Monthly Archives: October 2009

Nobu

19 Old Park Lane
London W1K 1LB
0207 447 4747
http://www.noburestaurants.com/london/index.html

Opening Hours
Lunch:
Monday to Friday 12-2.15pm
Saturday to Sunday12.30-2.30pm
Dinner:
Monday to Friday 6-10.15pm
Saturday 6-11pm
Sunday 6-9.30pm

We’ve heard so much about Nobu, and the conflicting reviews definitely confused us. According to one online review, “It’s one of those places everyone has heard of, everyone wants to go to and most are busy looking to see who else is there.” (Note: that reviewer gave an overall 5/10 for his experience); according to another, “In a word, fabulous”.

We decided to check it out for ourselves. This was definitely quite the occasion for us, and we were excited, but apprehensive. The problem with going to such well known and celebrity-sighted places is that we tend to feel like we don’t belong there. We were curious as to how the service would be, and having read the dreadful comments about the service, we were all prepared for the worst.

Boy, were we surprised. Our experience in Nobu was outstanding. Perhaps it was because we were so prepared to be treated like crap that when we actually received very attentive service from our Korean waitress, we were so impressed. Our waitress was very professional in recommending some of the more interesting dishes in their menu, which bore hardly any description of the dishes. (How am I supposed to know what Tiradito is?)

One has to appreciate the inspiration behind Nobu when one goes there. If you go expecting to have a good Japanese meal, you are going to leave disappointed. Nobu does not serve traditional Japanese food. The food at Nobu is a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, and ingredients like Jalapeno peppers feature strongly in many dishes, which many an online review have taken offense to. We have travelled to Peru, and we can appreciate the fusion of those 2 cuisines. In fact, the Ceviche we had was absolutely delicious and it brought me instantly back to this particular restaurant in Peru where I had my first ever Ceviche (and cuy, but that’s another story for another time).

We had Sashimi Tacos, a strange choice I know, but it was very, very good.

The Tiradito (which was a carpaccio of fish was just average unfortunately, as was the Soft Shelled Crab spring roll.

We ordered too the Black Cod, and this was the first time we’ve ever had Black Cod with miso. It totally blew us away. Nothing could have prepared us for the slippery texture of the fish, and the wonderfully flavorful sauce it was cooked in. We’ve heard so much about the black cod from online reviews, and this surpassed all expectations. 

The pork belly we had was also outstanding. It just melted in our mouths, and we were very sorry when it was finished.

We also went for a sushi selection, which was good, but not spectacular. By this time we were absolutely stuffed, so our opinion of this might have been clouded by our very full bellies. We went ahead and ordered everything we wanted very liberally, because we knew that it would probably have been our one and only time dining in Nobu.

Finally, on our very full stomach, we ordered dessert – a Warm Valrhona chocolate souffle cake, shiso syrup, white chocolate sauce and green tea ice cream, all served in a bento box. This was very nice – A always likes green tea ice cream, and I like chocolate anyway. Something would have had to have gone extremely wrong for us not to like this dessert.

Overall, we were very pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed ourselves in Nobu. We left very satisfied. On our way back we were discussing why Nobu has received so much flak by reviewers. We guessed it was because most people couldn’t appreciate the Peruvian influence in the food. Japanese food is very commonly eaten, while Peruvian food is harder to come by. Perhaps if one goes to Nobu with an open mind, (or like us, expecting very little), one might walk out with not only a happier experience, but an increased awareness of foods around the world and how they can be paired with one another. (Also, I think we lucked out with a very good waitress.)

Service: 9/10
Food: 8.5/10

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Paulaner Munich

http://www.paulaner.com/

We’ve been to Munich twice – once in December just after Christmas, and once in late September for Oktoberfest. For our first visit we went with one of my housemates and her boyfriend, and we met up with GJ, a friend of ours who was studying in Germany. The second time we were in Munich we travelled with HR our flatmate (at that time).

Paulaner was probably the first place we ate at in Munich for both our trips. In fact, the moment we set foot in Munich we knew we wanted a good solid pork knuckle and some juicy sauerkraut. Paulaner was the obvious choice for us, as we knew about this restaurant since it had a branch in Singapore. We’ve not eaten at the Singapore branch, but we will definitely try to remember to check it out when we’re back home for good.

Anyway, the pork knuckle at Paulaner was awesome. When it came, it was presented to us tall and proud on the plate, with a huge knife stuck right through the center of it. There were 2 huge dumplings next to it, and an enormous pile of sauerkraut on the side. The portion was very big, and I don’t think any of us managed to finish the entire portion of dumpling or the sauerkraut, but we made sure the pork knuckle was eaten clean to the bone. (I can’t stop myself salivating as I’m typing this.)

 

The skin of the pork knuckle was really crispy and the meat was very tender. It’s not the most glamorous dish to eat, as you genuinely have to battle with the knuckle to extract all the meat from it, and by the time you finish you kind of feel like you’ve just had a workout, but it was all worth it. For the 3 guys at the table, there is no such thing as too much meat to eat, and this was indeed a feast we were very happy to partake in.

The dumplings were nice and soft, and they provided a good palate cleanser in between mouthfuls of pork. The sauerkraut was really good as well, though it was definitely not A’s favorite choice of vegetable.

 

On our second visit we ordered the sharing platter of cold meats, on top of 3 plates of pork knuckle, one for the each of us. When it arrived we were reminded of how huge portions are in Paulaners, and we totally couldn’t finish all our food. Once again though, we made sure that all the pork was finished, so it was just the poor sauerkraut and dumplings that had to be wasted.

Pork in Munich in general, is very good. Not only can you get pork knuckle, you can also get a very good roast pork sandwich at the market place, just a few blocks down the road from Paulaner. This was the first time I had such a good roast pork sandwich, with the most amazing crackling. I absolutely loved it. The next time we went back to Munich, I went right back to the same stall I bought it the first time round, and got the exact same sandwich again. It was just like how I remembered it to be. We’ve managed to find a pretty good version in Borough Market (London) that isn’t quite as good, but hey, I can’t keep travelling to Munich to eat that perfect roast pork sandwich all the time can I?

Service: 7/10
Food: 7.5/10