Warning: sushi comes with head-spinning wasabi. Nobu review

Finally! We were to dine at Nobu, something I have been looking forward to since it opened six months ago at The Crown in Perth, formerly known as Burswood.

Nobu Perth on Urbanspoon

It was a special date night with husband Zorba.  After having a pre dinner drink in the buzzing new casual dining pub, The Merrywell, we made our way to Nobu for our 8.30pm dinner reservation.   The whole Crown complex was busy with people everywhere and Nobu was no exception.

We were invited to sit at the bar while our table was being prepared.  Thirty-minutes later and one cocktail down, no news had arrived of our table’s readiness.  The cocktail was delicious by the way, an Emporio Martini made with sake, gin, lychee juice, lime and cranberry juice, $18.

Zorba enquired about our table and we were promptly ushered into the restaurant and given a table towards the entrance.  I was so looking forward to all the Japanese staff stopping and shouting at us, as per the traditional Nobu greeting for guests. But it didn’t happen. Oh well.

The menu good and choosing what to we should order was no easy task. As it was a special night, we decided to treat ourselves and go for the seven-course Omakase signature menu at $150 per person.  My taste buds were getting ready to party!  Our menu:

  • Toro tartar
  • Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno
  • Sashimi salad
  • Black cod miso
  • Beef tobanyaki
  • Sushi selection
  • Agedashi soup
  • Chocolate bento box

Toro Tartare

This is one of the few times where I have enjoyed every single element of every course during a degustation menu. Even the head-spinning ones.

Our first course, Toro Tartare was enough to get our taste buds tantalised. It was well balanced, fresh, and as you can see, beautifully presented.

The raw fish stack was topped with caviar and the miso-esque sauce was a fantastic accompaniment.

Yellowtail sashimi with jalepeño

The yellowtail sashimi was served with a citrus soy sauce which worked beautifully. I even ate the jalepeño which was warm but not hot – my tolerance for heat is really low, so for those that love hot curries, you probably wouldn’t notice any warmth from these gentle peppers.

It took two courses and almost a pouncing on a waitress to get the wine list brought to us.  The wine list is extensive and expensive. No doubt about it.  I was delighted to spot a gorgeous WA white from Margaret River, Pierro LTC priced more sensibly than some wines at $70.

Sashimi salad

The sashimi salad was a visual feast as well as a delicious one. The colours in the salad were wonderful and I loved the crunch of the yellow radish, creaminess of the avocado, and tenderness of the sashimi.  Yum!

Black cod miso

Black cod miso close up

This dish, the black cod miso, is the one that everyone raves about. Justifiably.  It deserves two photos in this post. It was like nothing I have ever tasted before. The miso sauce was delicate and delectable, the cod was flakey and melted on my tongue and the crispy lotus root added texture.

Seriously good. Next time I go back I’m just going to have three black cod miso dishes!

If you go to Nobu, don’t miss this popular dish.

Beef tobanyaki

The beef tobanyaki came out steaming hot. It too was nice, but it was hard act to follow given the black cod miso transported my taste buds directly to foodie heaven. Chewing on the beef felt like a bit of a chore after the cod which just melted on my tongue in the previous course.  It was tasty, absolutely, just not mind-blowingly good.

Assorted sushi

Don’t be fooled by the lovely sushi. This dish should come with a warning: Contains head-spinning wasabi.

It was like the rush I’d imagine you would get from a strong class-A illicit substance.  Zorba and I both felt as if our heads were spinning on our necks like a cartoon character for an intense 15 seconds.  I had a pea sized amount first time – and that was the last time I would have that much of the powerful pure un-cut wasabi in one go!  I did dabble and go back for more. And more. How could I resist?  It was a new sensation and I was still deciding if I liked it or not.

The wasabi could almost be classed as medicinal because it cleared our sinuses.  Zorba said that he thought he was going to die after putting a bit too much wasabi on his chop stick first time! Funny! You simply have to try it.  I’ve never had wasabi like that anywhere ever before. Come to think of it, I have never had a food that has given me an involuntary head-spinning intense rush, ever.  Maybe that’s why Robert De Niro’s Nobu restaurant is so popular with celebrities? Hmmm.

Agedashi soup

Breathing cleanly after the wasabi shock, this comforting Agedashi soup was delicious, moorish, and free from any involuntary side effects or convulsions.

A light final savoury dish before my favourite course [disclaimer: only if it contains chocolate], desert.

The chocolate fondant bento box was beautifully presented and the perfectly cooked fondant was rich with an oozy chocolate centre. Home made ice-cream on the side. A not-so-Japanese finale, but nonetheless, an impressive one.

