Strawbz’s hubby says:
I’m hijacking this blog temporarily (upon Strawbz’ request) to tell you about a food experience I had a few weeks ago.
As a motoring journalist I end up at a lot of formal dinners, some for vehicle launches and some to meet industry people and fellow journalists. I have been to more four- and five-star hotels than I can count, and sadly many of them are found wanting when it comes to their menus.
Fancy bedrooms, helpful staff and beautiful surroundings – all of these are relatively easy to pull off when compared to creating really good food. After all my years in the motoring industry I would without hesitation opt for a home-cooked meal over one with claims of Michelin or five-star status.
So when General Motors invited me to a dinner with GM International Operations Communications vice president Johan Willems, I was both eager and wary. With GM, the company is always good – I was just hoping the food would match.
We headed for Nobu at the One & Only Hotel in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. The hotel and its surroundings are truly exquisite. The reception area is a vast, open room with a ceiling that hangs a good 30 metres or more above the main lounge,
There I waited at the central bar, sipping one of the best Mojitos I have had anywhere.
Soon the gang of local journos, along with GM communications manager for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, Denise van Huyssteen, were gathered and ready to go.
The Nobu restaurant branches off from the main reception area of the hotel and is relatively compact (about 100 seats) but stunningly decorated.
Our waitress quickly solved the dilemma of myriad menu choices and offered to bring us group platters until we said: “No more”. I lost out on tempura and Kobe (or Wagyu, as Nobu calls it) beef because of this – but the trade-off was worth it.
The food (finally)
We began the evening with a marinated salmon sashimi – soft, fresh and full of flavour. So far, so good – quality and presentation got really good points but originality scored low.
Along with this we had endamame salad. This is green soya-bean pods, picked before they get hard and then boiled and marinated. They have a hard, inedible outer skin and so you have to squeeze the bean out of the pod to eat it. I’ve had this before and this second tasting confirmed what I thought then – finicky to eat and tastes bloody awful!
This was followed by beef carpaccio and the most extraordinary salmon. The fish tasted as if it had been heavily barbequed in a sticky marinade, but the meat was visibly raw and fresh. The beef scored high – this is only the second time I have had buttery-soft meat in a restaurant (and it wasn’t even Wagyu).
Platters of beef kushisashi and chicken yakitori followed. In their very basic essence, these are simply beef and chicken kebabs. However, these were tender, flavourful little packages of meat. Wow!
Also worth mentioning was a dish of grilled (or was that fried?) Salmon in a decadent, sticky soya and sherry sauce.
A few dishes later we were presented with one of the biggest bowls of sushi I have seen so far. Each piece was delicate and had a very unique flavour. Even the basics – like prawns over sushi rice – were scrumptious. The freshest sushi I have had to date.
Each course was washed down with some rather delicious wine – a Shiraz in my case (I really wish I had noted the label, because now I feel like a fool for not writing it down.)
Then it was on to desert – individual spoons of sorbet made from fresh fruits. Delicious, but not enough for my sweet tooth.
I could go on about the food in detail for pages and pages. What it boils down to is this: Nobu is truly an astounding restaurant and the menu, food, wine and service were spectacular.
Just note that you have to have very deep pockets to eat here. Very, very, very deep pockets.
(Review by Fu)