Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nobu Perth, Burswood

Nobu Perth reviews; Nobu Japanese restaurant Perth reviews; Nobu Burswood casino
If you haven’t already noticed, I find great satisfaction in seeking out great new restaurants in Perth.  In particular, I can never say no to a great new Japanese restaurant, and especially one that has a lot of steam behind it.

After many years expanding around the world, the Nobu chain of restaurants (which has joint owners including executive chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro) has just opened its 25th restaurant here at Burswood Entertainment Complex/Casino in good ol’ Perth.  Good news indeed, I was even happier that I managed to get a table for its booked out opening night.  So new is Nobu, many Nobu chefs from around the world have been in Perth to help bring Nobu up to the global standard expected of it.  Pity I didn’t see Matsuhisa-san himself, but I hear he and De Niro may be making it here in person over the next few weeks - exciting!

Stepping into Nobu, you are greeted by the first Nobu waiter who sees you with a welcoming and "irrashaimase" (meaning "welcome" in Japanese) followed by a chorus of waiters repeating a very audible "irrashaimase".  You talkin' to me?  You talkin' to me? Nobu Perth is smaller than its Australian sibling Nobu Melbourne, however equally as impressively decked out with a warm ambience and nice contemporary touches including a lighting decoration that looks a bit like christmas ornaments, and modern bamboo-like partitions.  This was furthered by modern music being played more reminiscent of a groovy bar than a traditional Japanese restaurant, but at a mild audible level that seemed to help it blend in.

If you haven’t dined at Nobu before, the waiter explains that Nobu isn’t just a Japanese restaurant  - it’s a fusion Japanese restaurant with South American influences with a menu designed for you to order multiple dishes to share with everyone on the table (a concept like izakaya or tapas).  It’s also designed such that you start at the beginning of the menu and order dishes to be served in line with the menu order.  The menu starts with cold dishes such as raw fish and salads, goes onto hot dishes including cooked meats and seafood as well as tempura, then sushi, and finally soup.  That’s until you finish your mains and head to the dessert menu.

Service-wise, the main waiter we had was very attentive and knowledgeable about the menu and as the various staff were quite varied and only one waitperson who served us appeared to be Japanese (which further helped give the restaurant a more modern and hip fusion feel) I thought they had varying levels of confidence.  However, apart from a couple of mistakes (the next table's order accidentally coming to our table on two occasions) I thought the service was as a whole pretty good for an opening night and food and service was served reasonably timely, keeping in with the theme of being served most share dishes one at a time.

Edamame - $7

This generous serve of edamame was lightly salted and, for those who like it, a good appetiser.  Edamame is a bit like a pea where you only eat the beans inside.  The beans are green pea like beans that are relatively light in flavour.

Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno - $26

This specialty cold dish consisted of nicely laid out slices of yellowtail fish, each garnished with a thin slice of jalapeno, and served with yuzu.

The fresh yellowtail fish was firm and fresh; combined with the spicy jalapeno (that was hot but being sliced thinly wasn’t too fiery), the acidic yuzu, and the light parsley-like garnish, the dish was a nice combination to start that brought out the flavour and texture of the yellowtail and previewed the South American influences in the food.

 White fish (scallop) tiradito - $20

A well-presented dish of thinly sliced scallop surrounded by even thinner sliced cucumber was served in Nobu’s own version of a South American tiradito.

The tastes were a combination of a light spicy pepper sauce, as well as an acidic base mixed into the subtle scallop and extra thinly sliced cucumber to provide yet another light cold seafood dish that enhanced the freshness of the scallops.

Shiitake salad - $14

This salad of mainly gourmet lettuce and mizuna leaves was dressed with a lemon dressing and garnished with dried garlic chips and sesame seeds, as well as shiitake mushrooms.

The shiitake mushrooms, being the highlight and headliner of the salad, were small tender mushrooms that had a soft texture that were almost as soft as tofu to chew.  Tastewise, the shiitake mushrooms seemed fresh backed up with a mild shiitake taste.  The bonus is shiitake mushrooms are good for you!