Chocolate fondant bento box

Our bill came to $410 for two.  Thank you to a lovely food journo friend of mine who gave me a $200 Crown voucher as a thank you gift some time ago – we only had to fork out $210.

Speaking of forks, one of the best things about the dinner was that for once, Zorba kept pace with me in finishing each course. Normally he sits there eyeing off my plate whilst his is polished bare in a matter of minutes.  Chop sticks are not his utensil of choice for speed eating, and for that, I’m ever so grateful!

Taking a taxi to Burswood meant no one was acting as ‘Captain Responsible’ and it meant  we were free to enjoy our evening with a drink to two. It was a lovely night.

The staff was polite and courteous. They explained each dish with Asian accents which added to the ambience, although at times it was hard to hear exactly what was on the plate over the clatter and chatter of the restaurant acoustics.

The food was really first class.  A dining experience no foodie would want to miss.

FACT FILE

Nobu Perth 
Crown Complex Great Eastern Hwy
Burswood, WA 6100
Tel: 08 9362 7551
restaurants@crownperth.com.au


Food Wine Sleep

Food Wine Sleep is a guide to the ultimate food, wine and sleep experiences in Australia. Find the best restaurants, bars and hotels in your local area.

The secret restaurant with no name, Rome

My lovely girlfriend Cat who lives in Rome was given a restaurant recommendation by a local who lives in Trastevere, a lively night-time neighbourhood just over the Tiber river.  “This restaurant has no name, no menu, is kind of illegal and it’s really hard to find, but it is supposed to be really good,” Cat said with enthusiasm.  Zorba loved the sound of that, and so it was decided.

As it turns out, the restaurant does have a name, Da i 2 Ciccioni, or the Two Fat Guys, is in a non-touristy street tucked towards the back of Trastevere.  It is kind of illegal because  there is no license…oh well!  You could be visiting someone’s house really, hence the lack of menu. This is a hole in the wall kind of restaurant.  There are just five tables and the walls are decorated with press cuttings from Australia, Brasil, Spain, New York and London that all said it was like having dinner at your Nonna’s.  They were right.

Gianni, the owner, doesn’t speak a word of English and greeted us with a short sharp smile underneath his black moustache. “Cosa volate bere, rosso o biancho?” Our choice of drinks to have with dinner was simply red or white.  Red please!  The house red wine came in unlabelled bottles, poured into little cordial glasses and very quaffable making it easy to drink.  No sparkling mineral water was available, just still tap water. 

Dishes were plonked on the vinyl table coverings one after the other, with Gianni checking on us during each course to make sure everything was ‘buono’.  His wife / friend / partner – not really sure who she was, kind of helped clear plates whilst balancing a cigarette from her mouth.  I estimated that she smoked about a cigarette every eight minutes.  It was non-stop.

Antipasto consisted of tomato brushetta with those beautiful tasty ripe red tomatoes Italy is famous for, a really delicious bean concoction in a sauce, and mash potato with tomato and a hint of chilli – nothing I’ve ever seen on an Italian menu before.  Not that we had a menu, but you know what I mean.

Primi was a choice – pasta with carbonara or amatricana or with cream and pepper.  Cat chose cream and pepper – the meat free option, whilst Zorba and I thoroughly and utterly enjoyed our Roman carbonara.  Our bottle of red was finished (by Zorba and I – Cat doesn’t really drink) and without question or request, another bottle of red was opened and plonked on the table.

For secondi, we also had a choice, calamari with peas or chicken. Cat and Zorba chose the calamari and I had the chicken which was succulent, juicy and so tasty with just a hint of rosemary. The calamari was very flavoursome – a little bit too hot for my weak-chilli palate, but Cat said she was in ‘food heaven!’

My poor stomach was stretching, so full.

Gianni must have sensed how stuffed we were because he plonked on the table three little plastic cups and a bottle of limoncello and a bottle of grappa, to help us digest of course.  The limoncello was so smooth – we all enjoyed several servings of that. I was the only brave one to try the grappa, which was like paint stripper, but nonetheless it made me feel like I was digesting – haha!  Oh, we also received some home made biscotti which tasted like Arnotts teddy bear biscuits – nice!

After an hour or so, it was time to go. Gianni said that the bill was 25 euro each. Is that all?  Less than A$30 each? For all that food, and moreover, all that limoncello?  We paid cash, of course, and waddled out of there amazed at the experience we had just had.

This is one Roman food experience worth seeking out.

Lastly a big shout out to Zorba or always helping me and reminding me to take photos for my blog x

FACT FILE

Da i 2 Ciccioni
Vicolo del Cedro, 8, Trastevere
Tel +39 06 5812 652

Tetsuya’s Restaurant, Sydney

O. M. G. Tetsuya’s is one of the most expensive dining experiences I have ever had and it was also one of the best, making the saying ring true, “you get what you pay for”.

