Nobu Old Park Lane
The first time I went to Nobu was 12 years ago (3 years after it first opened) when I first came to London to study at a girls boarding school, and to treat me at least a tiny bit before this quite daunting experience, my dad took me to Nobu. Ever since then I have been to Nobu a few times over the years, but only last week I discovered that Nobu does Japanese food with a big Peruvian/ Latin American influence. The fact that I went to Peru 2 months ago and had Peruvian dishes you can see on Nobu’s menu - tiradito, ceviche and anticucho – helped me appreciate this. The fact that I had discovered this very interesting thing about Nobu made me very excited as I love fusion food, and also as I had been to Zuma and Roka recently and so was keen to compare how this Latin American influence made the dishes in Nobu different. The menu in Nobu consists of 4 pages, the first two have the Latin American influence and the last two show traditional Japanese dishes, and Nobu encourages you to have dishes from the first two pages. To start with I had the edamame beans which I have been having in all the Japanese restaurants recently, but unfortunately the ones in Nobu seemed a bit too hard and not properly boiled. I used to say I find it impossible to compare edamame beans, but here you go, I can spot when they are not quite right. Then I moved on to the yellowtail, which in Nobu due to the Peruvian influence is served with a jalapeno chilli. It was delicious, really good, but I still prefer the yellowtail in Zuma. Next we moved on to have lobster, salmon, tuna and crab tacos, one of each, a dish that had a Mexico feel to it, and even though the tacos were nice, I found them a bit too hard and a bit difficult to eat, the fish was great though. The ceviche, a traditional Peruvian dish that comes from Lima, was amazing, as amazing as the ceviches I had in Lima (or even a bit better). Next we moved on to the beef tataki, which was thin slices of beef served with little pieces of onions and garlic, which was a very similar dish to the beef dish in Zuma, and even though the beef was really nice I prefer the Zuma one. The waiter recommended that we have their signature dish, a salad with slightly seared tuna sashimi, which when it was served, I found quite uninspiring, as I thought the pieces of tuna were too big for the salad and the sauce that went with it whilst nice, there was enough of it for all the pieces of leaves and tuna. But what really disappointed me in Nobu was the sushi selection that followed. I asked the waiter to bring us a selection of sushi and when I had asked for the same in Zuma the waiter had done an amazing job bringing really delicious pieces of sushi and rolls. The Nobu sushi selection looked very similar to sushi I can get in a decent sushi restaurant anywhere else, but at half the price, and as for the sushi roll they served a plain tuna roll, so a bit disappointing. Next came the famous black cod in miso which is another signature dish of Nobu and something which you associate with Nobu. The dish costs 42, which is not cheap (the Zuma one whilst a tiny bit smaller costs 28), and even though the fish was really delicious and mouth-watering, once again I thought there was not enough sauce with this dish. Zuma gives you about 4x more sauce for a slightly smaller piece. Note the presentation could also have been a bit better, the black cod in Zuma is presented in a funky, crispy leaf that needs to be taken off when you eat the fish, whilst the black cod in Nobu is just sitting there on a plain leaf. We also had the lobster tempura which was better presented with the head of the lobster still there, but unfortunately I thought the tempura had a bit too much batter (note I went to Nobu Berkley Street a few months ago and thought the same, that the rocket shrimp tempura, which I had on that visit, had too much batter). Then we had the mushroom toban, which was assorted mushrooms, quite nice and better than the mushroom dish in Zuma which had only one type of mushroom on a skewer, but this Nobu mushroom dish came with a 13.5 price tag, when I only had to pay 4.8 in Zuma, and even thought you get more in Nobu, the price difference feels a bit extreme. We also had the lamb chops, and here I have to say they had a bit of s strange taste, and I did not find them that tasty (once again the similar version of the dish in Zuma I thought was better). Overall the food is nice, and theoretically I love the fact they do it with a Peruvian twist, but some of the dishes do let you down a bit, especially for the price you are paying for them. Also note I have studied the bills of Zuma and Nobu and I think Zuma offers better value for money. I already mentioned the prices for black cod and the mushroom dish, but note the lamb chops cost 28.50 in Nobu and 23.80 in Zuma and in Zuma you get more pieces and they were twice the size and more delicious. The only reason why my bill was much lower per person in Nobu than in Zuma was because we did not order that much in Nobu and really over ordered in Zuma and spent an extra 40 on desert. So I think if you have the same amount of food Zuma is a tiny bit cheaper and more delicious. But don't get me wrong, I still think Nobu is very good.
Price for 4 with service charge, without alcohol: 399.85