The remaining leafy salad seemed relatively simple in terms of flavour but nonetheless it was well made and a good salad.

Black cod miso - $46

Perhaps my highlight for the night was this black cod with miso signature dish.

The black cod was cooked perfectly – only just cooked so the fish was super-tender, and cut through effortlessly whilst still being firm.  Underneath the black cod was the black cod’s skin which was black in colour and carried some of the dish’s flavour through along with a light charcoal taste.

The miso based sauce that the black cod was cooked in was sweet and thick, almost like a perfect blend of miso with soy and sweetness and similar to that used to poach salmon by some of the better Japanese restaurants.  I really enjoyed the miso component that perfectly complemented the black cod.

The black cod was also served with a thinly sliced lotus root chip, a cylinder of pickled ginger that brought a good contrasting flavour to the otherwise sweetness of the dish, and a further sweet sauce that tasted like a light sweet plum sauce.

Scallops with wasabi pepper - $24

The scallops were grilled so that they were rare on the inside - making them tender and moist on the inside, yet on the outside they were cooked enough so that they were firm.  Mixed in with the scallops were a decent serve of very thin young asparagus and sliced shiitaki mushrooms.

The sauce was exactly as its name suggested – wasabi pepper – a savoury sauce with a good wasabi taste but yet mild on spiciness.

This dish was also served with a bowl of rice.

Beef toban-yaki - $32

This beef dish was served sizzling hot in a clay dish (that looked a bit like a tagine), and as the waiter served it, he slowly removed the lid revealing the still boiling sauce that continued to bubble away for about a minute.

The beef in this dish was cooked rare with the outer layers seared through but with the larger inner parts still red (without oozing blood) making it tender for beef that isn’t a very marbelised cut of beef.  This made the beef dish tender and just nice.

The beef was served on caramelised onions with a shiitake mushroom, enoki mushrooms, asparagus, and a light savoury sauce that made the beef well flavoured and enjoyable to eat.

Slow braised pork belly (wood oven) - $27

The pork belly was cooked so that it pretty much melted as you cut and bit into it – a great way to have pork belly.  However, the skin was largely removed giving away any hopes of a crackling (I really need to stop that obsession) though there was a very slight crunch on the top.

The pork belly was served with a sweet sauce as well as a not-so-spicy jalapeno salsa.

House special maki sushi roll - $20

This sushi roll was filled with a combination of salmon, tuna, a white fish, flying fish roe (tobiko), and avocado.  On the outside, the sushi roll was wrapped with a layer of what seemed like daikon (a white radish).

The sushi itself was well made, held together quite well, and the proportions of ingredients meant you could taste each ingredient without having a massive wrist sized sushi roll.  The outer layer added a crunch but was very mild in flavour (i.e. had no strong radish or daikon tastes which could have overpowered the sushi).

The sushi was served with fresh wasabi (I say fresh as it was grainy as I expect horseradish to be), and pickled ginger.

Bento box with green tea ice cream and goma tuille - $15

This mini dessert bento box (which comes highly recommended) has a warm chocolate cake with a gooey chocolate centre (a lot like a chocolate fondant).  The rich chocolate cake, when you cut into it, reveals a generous gooey chocolate which combined gives a good chocolate fix without overdoing it.  Not so Japanese, but still very good.

The green tea ice cream, which was served on top of a crisp goma tuille, was very smooth for a green tea ice cream.  It also didn’t have any green tea bitterness and contained a good level of sweetness that complemented the chocolate cake.

Overall, this dessert was a very nice, smooth and creamy green tea ice cream excellently matched to a gooey chocolate cake dessert.

Miso Cappuccino - $15

This dessert came served in a deceptive coffee cup - deceptive as it almost looked like a cappuccino with over-anxious froth that had the look and glaze of a creamy set mousse.

Inside this dessert were layers of coffee cream and crumble with a coffee flavour, vanilla ice cream, and the topping of the cappuccino “froth”.

The textures in this dessert helped it from being a boring dessert, from crunchy to smooth and creamy.  It also provided a mild sweet coffee hit – though not enough to rival a real coffee beverage.

