Nobu @ Kuala Lumpur & Melbourne

October 1, 2014

It took nearly two months longer than expected to launch, but Nobu KL is now fully ready for inspection; here's our introductory exploration of what legitimate paying customers can experience on a regular night out at Nobu.
Earlier sneak peek of Nobu KL & interview with its head chef & general manager: July 16, 2014.

Looks-wise, Nobu KL is tastefully & thoughtfully outfitted, letting the 56th-floor metropolitan view from Menara Petronas 3 speak louder than the restaurant's warm, woodsy interior. Service is sparkling; Stephane, Gopi & their colleagues work hard to make customers feel comfortable from start to finish. Even though the menu is extensive, the service team is capable of explaining virtually every item very well, while the kitchen crew ensures each course flows swiftly & smoothly out to the table.

As Nobu KL's Malaysian head chef Philip Leong promised, the brand's signature blend of Japanese cuisine with Peruvian & South American influences is compellingly showcased here. Begin with the crunchy-spicy miso 'chips,' lusciously crowned with succulent salmon & spicy tuna (RM25++ per plate), their vibrant hues reflecting their vivid flavours.

Tacos are a treat at Nobu; Wagyu beef varieties (RM20++ per piece), bursting with juicy, flavour-packed meat, aren't formally listed on the current menu, but Nobu's kitchen will oblige requests for them. Or try the slightly less expensive tacos comprising salmon, tuna, lobster or king crab (RM13++ each).

For a splurge that illustrates what makes Nobu stand out from the sea of Japanese eateries, sample the sea urchin tiradito (RM80++), featuring the inimitable uni in a memorably uncommon preparation, its melt-in-the-mouth brininess complemented by a spicy sauce that supplies tongue-tingling nuances, crisply rounded out with coriander, carrot & cucumber.

Even kushiyaki is lifted to new heights; the chicken (RM25++ per plate) is fleshy & tasty, coated in sweet-savoury 'anticucho' sauce  to evoke Pervian street-food skewers. Beef, salmon, shrimp, scallop & squid versions are offered too (RM35-RM75++).

Nobu's speciality sake selection includes the Hokusetsu Onigorishi, nicknamed the 'Devil Killer' (RM65++ for 180 millilitres), accurately described as light-bodied, crisp & dry, with a spicy finish.

So far, a table can still be had here without advance reservations, but that probably won't last for long; even though its predictably lofty prices necessitate a big budget (with multi-course omakase menus costing RM380++), expect Nobu KL to become a very popular dining destination in the months ahead.

Two Nobus for the price of one post: for folks who might be curious to see what another Nobu can offer, here's our look at Nobu's Southbank-set Melbourne outpost, ensconced in the city's Crown Entertainment Complex.

Nobu's sushi & sashimi prices are a little lower in Melbourne compared to KL; Australians can enjoy uni at AUD$10 (RM28), compared to RM40 at Menara Petronas 3.

Melbourne's repertoire is extensive; the likes of alphonsino, gurnard, garfish & king george whiting all surface on the sushi list.

Black cod miso, arguably Nobu's most famous dish, costs AUD$20 for four smallish pieces as part of a bar-snack menu or AUD$49 for a full serving in Melbourne. In KL, the full-serving cod clocks in at a wallet-busting RM160.

Sashimi tacos come loaded with salmon, snow crab, yellowtail and lobster. Four pieces for AUD$25.

Finishing with something that Nobu visitors can't find in KL: Kurobuta pork belly, a sacrament of sinful succulence (AUD$21).

Hokusetsu Daiginjo, Nobu's original, full-bodied sake in lacquered 'masu' drinking box-cup. Speciality cocktails are offered too.

Nobu Melbourne is on the street level, with a riverside view that's pretty lovely all year round.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur
Level 56, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Monday-Saturday, 6pm-11pm. Tel: 03-2164-5084

Nobu Melbourne
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC Australia

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