Nobu | Burswood
Does this mean Perth is growing up, now that the city has its very own Rockpool & Nobu? However Nobu Perth is not run by the Nobu company itself. It’s operated by Burswood Entertainment Complex itself, similar to a franchise of sorts, & unlike Rockpool Bar & Grill which is owned & operated separately by the Rockpool group. Whilst this doesn’t mean the food & drinks would be anything less than exemplary, but it may mean you are unlikely to bump into Nobuyuki Matsuhisa on a regular basis. With news that Guillaume Brahimi will also open a Bistro Guillaume next year, we might as well rename the whole place as Crown Perth in honour of its original namesake in Melbourne! Nevertheless, it’s another indication of Burswood’s ongoing pursuit to, thankfully, improve its overall culinary offerings & give Perth a much needed boost in the restaurant game.
So, after having some initial difficulty locating the new restaurant, discreetly tucked away in the corner between the Atrium Buffet restaurant & the Convention centre, our much-anticipated Nobu Perth experience commenced with a booming Japanese ‘Welcome!’ by all staff. Somehow it felt comically incongruous to hear Irashaimase spoken in big Australian accents, & I would continue to be startled each & every time a new table of diners entered the restaurant that evening.
A word of warning: please do not be concerned by the quantity of dishes to follow. In our enthusiasm to peruse almost the entire menu, we conscientiously over-ordered for (only) two people over the course of three leisurely hours. And we didn’t even make it to dessert!
Hokusetsu YK50 Sake
Served cold in an elegant bamboo flask & cups. I am no sake expert, but I was allocated the difficult task of selecting sake to share from the nine varieties on offer. I eventually chose Hokusetsu YK50, part of Nobu’s own private stock, which was incredibly smooth with a hint of honey sweetness & very very easy to drink.
Nobu Style Mix Seafood Ceviche
A stunning chilled dish with a generous combination of raw seafood marinated in potent citrus juices.
Another immaculately presented dish, but I felt the lemon yuzu marinade overpowered the delicate scallop flesh.
A simple, cleansing serving of thin cucumber slices pickled in rice vinegar, with toasted sesame seeds for textural contrast.
New Style White Fish Sashimi
One of Nobu’s iconic creations, slices of raw white fish was dressed with sesame seeds, sliced ginger, chives, soy sauce, citrus juice & searing hot oil. Brilliant.
Tuna & Sea Eel Nigiri Sushi
Quite possibly the least enjoyable dish of the whole evening. However given the quality & flavour of the other dishes before & after the sushi, maybe the least impressive dish is a more accurate description. Now I absolutely love eating raw fish & sushi, but I was more interested in the other uniquely Nobu dishes on offer instead.
Black Cod Miso
Ahh the iconic Cod. It was the most impressive when eaten at Nobu Melbourne the first time. Its reputation was well-deserved. Since then, I have eaten various versions of this miso-marinated cod at other contemporary Japanese restaurants around the world. Yes its silky texture, incredibly tender & gentle flavour is wonderful. But I’m ready to move on from this one.
Prawn Creamy Jalapeno
We ordered this one on a whim, not really knowing what would arrive, yet we were very pleasantly surprised. Deep-fried crispy prawn pieces tossed in a slightly spicy creamy dressing. Completely addictive & would be a perfect bar snack with a cold beer.
Creamy Spicy Crab
Another dish ordered blindly off the menu. Its appearance looked a bit dubious, but oh the flavours! Naturally sweet crab flakes were topped with a grilled creamy spicy sauce, similar in taste to the Prawn Creamy Jalapeno dressing. Thankfully a spoon was included on the side, as it was much needed to scrape up every last crumb of this one.
WA Marron Natural
It’s uplifting to see fresh seafood treated well by cooking it simply & properly. The meat was removed from the shell, gently poached, chopped into bite-sized pieces, slightly seasoned & carefully placed back into the shells. You can still see the natural marron juices in the base of the half-shell.
Pork Belly Miso Caramel
Thank goodness we asked our friendly waiter for her suggestion on this one. Four delicate cubes of melting pork belly contrasted well with the sharp flavour of finely diced red onions. But it was the underpinning smear of sticky sweet-salty miso caramel that blew my taste buds away. You know it’s good when you’re ungainly scraping the last traces of caramel off the plate with the end of a chopstick.
Lamb Chops Yakimono with Teriyaki sauce
To be honest, we shouldn’t have ordered this final dish. We were completely & utterly satiated when it arrived, however we had ordered the lamb chops about 20 minutes earlier, before we had reached that crucial tipping point. Each French cutlet was impeccably cooked with a slight pink interior & coated with a succulent glossy sauce.
Food Twelve dishes for two people. What a meal! I’m sure you can already tell how much we enjoyed the food at Nobu. Pure perfection on every plate. One observation we did make was how each dish was plated up. I am used to seeing top quality exquisite Japanese food served on more traditional stone or hand-made ceramic crockery. The beautiful glazed bowls & rough textured platters. The majority of our items were served on bright white contemporary ceramic plates. Not a criticism by any means, but does make a difference on the initial presentation.
Service I have never seen so many wait staff on a restaurant floor in Australia. Bordering on over-attentive, we would barely put our chopsticks down next to an empty serving plate & it would be whisked away. Prompt service can be a revelation in Perth, but twice the table was cleared without our permission & before the serving plate was actually finished. We still had food in our mouths & were unable to answer! Yes I would have liked to eat the rest of that pickled ginger. Nevertheless, service was well-informed & well-trained. Given the quantity of our dishes & our petite table surface area, the wait staff wisely said they would stagger the delivery of the dishes one or two at time.
Design By means of comparison, I have dined at Nobu Melbourne a few years ago. It was a memorably negative experience purely based on design & atmosphere alone. It was a very late dinner reservation (as you do in Melbourne) & we were seated downstairs in an over-crowded corner. Although I’m sure the restaurant design was exquisite as per all other Nobu restaurants, in the near-darkness we couldn’t actually see much of the interior, the food or each other. It felt like we were eating in a loud, pumping nightclub – we couldn’t eat & get out of there fast enough. Nobu Perth, designed by Michael Fiebrich, is a calmer, more elegant affair utilizing the ubiquitous materials of natural stones, sculptural wood & textural fabric with dramatic feature lighting bubbles. See some of the spectacular interior design by professional photographer Steve Back.
Highlight Pork belly miso caramel, hands down.
Lowlight The service side could do with some refinement, just to bring it up to the quality of the menu & sophisticated interior fitout.
Rating 4 pork belly cubes out of 5. Clearly the best Japanese restaurant in Perth. But given the prices, we’ll still be eating at our favourite Satsuki on a more regular basis
Will we be back Would love to, particularly to try the desserts.