Review: Nobu Kuala Lumpur makes an impressive debut
Entering a Nobu restaurant anywhere in the world is to step into a world of dining prestige. Typically found nestled on a famous street or at a well-known landmark, Nobu Kuala Lumpur will open its doors to diners on the 56th floor of Menara Petronas 3, commanding a 360-degree astonishing view of the surrounding city landscape. The restaurant features an open kitchen, a sushi bar and a dining room leading to a lounge & bar, enabling the establishment to handle a significant amount of diners at any given time.
Nobu’s chefs are well known for their ability to maintain the quality and unique cuisine style established by the restaurant’s executive chef and owner, Nobu Matsuhisa, no matter the establishment’s location around the globe. At its new Kuala Lumpur outlet, we had to chance to try four dishes that were as pleasing to the eye as they were to the palate.
Nobu Kuala Lumpur Executive Head Chef Philip Leong and Executive Sushi Chef Tatsuo Takebayashi
“The four dishes chosen represents all of Nobu’s signature dishes,” said Nobu Kuala Lumpur’s Executive Head Chef Philip Leong, a Malaysian who is a longtime Nobu chef.
The inaugural dish to arrive was the toro tartar, comprising tuna belly and caviar resting in a small pool of shoyu mixed with light hints of wasabi. Incredibly savoury with just the right amount of fat, each mouthful of tuna belly was made more delightful when consumed with caviar and shoyu, elevating and complimenting the oiliness of the tuna with small bursts of saltiness and subtle traces of spiciness without compromising the flavour identity of the main ingredient – the tuna.
Without hesitation, next came the octopus carpaccio. Proportionately round slices of octopus sat atop a bed of greens and jalapeño sauce, topped with thinly shaved vegetables that made up this dish. With crunchy greens working in tandem with great chewy texture from the octopus, every bite revealed new amazing flavours and qualities that made a truly enjoyable experience. When coupled with the jalapeño sauce, it added a creamy mild spicy depth that brought new flavour elements that keeps you wanting more.
New-style salmon sashimi soon made its way to our table courtesy of a smiling lady chef donning chef’s whites that signified she was from an overseas Nobu outlet. Nevertheless, friendly banter soon transformed into lip smacking curiosity as she gently set the plate of sashimi down onto our table.
Sashimi connoisseurs looking for something new in the sashimi department will be happy to know that uncommon tastes and visuals accompany all of Nobu’s “new-style” sliced fish dishes. This signature Nobu style of serving thinly sliced salmon made for delightfully flavourful mouthfuls, thanks to a combination of heated olive oil and sauce that slightly alter the qualities of the raw fish. Combined with thin slivers of ginger, spring onion and a generous dash of sesame seeds, each bite was simply ambrosial.
To end the meal with a bang, the last dish to arrive was the Chilean sea bass red jalapeño miso. A nice portion of filleted sea bass cooked to perfection, infused with spicy jalapeno and sweet miso, made for an instant hit from that very first bite. Carefully presented on a platter, it seemed like such a shame to eat this art on a plate, yet our taste buds compelled our brains to ingest it based upon pure instinct.
Sampling a piece of sea bass with a pair of chopsticks instantly revealed the admired qualities of the dish. Sweet, slightly spicy and salty from the mixed red jalapeño and miso seasoning made for a perfect accompaniment to the flaky savoury Chilean sea bass. The burnt qualities of the skin and the sides of the fish gave additional charcoal smoky elements to the dish. Like signature Nobu dishes, every new bite reveals a newfound flavour aspect that leaves diners insatiable.
Nobu Kuala Lumpur is expected to open its doors to the public in September with a grand launch planned for November. In the meantime, here's what else you can expect from this fine establishment.
(Editor's note: As of 25 September 2014, Nobu KL is open to the public for reservations)
Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Level 56 Menara 3 Petronas Persiaran Kuala Lumpur; Tel: 603 2164 5084