 Salisbury Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2313 2323
Lunch Daily from 12:00 noon – 2:30 pm
Dinner Daily from 6:00pm – 11:00pm