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NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong
NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong
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羅拔狄尼路對魚生的看法 You talkin' to me?
Jul 29, 2012
Great View, Excellent Services.
Average food quality. Super filling fine dining at HK$938
Avoid sushi, especially maguro.
But black cod is very good.
Mainly for wooing purposes.
Chef Nobu worked in Tokyo before he moved to Lima, Peru, where he opened his own Japanese restaurant. Fusing Peruvian tastes with his Japanese cuisines. He then relocated to Beverley Hills and eventually partnered with Robert De Niro, one of my favorite actors. NOBU then expanded around around the world.
As my dear readers would know already, a fusion restaurant that is "bling bling", up-market and classy could only mean that somebody else had chosen it.
Indeed, my wife had chosen it as we were there for her birthday. I was offered some "options", namely, Nadaman, NOBU or SPOON - between the devil and the sea. I counter-offered Nadaman, NOBU, Tomi, Michi or Kenjo. My wife chose NOBU. (I escaped SPOON by the skin of my teeth this time *phew*
) NOBU seemed OK as they had some non-fusion stuff like Blackcod and Rock Shrimp Tempura on offer. So I should be able to get through dinner without too much agony.
The interior was lovely. After you walk through the chic bar area, you'll arrive at the dining area. There are bar tables, normal dining tables as well as some sofa seats. The whole place was dimly lit with a lot of brown coloured wood and dark brown leather. It's almost as dim as "Aqua Tokyo". Most of the seats could see the excellent view of the Victoria Harbour, which by the was way one of the "Top three skylines in the World"!
We saw quite a lot of couples - or soon to be couples
- when we arrived. Interestingly, there were quite a lot of lone diners enjoying their meals too.
One quibble about the environment was that ceiling was not high enough. It can get quite noisy after 8:30p.m. so perhaps I'd suggest tables nearer to the bar area. Those seemed to be more widely spaced out.
We booked beforehand and were allocated a table for two. It was quite near the large panelled windows showing the Victoria Harbour. Unfortunately, it was rather cramped. One Japanese couple was on our left and a Hong Kong couple was on our right - not good for everyone.
We asked whether we could take a sofa seat instead, even if it was further away from the view. The friendly waitress checked and confirmed that we could do so. Good service!
The sofa seats near the end of the restaurant were very comfortable. This, combined with the very friendly, efficient and, most importantly,
customer oriented service
made even yours truly felt very at ease. (I usually don't feel that way if I don't have high expectations for the food and know the bill will be a hefty one.)
We were first served with the drink list. To my (very pleasant) surprise, the wine list did not contain hugely expensive wines. By that I mean most of the red and white wine were ranged between HK$300 and HK$1,400. Certainly a bottle of Dom Pérignon is a different matter. Anyway, it's not too intimidating.
NOBU Hong Kong Menu:
The food menu came. That's where I got the information about the journey of Chef Nobu and that Robert De Niro was a partner of NOBU.
Another interesting point was that they had a
"NOBU Hong Kong" special menu
. It's NOBU style cooking, itself a fusion, fused with some more ideas from Hong Kong Chinese cooking like "
Foie Gras and Wagyu Beef Gyoza
Steamed Mussel and Crispy Pork Belly
Salt and Pepper Hokkaido Squid
Crispy Pork Cheek and Apple Wasabi Zuke
Duck Hobayaki Moro Miso
" and "
Spicy Miso Barbecued Quail
". We weren't too interested in those as we're more interested in trying their standard signature dishes.
What made it really easy to order was that they had "
NOBU signature dish menu
" (or words to that effect) and another deluxe version which consisted of the Chef's daily recommendation not focusing on NOBU's signature dishes. Both had 8 dishes which composed of 2-3 cold dishes, other hot dishes, 1 soup and 1 dessert.
One of the really great thing about the menu was that it's actually customizable for the same price. This is crucial as I'd suggest skipping the sashimi altogether. It really isn't their strong point.
See below, near the end of the meal
The NOBU signature dish was recommended by the staff if it's your first - and hopefully not last
Anyway, we ordered two NOBU signature sets, one set dinner with beef and another set dinner without beef. We also ordered a bottle of red wine made of the type of grape "Zinfandel", which is one of my favorite types of grapes together with Primitivo. It's usually quite intense, sweet and had a very strong oak and berry aftertaste.
They had two on offer, one HK$6XX and a " Z's blend" from Duckhorn, USA. It's about HK$1,340.
