Words: Azura Rahman Photos: Monica Tindall
One of the best ways to usher in the New Year is with great food in the company of close friends and family. Stunning views, excellent service and a very nice setting is icing on the cake. With only a few weeks till the 2017 countdown, Nobu Kuala Lumpur (ticking all of the aforementioned indicators) is offering a very special Japanese-Peruvian omakase menu to celebrate the festive season in delicious style. Executive chef, Philip Leong, and his team have created a memorable gastronomic experience with succulent Kobe beef, freshly chargrilled lobster, lily root ceviche and ankimo with caviar yuzu miso as some of the gourmet highlights.
A mélange of carefully chosen appetizers began the set with five petite artworks providing contrasting tastes, textures and presentations. Tasting my way around the plate, I began with a beautiful lily root ceviche in a light dressing topped with freshly cut onions and tomatoes. Black beans cooked in sake; sweet and smooth in the mouth, was Monica’s favourite. A slice of crunchy herring roe marinated in white wine provided a distinctive texture, and a slice of monkfish pâté with yuzu miso and caviar was another unique creation. It was, however, the sea urchin in a sake ponzu shot that captivated my culinary cravings. Quickly awaking my senses, the strong ponzu was served with a fresh quail egg yolk making it a remarkably tantalizing concoction.
The next course was a selection of succulent fresh sushi of premium quality. Amberjack with jalapeño, and lightly brushed with a citrus yuzu soy sauce, melted in my mouth. Tuna belly capped with a slither of fresh ginger was just delightful! A seared red snapper sushi was equally as succulent, and a soft prawn brushed with olive oil and a touch of grated zest proved an elegant balance of flavours.
Seared baby sea bream salad followed, tastefully seasoned with yuzu, olive, dried miso, and fried garlic. A creamy jalepeño sauce with a dab of rocoto spice added depth to the overall profile of this dish. A filling of shredded sweet beetroot wrapped in a crispy white daikon supplied both a vibrant spot of colour for the eye, and a fresh lift for the palate.
Grilled lobster wowed in its presentation. Already peeled, luscious plump claw and body meat had us drooling as the plate was delivered to our table. No clumsy de-shelling required – this beauty was ready for immediate consumption. A mild jalapeño sauce and bed of crisp salad was all that was needed as accompaniment.
Thinking that the lobster could not be surpassed, I was surprised and happy to be proven wrong when pink fleshy rectangles of grilled Kobe beef followed. Served with truffle tamari sauce and seasonal tempura vegetables, the meat was extremely tender seeming to dissolve upon contact with my tongue. While the beef was flavourful enough to be eaten on its own, a dab of the accompanying sauces was well worth the experiment.
Taking the menu up another notch is the pairing with Junmai Daiginjo sake, produced exclusively for Nobu and said to be the iconic chef’s favourite drop (his silhouette can even be seen on the label). Served in a masu cup (square wooden block), the sake overflows onto a plate signifying wealth and generosity. Sipping from the corner of the box unveiled a wonderfully complex sake with a tinge of floral essence. It’s a flawless partner to the New Year menu.
Nobu’s signature cheesecake concluded the set with a graceful arrangement of dessert. The light cheesecake came with a green tea kuzu mochi, a tangy raspberry sauce and yuzu strawberry sorbet. Sesame crumble furnished a whisper of savoury encouraging us to scoop back into the very last crumb.
A memorable experience is guaranteed this New Year at Nobu Kuala Lumpur. A culinary adventure, partnered with excellent service and extraordinary views is sure to end 2016 on a high note. This leaves me wishing you all a very Happy New Year or akemashite omedetou gozaimasu as they would say in Japan!