Life

What Even Is Nobu? I Tried to Find Out.

The truth is that when someone invites you to Nobu, you say “okiiii”. And when you are me, you exploit the experience for content.
Feng Wei Photography​ / TORNADO DESIGN / BURAZIN​ VIA GETTY / ARIELLE RICHARDS
Feng Wei Photography / TORNADO DESIGN / BURAZIN VIA GETTY / ARIELLE RICHARDS

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I know what you’re thinking. Is this bitch insane? Who the fuck is going on dates at Nobu? Has this dating series gone completely off the rails?

I will answer your riddles three: Maybe I AM, NOBODY IS, and yes, IT HAS. 

Only temporarily though. The truth is that when someone invites you to Nobu, you say “okiiii”. And when you are me, you exploit the experience for content.

I can’t be alone in being mildly curious about a place like Nobu, despite having little desire to actually go there. Its reputation of being ludicrously expensive and therefore potentially glamorous invokes compelling intrigue. 

Here’s everything I knew about Nobu before going there:

  • It’s expensive
  • Celebrities can be spotted at American ones
  • Their lychee martini is Kim Kardashian’s favourite cocktail but fairly easy to make
  • One time during a discussion about how rich people dress like shit I was talking about dressing cute to dine at Maha and feeling bleak because the couple seated next to me were wearing flip flops, and my friend said, “Yeah, apparently that’s what it’s like at Nobu, it’s just a regular restaurant for rich people so you dress up all nice for the occasion then everyone knows you’re poor.” 

So, anyway, this is for the girlies out there who, like me, are curious about Nobu, but would never spend their own money there. 

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The first thing that sent me about Nobu is the fact it is inside the casino. I don’t know if that’s common knowledge but I really didn’t see it coming. I know the effect is supposed to be all woo-woo Crown Hotel la-di-da Crown Casino but in Melbourne, entering the god-damn Cas after a stroll along the soulless faux-bougie Southbank boulevard… it was saying shopping mall food court

We didn’t have a booking, so they seated us at the top level. Although it’s not the proper Nobu experience, it suited me fine as I’m beginning to loathe basement dining. This is in part due to mild claustrophobia and the way that basement restaurants are always overbearing and super dim and my eyesight is failing rapidly and I need to be able to see my food but I digress. 

Sitting at the top level we had magnificent views of the DJ as he spun the strangest mix of tracks, dressed in a suit. Like, full Slenderman cosplay: white shirt, suit and tie. I have never seen a DJ in a suit before. So that was something.

What is with fancy restaurants and their affinity for offering $300+ dining experiences where you’re aurally force fed obscure 101.9 EDM tracks just generic enough to make it to the bottom half of 2017’s top 100 list? 

It’s a thing, a curse, a plague upon this town. 

The drawback of sitting upstairs was that it was half-empty, and my entire ambition while there was to people watch. It was 9p.m. on a Friday night, and it seemed to me that most people in the joint were staying in the Crown – travellers, not much intrigue there – and from my vantage point the basement area appeared quite calm: birthday dinners, family dinners, suits, whatever. When I go to a beautiful restaurant, I want to be surrounded by beautiful people. Nobu is not the place for that.

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They have over 100 dishes on their menu and I was instantly overwhelmed and probably could have chosen better. 

We had salmon sushi and tuna sashimi – the sushi was delicious but also tasted just like sushi. But the sashimi was sublime – $8 a piece so, yes, thank God, it was worth it – and, lol, the pickled ginger garnish was outstanding – I have never had such delicious pickled ginger, I would have just eaten that by itself. The oysters were really fresh but topped with bizarre garnishes that produced an effect that was overall average. When it comes to oysters I’m anti “fucking with a good thing” – so many places always want to get weird with fancy toppings but they really need to chill. It should be lemon or mignonette ONLY. 

We had the soft shell crab which, like, you can’t really go wrong? It was a generous serve, which was nice. But some of the batter was raw and the dressing was weird which was crazy because I don’t want to know how much that dish cost. We also had the edamame, good, and this mushroom dish which was really, really good. Sometimes getting vegan dishes when out is a gigantic letdown because it’s the kind of food I make at home, but these were truly impressive and delicious, producing one of those “how can a mushroom taste so good?” moments that life is all about. 

THERE WAS NO LYCHEE COCKTAIL. Their list is seasonal. But, all the cocktails we had were fucking delicious and perfectly balanced. Shout out to the Himawari, Umeshu Baburu and the Nobu Long Island. Dessert was mochi ice cream which, again, can’t go wrong. Strawberry was the ONE.

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The service was really attentive and fantastic and all of the staff were hot and cool, especially the host who was super warm and friendly.

So, is Nobu worth it? The food, cocktails and service were all really good but there are so many other places I’d rather spend my money. 

If it’s not your money, then… yeah? 

But people only go to Nobu for the sake of going to Nobu. So if that’s what you’re interested in, then, yeah. I can confirm Nobu is Nobu. 

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