I ordered the latter to "compensate" for the good value set meal - i.e. to make it literally more expensive for the occasion.
The taste was, however, quite bland. Not aromatic enough. Quite dry and didn't have much aftertaste. Generally quite bland and definitely not worth the price. The Zinfandel provided by many steak houses like "Ruth Chris" is of better quality.
My Kirin beer, which I've ordered while were were looking at the menu, at HK$75 per bottle, tasted much better. By the way, the Kirin beer seemed socially acceptable as I saw some couples doing that too.
The still water we ordered was from the Fiji Islands. Intercontinental used this brand for their hotel guests as well. HK$98 per bottle.
Again, the whole place had an air of friendly casualness. But with a team of smooth, friendly and professional team of staff of the highest quality which matched NOBU's international reputation. If it's too cold for the ladies, they also had scarfs available. We felt comfortable the whole time. Even more comfortable than at Hugo's. This positive feeling hasn't been affected by the inconsistent quality of the food.
1. "Salmon tartar with caviar":
After each dish was served, the waiter or waitress would explain what the name and the components of each dish was. You'd be surprised at how few hotel restaurants actually do that. Anyway, the explanation was a bit fast but we don't mind that. We're used to analyzing food anyway, it's like a puzzle game for me.
Basically, it's salmon tartar with shredded garlic and onions with green coloured caviar on top. The whole tartar was inside a soy sauce mixture. The salmon was fresh. It's quite lean. I enjoyed the garlic and onions inside. Imagine ordering salmon sashimi, then chop it up, mixed it with freshly peeled and diced onions and garlic, compress it with a spoon and there you go.
I didn't really appreciate the caviar though, it taste like sea water. A bit like "Umi Budou", i.e. Sea Grapes from Okinawa. (My wife just corrected me as I was typing - Umi Budou tastes better.)
The sauce with the tartar seemed to taste like Chinese light soy sauce mixed with Japanese ponzu, i.e. citrus vinegar. I don't mind that, taste just like dipping salmon into my Hong Kong hotpot sauce sauce. But my wife thought the taste was a bit overwhelming.
Good start for me but average start for my wife.
The small round red object on the bed of ice was a "Yama Momo", literally mountain cherry. It's used to clean one's palate. Taste like a lighter version of a raspberry. It did it's job well.
2. Yellowtail with jalepeno
Another signature dish:
About three Yellowtail slices (Hamachi) of decent size (slightly thicker than a normal slice of Hamachi sashimi) with parsley and Jalapeño chili plus red chili. Perhaps this dish had the most Peruvian influence than other dishes because of the liberal use of hot chilies. It's quite hot if you eat the Jalapeño and red chili together with the Hamachi.
If you think it's too hot, just take the Jalapeño away. The taste didn't enter the Hamachi so you don't need to worry about it.
The sauce surrounding it was a lighter version of the sauce used in the salmon tartar. This time with more pronounced ponzu taste.
According to my wife, the Hamachi was relatively fresh but not top sashimi grade. Furthermore, the tendons weren't picked out.
So it's fine for this style as the jalepeno masked the taste successfully. Again, average according to Japanese standards (quite good for Hong Kong standards!
3. Rock Shrimp Tempura
I was looking forward to this as this looked nice from the photos uploaded by other reviewers:
You could choose from chili mayonnaise sauce and another non-spicy option. The staff might have forgotten to ask for our preferences. Anyway, it came with chili mayonnaise sauce which I didn't mind at all.
The batter was quite fun to eat and it was very crispy. However, the batter taste like those used in some salt and pepper squid used in "Ming Yuen" or "Sang Kee", i.e. the thick version. I'd used "batter" instead of the term of art "tempura" to describe it. Coupled with the not at all spicy (for me) mayonnaise sauce, I could barely taste the shrimp. The texture was fine but the taste was bland.
The black object on top of the battered shrimps was a piece of shiitake. Pretty strong shiitake taste, which is an acquired taste.
To our pleasant surprise, the lettuce leaves beneath the shrimps were very fresh and crisp. It was delicious when mixed with the vinegar and possibly olive oil ? Anyway that was better than the battered shrimps above it.
More for the fun than for the taste. It's OK.
4. Black Codfish Saikyo Yaki:
The super-duper signature dish. Indeed, this was the best dish of the meal and did not disappoint.
Nice , tender and fatty codfish marinated in very sweet Saikyo miso. Served with a piece of ginger (don't worry - the colour is natural and it tastes good).