We liked:  The food is excellently prepared and there are some very well-conceived dishes with an unsurprising emphasis on seafood; the service is generally friendly, helpful, and well trained (even for the official opening night); fusion Japanese/South American at its best.

We didn’t like: Although the restaurant has been nicely furnished, it provides for a bit of noise to carry in the restaurant; an opening night photographer who felt compelled to try and make everyone epileptic (though I’m sure this isn’t Nobu’s fault).

Other things to note: The menu has a lot of seafood options, however contains a very healthy selection of meat options as well as a few vegetarian options (including tofu); unless you chose the degustation menu, expect to order multiple dishes to share with your dining companions; book ahead.

Nobu Perth
Burswood Entertainment Complex
Great Eastern Highway
(08) 9362 7551

Trading Hours
Lunch and Dinner - Daily

Nobu Perth on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

It all looks very yummy! What did you think of the pricing compared to other japanese restaurants in perth?

Adrian said...

Hi Simon

The pricing is on the higher end compared to many other Japanese restaurants in Perth (I put in the prices we paid for our dishes above which puts it roughly within fine dining pricing), but given the immaculate presentation and quality, as well as the surrounds it's not unexpected.

Worth at least a visit for the experience though in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

How much was the teppanyaki? Can you see it from restaurant?

Adrian said...

I'm not sure how much the teppanyaki was, but you can see the teppanyaki area tucked away in the furthest corner of the restaurant.

Mans said...

Ahh.. I knew I can trust you to be one of the first foodbloggers to try Nobu! :) Yayy!

Have booked to get in there in the next few weeks for my birthday! That black cod is a must! Will be interesting to see how it compares to Nobu Melbourne.
Which one did you prefer, the yellowtail or white fish sashimi? I like the jalapeño addition and the sound of the dressing but the white fish flavors sound clean. Which I always like with fish dishes.

Here's to hoping for more exciting times ahead for Perth's food scene! :)

Adrian said...

Hey Mans

Yeah, of course I had to go :) - I'm just glad I heard about the opening in time to make a booking.

Have you been to Nobu Melbourne? I have been once a few years ago and had the tasting menu. Nobu Melbourne is larger and feels a bit more refined as an overall experience from memory. I know different people who like and dislike Nobu and it's interesting to hear what they have to say, many valid points for their own POV/tastebuds.

The black cod is rightfully one of their top signature dishes, it's great. I preferred the yellowtail over the white fish tiradito but possibly partly because the white fish I got was scallop and I would have preferred not a shell fish (but still this was very good when I compare against other scallop sashimi I have had). However the yellowtail itself is an excellent fish unlike other "standard" fish we get at sashimi places. I like your word "clean" :)

Yes, definitely more exciting times and hopefully other more ordinary restaurants lift their game. I'm wondering with Perth going places with the acclaimed restaurants opening up how many more great restaurants we can get. Though that's not to say there are still heaps of amazing local restaurants too and without them things would be pretty grim.

Enjoy your birthday dinner there :)

Candy Palmer said...

Hmmm what other Asian Cuisines are they serving? Only japanese? Is it a fine dining restaurant though? I think the foods are really presented very well and they look all delicious. But I could conclude too that the price is a bit high compared to others. But over all, would you suggest the restaurant to your family and friends?

Adrian said...

Hi Candy

Nobu is a Japanese/South American fusion restaurant, but I feel it's more Japanese with some South American influences.

I think it's fine dining in the sense of an upmarket restaurant with upmarket food but the feel is a little more casual with more relaxed service and modern younger atmosphere.

I find Nobu's presentation (food and decor), detail, and freshness of produce (across their restaurants and not just Perth) is very impressive and that seems to lead to their higher pricing. So I agree they are expensive compared to many others but I can see how they stand apart too.

I do suggest it to family and friends. However it's not an everyday sort of restaurant but more so an experience in Japanese fusion food not typically seen elsewhere in Perth. I have already had a couple of friends go without me and have raved about various dishes including ones I will have to go back and try some day.

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