It’s all about the food and excellent service at Tetsuya’s.  As it should be.  At prices that make it one of the most expensive restaurants in Australia, my expectations were high, and they were surpassed!  At $210 per person for the ten course degustation menu plus another $95 for matching wines, I was already $300 lighter and that was without an aperitif, digestive, and water.

The menu:

Our menu

and the paired wines:

Matching wines

The second spectacular course, savoury custard with avruga. Avruga is a type of seafood – a black caviar if you like, and a new taste sensation for me. This dish was Hubba’s favourite by far. She is still talking about it!  The balance of flavours was dazzling.  Delicate and delectable as well as warm and comforting.

Savoury custard with Avruga

Salad of the sea

The next course, salad of the sea, was visually beautiful and again, deliciously tasty. A lovely mix of textures and flavours.

The NZ scampi with chicken liver parfait and walnut vinaigrette was lovely too. The servings are very teeny tiny, makes me wonder if the effort of putting that dish together was all worth it.  Not complaining – it was delicious.  Just a comment.

Following was Tetsuya’s signature dish, Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout with fennel, unpasteurised ocean trout caviar.  Oh yes.  Silky, soft, amazing and it felt really fresh.  The salty caviar with the sublime ocean trout was one signature dish that I’ll remember for years to come.

Tetsuya’s signature dish: Confit of Petuna ocean trout with fennel, unpasteurised ocean trout caviar

I haven’t mentioned the wine! The Riesling, a 2009 Tunkalilla by Brian Croser from Oregon in the USA was so moorish.  Best riesling I think I have ever had.  Do you know the most exciting part – the next wine we had, was the 2010 Pierro Chardonnay from Margaret River!  One of my favourite wineries in the Margaret River region, renowned for top quality expensive wine. I felt a bit worldly knowing about this wine when it was presented! All the wines were good, but these were the two that stood out for me.

The rest of the dishes were phenomenal – I could describe each one in detail, but it would be a lie.  Why? Because I was having too much of a good time catching up with great friends, and enjoying the matching wines…that everything after the first five courses is slightly blurry in the memory banks. But luckily, my photos are not!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is no fancy decor, themed rooms, expensive artworks, ornate chandeliers or the like – the decor is pleasant, refined, elegant, and understated.

Dining at Tetsuya’s is a once in a lifetime experience.  It is hideously expensive, seriously ridiculously expensive, but you know what, I’d do it all again. It was sublime and the sort of dining experience I will think about and relish over again and again and over again.  So, if you were to average the cost of each memory, it’s not that expensive really…

Thank you Tetsuya’s for a wonderful night x

FACT FILE

Testsuya’s Restaurant
529 Kent St, Sydney
Tel: 02 9267 2900
www.tetsuyas.com

Ten course degustation menu starts from $210pp and matching wines at $95pp.
There is valet parking at $20 per vehicle.
It’s open for Saturday lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday. Booking is essential.

Tetsuya's on Urbanspoon

Trustee Bar and Bistro, Perth City

The Trustee Bar and Bistro on the ground floor plaza of the new BHP tower, known as City Square, has lived up to the hype and not disappointed.  The new French bistro on the city block has already made a mark for itself in just five weeks of being opened.

A beautifully appointed urban feeling brassiere delivered spectacularly.  A small but well designed menu tempted us to try three courses – sharing the duck liver and smoked eel parfait ($22), chateaubriand (for two, $95), and salted caramel chocolate pudding ($15.50).

Duck liver and smoked eel parfait – magnificent

Melt in your mouth Chateaubriand, seriously amazing

Chateaubriand accompaniments, hollandaise sauce, mushroom burguignon, apple, walnut, rocket salad – there’s also salt roasted fat chips x

The wine list came in two forms – the short list and the full wine list. The short list was perfect for what we were after – and I was delighted to find a Fraser Gallop Cab Merlot for $45. Exceptional value for a quality Margaret River red.  Despite husband wanting only a beer, I had to succumb to a bottle of red, it’s that good. After his beer, husband enjoyed a glass of the Fraser Gallop cab merlot too.

The service was efficient, prompt, and friendly when engaged – the perfect combination.  Good news, there was something chocolatey on the menu. I always want something sweet to finish off a meal – and by sweet, I mean chocolate.

Chocolate salted caramel with creme fraiche ice cream

To sum up, it was a $200 dinner for two, but worth it for a special night out.  Our special night was knowing that our debt has somewhat been lessened thanks to a few good investments, so we were celebrating on a Tuesday night.  A random Tuesday night and  Trustee was booked out. However, the kind manager suggested some bar tables in the downstairs bistro where we could enjoy the full menu.  And enjoy our experience we did.  A city venue that’s worth the trip into town for for a special occasion.  Or one for those with corporate credit cards to keep going back to.