The quality of the cod was good. The cod meat was very tender and tasty. The fish skin was grilled properly as well, which is not easy to do. Don't forget the ginger, it's a bit sweet and tangy. Good for cleaning your palate after the relatively strong miso flavor.
: What is "Saikyo yaki"? Saikyo yaki is a type of cooking method.
Essentially, it's meat, usually fish but pork and beef are also used, marinated in Saikyo Miso and then grilled. Saikyo Miso is a type of sweet rice miso produced in the Kansai area, for example, Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo and Osaka. Mirin is usually added to the mixture. The effect is wholly different from normal fish grilled with salt, which is a lot more crispier (and obviously, saltier).
I think the black cod saikyo yaki here is better than Kikuzen (they also serve pretty good cod), ROKA, Shiki (in Admiralty) and even Nadaman.
This is very good. If I recall properly, it's about HK$3XX if you order this a la carte, which I find reasonable.
If you're in NOBU, this is not to be missed.
5. Toban wagyu
Then came the toban wagyu. I never thought much about toban beef. It seemed a bit contradictory. On the one hand, the hot plate is used for keeping to food warm so it's still sizzling when it arrives on the customer's table. On the other hand, beef is definitely one type of meat which you wouldn't want it to be overcooked. So the customer had to consume it a.s.a.p. before the hot plate overcooked the beef. I personally can't see the point of that.
Nevertheless, I think when it comes to hotplate cooking, the old school Hong Kong restaurant "Garden Restaurant", gets it right most of the time - with the aid of some soda powder of course
. The hotplate dishes at "Hachirin" and "NOBU" were just average.
Luckily, the wagyu in my wife's dish looked OK. Judging for the colour of the beef, only about 10% of the beef was cooked. So there was still a bit of time to consume the beef. According to my wife, it was not bad.
I tried the sauce in hers, it's slightly different from mine. The sauce seemed to consist of soy sauce and ponzu (again). More soy sauce than ponzu. There seemed to be some butter as well. I have to say it's seemed quite oily.
5. Toban seafood:
Because I couldn't eat beef, I was offered a choice between chicken or seafood. I left it in the chef's good hands. Mainly because I'd like to see what the chef would come up with.
To my pleasant surprise, it was seafood. I don't know why but I was somehow expecting it to be chicken.
It had two pieces of scallops, one shrimp, one slice of squid, one large piece of cod fish, one even larger piece of salmon and a lot of vegetables and fungi. All these were cooked in soy sauce and ponzu (yes - again) plus what tasted like butter.
Other than the cod, which again was very tender, the others were average to slightly above average.
was half cooked inside, perhaps to let the hotplate do the job. That was fine. Not marinated yet did not have much fresh fish taste.
The piece of
was tender. The
was overcooked and quite tough. The
were not as fresh as those found in a good Chinese stir fry.
were decent but too oily even for my taste. The shiitake had a very strong fungi taste, which I don't appreciate.
Perhaps because of the butter and oil,I find this super heavy and struggled to finish the dish!
I won't recommend this to you.
6. Sushi platter:
My wife and I were completely stuffed to the gills after having the toban beef/seafood and we're counting how many dishes were left. We were then served with the sushi platter, which consisted of Prawns, Sardine, Maguro and Soft shell crab.
差: 沙甸超腥。吞拿完全不新鮮。有苦味。吃了一半不行。賴野。 蝦:OK
The thing about sushi and sashimi is that those should be served
the hot food. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to taste the fresh and delicate taste of the seafood. Perhaps that's exactly why the sushi platter here was not served before the hot dishes...
Other than the prawns, the rest were bad.
From right the left, the prawns, like I said, was not bad. The sushi rice was small and not properly marinated in vinegar.
had a very strong stale "fishy" taste, as opposed to fish taste, if you know what I mean. Even my wife, who obviously likes sushi, couldn't handle that. The sushi rice suffered from the same problem.
(maguro) was the worse. I had half of it and I could not handle the rest. It's stale, soggy and a slightly irony (bloody) taste. It wasn't fresh at all. As bad as the sashimi I had at "Ihashi", if not worse. I initially thought the maguro at "Sushi Toku" was below average the time I tried it but this was much worse.
BTW, other than blowfish, which you'll die if you consume the poison, the two types of fishes which could go very wrong are Maguro and Salmon. According to some reference books on sushi, one should avoid maguro if one is suffering from flu. If not fresh enough, it is THE fish which could give you food poisoning.
