There’s a sweet spot near the bridge of the canals of One&Only Cape Town where you can’t see even a glimpse of the city – it’s all water, sky and mountain. You could be fooled into thinking this Waterfront hotel is situated in a remote location, as many of its sister hotels are. I experienced the same brief disoriented sensation when I stepped inside to dine at Nobu, the One&Only’s resident Asian fusion restaurant. From Indian couples carrying their spoils from the mall nearby, to uptight-looking businessmen in skinny-legged suits, to men with rock star edges and taut American accents (who knows, they probably were famous) – Nobu draws all types, just none of them feel South African. Sitting in one of the booths surrounded by the United Nations of People Looking for a Good Meal, you feel as though you could be anywhere in the world.
But it’s the food that really makes you feel as if you’re having an out-of-body global cuisine experience. Nobu may have decamped to the far south, but the quality and choice on the menu compared to the international restaurants, hasn’t been toned down to a “Nobu-lite” version. This can be a challenge if you’re used to mayo with your sushi, as Nobu’s food is true to tradition. The menu, the choices and their names can be daunting. Fortunately, the waitrons are well-schooled and can offer impressive recommendations and a quick demystification of the menu. (It has to be said, good service was a highlight!) The menu is Japanese-based, with Peruvian elements, and while it may seem like a crazy collaboration, it works.
For the virgin Nobu diner, try the set dinner menu (from R745 to R995). From an assortment of sushi, to tiger shrimp tempura, black cod den miso and beef fillet with anti cucho miso, you’ll experience the wide range of tastes without risking making a bad call. The menu is divided into kushiyaki (skewered grilled meat); anticucho Peruvian style skewers; tempura; ceviche; new-style sashimi (a delicious non-raw option); oysters; tiradito; soup, rice and tartar with caviar; salads; Nobu tacos; hot dishes such as lobster wasabi and squid pasta; and sushi and sashimi. Come hungry, and don’t leave without tasting the Nobu tacos. It’s a blowout food treat, but you won’t need your passport for this truly international experience.
NOTE: Here’s something to put in your diary. Heralding from the mountains of Nepal, Nobu Cape Town Head Chef Dil Tamang and superstar Sushi Chef Keisuke “Keke” Itoh from Japan have been presenting grand dinner dates at Nobu. South African wines have been carefully curated by head wine steward Mercy Mwai and paired smartly with Nobu’s unique twist on contemporary Asian cuisine blended with a kick of Peruvian spice. Check out Nobu.co.za for the dates of the pairings through to November 2016.
One&Only Cape Town, One&Only, Dock Rd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa Phone:+27 (0)21 431 5111