Nobu is an internationally recognised Japanese contemporary fine dining restaurant created by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Nobu is also known for its fusion between Japanese cuisine and Peruvian ingredients. In the past, it has also been a Michelin star restaurant (aka the real deal).
There are around 50 Nobu locations worldwide including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Malibu, Barcelona, London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and now Sydney. I’ve only been to the Nobu in Melbourne. It was an amazing experience and I actually have something as a benchmark.
In this review, I lay it all down to really ask the most important question – is it worth it?
Crown Sydney has only recently opened and it was already impossible to make a booking from the beginning. We had to wait a bit more than a month for a booking of 3 (pretty sure our friend booked it as soon as she possibly could – we’re obsessed). As of 20 February 2021, there pretty much is no availability until mid April and you’re looking at lunch reservations only. If you want to dine for dinner, you’re looking at May earliest (aka 3 month wait) – and you’ll probably be having dinner at 9pm. I have no idea how my friends got a 6:45pm booking.
I was coming from work so I wanted to dress up but make it appropriate for both day and night. I definitely would think about what to wear because it’s important to dress nicely and appropriate when fine dining.
top – kookai
skirt – portmans
shoes – kookai
bag – longchamp (ideally would have liked to bring a smaller bag but this is just my work bag)
I loved the atmosphere – it’s really open and chic. It gives me really strong Manhattan/London rooftop vibes (think The Shard). It is really different to the Nobu in Melbourne which gives off that typical dark mood romantic mood lighting you see in a lot of fine dining, more expensive restaurants. There’s also a DJ at the restaurant – who was playing house tunes (think Lady by Modjo).
I loved the modern vibe and just how open the space was. My one critique is that the tables and booths are quite big and wide. It’s a bit petty but it just felt a bit unsettling.
Yellowtail Jalapeño 30
This yellowtail jalapeno is an iconic dish from Nobu. It is definitely something that the Kardashians would order and is the classic basic girl fine dining food to snap on Instagram.
I really liked the jalapeno in this dish and how fresh the dish tasted. It wasn’t my favourite of the night but it was a really nice dish.
Nobu Tacos – Wagyu Beef 10
The wagyu beef was really delicious and tender in this taco but that’s where the compliments end. This taco is just way too tiny – legit you’ll finish it in 3 bites. I ended up also having a salmon sashimi taco and I did prefer the wagyu beef one a bit more. It’s not terrible but it’s definitely not worth the price and worth getting something else off the menu.
Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna 31
I think this was the standout dish of the night for me. The crispy rice and spicy tuna is a delicious combination. I’ve had this before in Melbourne and I remember how much I enjoyed this. I love how the crispy rice is just so crunchy and I love minced spicy tuna. My only complaint is I wish I didn’t have to share with two other people because I just wanted more.
Spicy Edamame 9.5
Don’t be fooled by this entree – it’s honestly a fantastic dish and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t really eat edamame. You really need to get the spicy version because the spice is just packed full of flavour and it makes an excellent side dish to snack on.
I also bought a cocktail which I can’t remember the name but it had rosé, champagne and raspberry for sure. I think the collection of Nobu’s cocktails are definitely more on the sweet end.
Black Cod Butter Lettuce 32
I love wrapping things in lettuce – think wrapping lettuce with meat in Korean BBQ yum. This was a really nice dish.
Baby Tiger Prawn Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce or Butter Ponzu 32
I love a creamy sauce and I really enjoyed this. Despite being called spicy, this is definitely more on the mild side. I love the crunch from the tempura that gives way to a ‘melt in your mouth’ experience. Delicious!
Matcha Fondant 18
Green tea fondant & passionfruit
I love matcha desserts and I love a gooey fondant. Whilst it tasted nice, I definitely thought this was a bit pedestrian for Nobu. You could get this sort of matcha dessert anywhere in the city. I also didn’t like the passionfruit – it was way too overpowering.
Banana Harumaki 14
Chocolate and banana spring roll, chocolate ice cream & tropical sauce
This is a really interesting dessert choice. I love spring rolls but sweet spring rolls with chocolate and banana? Unsurprisingly, I just didn’t like this. I thought it was really strange but that’s just my opinion.
Overall, I really enjoyed my dinner at Nobu Sydney. Since the menu is sort of standardised, it was nice to try the dishes that we all know and love as well as try some new ones.
I definitely thought the food was delicious but probably was most disappointed with the dessert just because it is the last thing you eat so it’s what you remember the most. Whilst not bad, I just expected more.
I also thought the service was a bit lacking. It sometimes took a while to get people’s attention. We received the same cocktail twice by mistake but fortunately did not have to pay. I get that this establishment is relatively new but I was definitely a bit disappointed especially when I compared it to my experience in Melbourne (the dinner was really personalised and you got to know the waiter’s name etc).
Surprisingly, it wasn’t too expensive totalling to just under $100 pp but then my cocktail was like $24. $70 pp for a fine dining dinner isn’t overly expensive.
Given the location and atmosphere, I actually think Nobu Sydney is more preferable for a girl’s night out (what we did) or a group of people. Given how large all the tables and booths were, I think it caters more to groups rather than couples.