Salmon is less of a problem than maguro but make sure you use salmon specially caught and processed for sashimi. It's a bit like pork (parasites). I won't go into the details.
After having the maguro, I could really taste much of the soft-shell crab roll. Anyway, it's the crab was quite crispy but the taste seemed pretty light. The vegetables embedded inside it tasted bland. Perhaps it was because I had this after the maguro.
Luckily, there was a bowl of warm miso soup to rescue both my taste buds and my stomach:
7. Miso Soup:
The miso soup was nothing special. It's yellow miso, certainly not as sweet as the Saikyo Miso. Average salty miso taste. The special point was that they added a lot of "Aosa", a type of seaweed, into the miso soup. It taste a lot lighter than normal Nori. The colour was fresh green.
There were some tofu inside the soup too. The tofu wasn't the normal silk tofu but a pretty hard version. Perhaps the tofu had been grilled beforehand. Anyway, no complaints. The soup was very welcomed after the maguro.
After the waitress took away the miso soup, the sushi platter and the cutleries, we were surprisingly glad that they did. Because that means we've reached the end of the meal. We simply couldn't eat anymore.
Well, I suppose there is still room for desserts:
8. Soy Bean Panna cotta:
This was pretty good. It tasted like a harder version of tofu faa with some light clotted cream. It had a lot of dried berries (like those you get inside some cereals) on top and a lot of what seemed to be strawberry jam. The whole combination was quite sweet.
We held out through the bitter end and
had a sweet end for the evening.
黃豆Panna Cotta: NOBU 豆腐花。
The bill came down to HK$3,489 (less 25% for HSBC card!) plus 10% service = HK$3,343,90.
All in all, food-wise, some hits and some serious misses.
I might suggest just ordering a la carte Saikyo Yaki with a beer instead of any set meals.
The view, the decor and the service was very good.
So perhaps worth a visit.
最後太太選了羅拔狄尼路有份開的NOBU。 成功避開了SPOON (避過一劫!
一流。差不多所有位都能看到維多利亞港的景色。維港原來屬於全世界最好的夜景三甲之一。可能是第一。確是Million Dollar View。
相當好。殷勤，有禮及有笑容。會記著主人家的名字及所使用的語言。如覺得凍會主動提供毛氈。每一道菜到的時候會作出介紹。做到以客為本，有求必應。不會用什麼公司/酒店政策作為推塘責任及用腦的籍口。服務比半島更好。與Hotel ICON 差不多。(現在有很多所為高檔餐廳仍然完全沒有以客為本的慨念。) 進食期間會不斷留意客人的需要。上菜有timing, 有技巧。
點NOBU Signature Dish 套餐時，有什麼菜式不吃的話餐廳會給客人調整的。很有彈性。酒方面，豐儉由人。HK$75杯麒麟啤，HK$98支斐濟郡島礦泉水，HK$1340支不太好喝的Zindandel美國紅酒， 至香檳 Dom Pérignon 都有。
NOBU Signature Dish Omakase 套餐適合第一次到NOBU的我們。一次過試完NOBU的招牌菜。HK$988 八款菜式，包括冷盤，熱盤，一款湯及一款甜品。算相當合理。
【西京麵豉】: 使用了京都，兵庫，大阪，等關西地區的白麵豉 - 白米"敷"含量較其他麵豉高。所以顏色較白及味道較甜。然後再在白麵豉內加味醂即成。
- 軟殼蟹卷: 飯很乾。沒有醋味。軟殼蟹炸得香口但有點油味。
Search "Robert De Niro - Sushi" for Eng version
Want to see what the owner Mr. Robert De Niro
thinks about sushi?
(I don't think I can publish the English version here because of the strong language used.
B for Billy Crystal, the Clinical Psychologist trying to introduce Robert De Niro to a famous director so De Niro could act as a consultant on mafia affairs. They are inside a classy, up-market Japanese sushi restaurant in USA:
I, I, adore this place. It has the best sushi in town.
Yeah... it smells good.
Try the yellowtail, Paul.
You got any real food around here? I mean this is like eating f...... b...
羅拔狄尼路對魚生的看法......Search on Youtube - "Robert De Niro - Sushi" for the English version.
It's a scene from the very funny comedy "Analyze That".
Black Cod Saikyo Yaki
Table Wait Time:
Spending per head:
Value for Money
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Aug 06, 2012 18:30
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Robert De Niro is my favourite actor.
Aug 04, 2012 21:12
Especially his role plays in "Taxi Driver"
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