Well done Trustee.

FACT FILE:

The Trustee Bar and Bistro
133 St Georges Terrace
Perth, WA 6000
08 6323 3000
thetrustee.com.au

Open every day for lunch and dinner, except Saturday lunch. Bookings required.

The Trustee Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon

Authentic Spanish Flavours, Perth

A local favourite of mine, Spanish Flavours offers simple, honest, tasty Spanish fare without the rip-off prices that are sometimes found in Perth.  I must have eaten here five times in the last three months.  The authentic tapas include the best ever jamon croquettes, coated in crispy crumbs with silky smooth potato and smoked ham centres.  To. Die. For.  When in season, the white marinated anchovies just melt in the mouth, delectably.

Other tapas items include authentic chorizo, baked mushrooms, grilled baby octopus, meatballs in tomato salsa and cold meat platter.

Paella is generous and delicious, cooked to order and comes with seafood or without – you choose. Admittedly, Paella isn’t my favourite Spanish dish – I prefer to eat lots of different tapas and a range of dishes, flavours, textures and choices.  And the tapas here are good. As good as the tapas I’ve eaten across Spain.

Delicious paella

One of the best things on the menu is the churros.  O. M. G. The thin crispy on the outside Spanish vertical donuts are fluffy on the inside and served with liquid chocolate.  The chocolate sauce isn’t overly sweet, yet it is delicious.  Not greasy at all, unlike those churros you get at a chain that shall remain unnamed.

Added bonus, Spanish Flavours is BYO.  I love that.  Price wise, a tapas dinner for two consisting of four or fives dishes and corkage will typically cost less than $100, making this place good value too.

Spanish Flamenco dancing

Little Spanish Rosa, the proprietor, and her team of Spanish speaking staff make this little suburban gem a welcoming restaurant with a lovely relaxed vibe.  The decor is simple and the furniture is Spanish taverna-esque.

For my birthday party, I booked the restaurant out, organised a set menu, and upon my request, Rosa organised a team of Spanish dancers to perform a flamenco dance for us (at an additional cost).  It was the perfect finish to a wonderful night.

FACT FILE

Spanish Flavours
413 Oxford St, Mt Hawthorn
08 9444 6183
www.spanishflavours.com.au
Open for dinner Thursday to Saturday.
Operates as a deli 9am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday .
Closed Sunday and Monday.

Spanish Flavours on Urbanspoonb

Another fabulous meal at a favourite local, Perth

Dinner at Cantina 663 in Mt Lawley, an inner city happening neighbourhood of Perth, was once again fabulous. I must have eaten at Cantina 663 ten times in recent months and it is so easy to just keep going back.

Every dinner I’ve had at Cantina has started with the duck liver parfait.  It is rich, smoothy, velvety, and so delicious on the charred bread. The sweet onion jam accompaniment makes this dish so good it has been my entire reason for going to Cantina in the past. And one of the reasons why I keep going back. I have tried several times to get the recipe by asking inquisitive questions like, “how do you get this parfait so smooth?” and “this is so amazing, I can’t pick if there’s any alcohol in this- is there?”. I have also tried the direct approach and just asked for the recipe.  All attempts have been met with a friendly yet authoritative, ‘No’ (or ‘nice try’).  I’ve resigned myself to wait for the Cantina 663 cookbook. I hope they hurry up and publish one soon!

Last night, three of us shared the duck liver parfait, chorizio with house pickles, and salt cod croquettes for entree.  Not a fault can be said about any of those dishes, excepted it would have been nice to get more than five croquettes so we weren’t fighting over who was having seconds!

Main course was of course the gnocchi.  Cantina 663′s world famous gnocchi, fame it truly deserves.  Pillow light pan fried gnocchi served with pumpkin mash, walnuts, and an exotic cheese.  We had that with a roasted baby beetroot salad.  Seriously good.

I love the friendly staff who are knowledgeable and help recommend wines that are unfamiliar on the wine list. The service is efficient and the prices are normal for Perth.  Not cheap, but not ridiculously expensive either.

I had breakfast at Cantina 663 a few weeks ago and it was nothing short of amazing. Baked mushrooms in a tomato sugo with poached eggs.  Yes please!

Thanks Cantina 663. Keep up the good work.

FACT FILE

Cantina 663, 663 Beaufort St, Mt Lawley, 08 9370 4883. www.cantina663.com.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day (except Sunday dinner).

Urban Spoon reviews
Cantina 663 on Urbanspoon