A London Hotel for the True Nobu Fan
Just when you thought your Nobu fixation couldn’t get any more decadent, Europe’s very first Nobu hotel has opened its doors to guests. Located the trendy east London neighborhood of Shoreditch, the hotel has been one of the most anticipated openings of the year. Its location in the middle of London’s creative hotbed aptly fits with the restaurant’s culinary attitudes of artistry and ingenuity.
“My philosophy has always been to use the best ingredients, cook with passion, and provide excellent service, and the details involved in creating the perfect dining experience for our guests translate well to the concept of hotels and hospitality,” explains chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. “Each of our restaurants blends with its environment, drawing inspiration from it, creating a unique experience, both in terms of design and cuisine, and we carried over the same principle to the hotels.” The design of Nobu Shoreditch reflects its creative and industrial, edgy surroundings combined with Nobu’s East-meets-West philosophy, resulting in a sophisticated, slick, and contemporary design.
The rooms themselves in particular, carry on with that strong East-meets-West theme, with a minimalist styling through its interior. Constant use of stained concrete, dark tones, and Japanese art flow through both the individual bedrooms and the wider hotel, and flourishes of shining gold bring a vibrancy to the bathrooms. A range of specially created luxury bathroom products sit on spacious vanities, next to a luxuriously large rain shower. The standard rooms, albeit, not the largest hotel rooms, are like the restaurants - sleek and stylish, but at the end of the day, it’s a hotel for fans of Nobu’s food.
I will say, without reservation, there’s a total feeling of naughtiness when eating a Nobu meal on a bed, watching television. But its Shoreditch location offers around-the-clock room service of extensive menu of Nobu favorites. Perfectly prepared sushi is delivered right to your door, with a wide selection of hot dishes also available. My recommendation is to include a serving of the lobster tofu rolls - beautifully succulent and tender pieces of lobster served on a soft and pillowy bun will forever change the way you look at this classic seafood favorite.
The 240-seat restaurant downstairs offers traditional Nobu favorites throughout the day, such as its signature black miso cod and the salmon sashimi salad, effervescent with its soy-based dressing is always a trusted favorite. Unique to the Shoreditch menu is the Chilean sea bass with creamy yuzu kosho and truffle honey. The perfect char on the outside breaks into a slightly chewy fish, with the sweetness of the truffle honey also adding a slight smokiness to the dish. It’s a creamy and unique mix of contrasting flavors that harmonize perfectly together.
But the Shoreditch location also gives hotel guests the opportunity to not only go to sleep with a Nobu-filled tummy, but to also wake up and start their day with Nobu as well. Now, when thinking about Nobu restaurants, breakfast typically isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but here in Shoreditch, diners can feast on specialty breakfast items that have been elevated with a Nobu twist, such as the Benedict matsuhisa with crab. Served with sautéed spinach and crispy tofu, it’s a rich and powerful way to wake up, with a shiso bearnaise sauce marrying these flavorsome elements all together. Although eggs and bread are not traditionally prevalent in Japanese cuisine, Nobu has managed to create its own version of Western favorites. “I know how London loves to brunch and I wanted to bring my own Nobu influence to this,” says Nobu. His personal favorite, the scrambled egg donburi, is a good example. “Japan is a rice culture, and we use it as our staple rather than bread, which is found more commonly in London. It is great to bring dishes that are not often found here to the table and be able to put my own twist on it.” The matcha waffle with chicken and smoked maple ponzu, perhaps the most Instagrammable item on the breakfast menu, is also an interesting and eclectic mix of flavors. The matcha waffle is gently flavorsome and wonderfully dense without being heavy, and the perfectly moist chicken is paired perfectly with the red dragon sauce of sweet chili and smoked maple tosazu, almost to the extent where the two main components work better individually than as a forced pairing.
Nobu’s first European hotel is indeed a property that panders to lovers of his food, with around the clock accessibility to the fine level of cuisine the brand is known for. But locals and visitors to Shoreditch would also benefit from taking advantage of the location’s unique and exclusive dining opportunities, at both ends of the day.