WHAT does a Japanese sushi chef, a Hollywood A-lister, a movie producer, and a restaurateur have in common?
If your answer is NOBU, then you’d be correct.
Nobu is an award winning chain of Japanese-Peruvian restaurants, co-owned by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, producer Meir Teper (who has films such as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Everybody’s Fine under his belt) and one of America’s most celebrated restaurateurs, Drew Nieporent.
How did it all come about? Matsuhisa was a young chef who trained in Peru (hence the Peruvian influence) before moving to Los Angeles, where he opened his own chain called Matsuhisa in Beverley Hills. De Niro was a frequent patron of the resto, and the pair decided to collaborate. Thus, the Nobu brand was born.
With such a star-studded line-up, it’s no surprise that Nobu is a favourite among celebrities, counting Madonna, Simon Cowell, Sean Penn, Taylor Swift and more among its clientele.
Humble, lil’ ol me had the chance to wine and dine at Malaysia’s very own Nobu KL, the chain’s first outlet in South East Asia which opened its doors just slightly over a year ago on the 56th floor of Menara Petronas 3.
On my regular salary, I wouldn’t be able to afford anything like this but it was just one of the perks of my job as a writer 🙂
I was greeted by this amazing view of the city’s skyline. Must be breathtaking at night – which is why Nobu caters mostly to an affluent dinner crowd.
From Nobu, you can have an upclose view of Malaysia’s iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
Nobu is currently promoting its lunch sets. Undoubtedly, people come here for the food as much as the night view, so the lunch crowd is thinner.
Decor-wise, the restaurant is spacious with clean, wooden accents everywhere.It has its own club lounge and swanky private rooms. We sat by the window and ordered some of their lunch dishes.
First up – Sushi and sashimi set (RM75++). Each set comes with complimentary green tea and biscuits and is served with a side of salad, tempura, Miso soup, rice and pickles.
Two pieces of medium fatty tuna, yellowfin and salmon cuts comes with seasonal fish sushi, ebi (prawn), tamago (egg) and wasabi. Everything was fresh and the sushi was rolled just right with no loose rice bits.
Ebi tempura, sweet potato and long beans fried in a crispy batter while retaining its moist, juiciness on the inside.
I’m not a fan of salads, but the Matsuhisa dressing on it was phenomenal. Refreshing and savoury yet light, you feel like you can just eat their greens all day. The dressing is made from a blend of soy sauce, onion, sesame oil and black pepper.
For those who like to try a bit of everything, go for the Matsuhisa Bento box, a popular among patrons. Served in a lacquered box, there is sushi and sashimi (salmon, tuna and spicy tuna rolls), seared tuna on a bed of salad, crispy baby tiger shrimp in Ponzu, black cod in miso, and assorted spicy garlic vegetables on rice.
The star of the bento box is the miso black cod, which is chef Nobu’s signature dish. Albeit the portion is smaller than the regular dish (since this is a sampler after all). It definitely lived up to its reputation. The soft, melt-in-the-mouth Alaskan cod has a flaky texture with a sweet, basted exterior. I also liked the baby tiger shrimp,as it was crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The accompanying Ponzu sauce (lemon and soy sauce mix) was tangy and appetising. The tuna, on the other hand, was seared perfectly while retaining its raw, softness in the centre.
Moving on, we tried the Norwegian Salmon Crispy Leaves(RM 65++). Cooked perfectly with a slightly pink texture, there was no trace of the ‘fishy’ smell which makes salmon so easy to cook yet so hard to perfect.
Up until then, we still hadn’t tried any dishes that were distinctively ‘Peruvian’. Then came the Beef Tenderloin (RM125++) with the house special Anticucho sauce. Anticuchos are meat on skewers, often served on Peruvian streets as a snack. Trust Nobu to turn this into his own signature sauce. It was spicy, savoury and tangy all at the same time, which complemented the tender red meat well.
Last but not least, we tried the Squid Pasta Donburi (RM60++). Don’t be fooled by the name – there is no actual pasta in the dish. Thick slices of springy squid is grilled and cut into penne-shaped pieces, then served with julienned greens on a bed of fluffy warm rice.
There was an interesting backstory to the dish, as told by the manager: Nobu was serving a family of guests at his old restaurant and one of the kids didn’t wanna eat seafood, insisting on having pasta instead. So Nobu, the ever accommodating chef, made the squid to look like pasta. And the kid ate it. Lol. Hence, the squid pasta donburi dish was born.
After the meal, the manager and the PR guy took me to the club lounge, which only opens on weekend nights.
The setting is less restaurant-formal and more cushy with a DJ Deck, a bar, tall stools and cocktail tables, and loads of cozy couches.
Private room behind partition, which had its own widescreen Tv and other amenities for guests to wine and dine in comfort and class.
Overall, the food is good albeit on the pricey side (but I mean, nobody goes to Nobu expecting to pay less), the service is good, and the view is awesome. I doubt I will be making a return trip, not because I don’t want to but because I can’t afford it, lol – but it has been a great experience.
Level 56, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre,
50088 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 3-2164 5084
Lunch: 12pm – 2pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10.30pm
Closed on Sundays