I'm not convinced that anyone dining at Nobu Berkeley is there for the food. They are there for the chance to meet a banker, a model, an oligarch, or some very average celebrity. They are there to enjoy some very entertaining people watching, or for an excuse to dress like a high-class call girl without looking out of place. Or to eat food in an atmosphere that perfectly prepares them for a night out.
Entries in Japanese (7)
About a month ago, I went through a stage where I failed to book any restaurants due to not knowing where The Boyfriend or I were going to be. Now we are paying for it.That is how we ended up at Sumosan, the only sushi restaurant we wanted to try that had availability last minute on a Friday night.
The restaurant itself is basically a larger version of the Charlotte Street venue, except they probably have similar numbers of tables as these were evenly spaced. It was half empty but the atmosphere didn't feel as empty as it was.
Aubergine and asparagus accompanied these two. The aubergine was baked in its skin and served with a little spoon with which to scrape it out. Covered in yet another sauce so good I couldn't believe that this could possibly be healthy. (To be honest, god knows what they put on it to make it taste like this, but it was a vegetable so I assume it has to be just a little bit healthy).The asparagus had been grilled on the Robata and was still satisfyingly crunchy. It tasted just like asparagus should which was refreshing after the rich glazes/sauces on everything else we had ordered.
All of this was accompanied by a nice carafe of some wine which, I liked as always but about which The Boyfriend seemed fairly apathetic. The service was perfect, the waiters really didnt miss a beat (probably helped by the fact the restaurant was half empty).
The total came to 50 a head, not cheap by any means, but when considered relative to the competition around it, (I'm thinking about you, Barbecoa) and given Roka is also an "it" restaurant, its a pretty good deal. I challenge anyone to find better Japanese in London for the same price. The Canary Wharf venue has none of the problems its older sibling does and comes off as less pretentious too. It seems to be more about the food. But maybe I'm just biased because for once at Roka I wasn't a Blackberry widow.
Chisou apparently means in Japanese either -
a) 'a treat'
b) 'a dinner'
c) 'delicious food'
In our case it was one of these - dinner and not a very good one at that.
I find good sushi, at a last minutes notice, hard to find in London. My favourite places Dinings/Roka and god forbid Zuma all require a reservation at least 2 weeks in advance (actually about 2 years for Zuma - since my first trip in 2007, I've never actually managed to get a table) and on a Monday night who can really be bothered with all the hassle? Over booked restaurants are the thing I happen to hate most about London, screw the constant drizzle, how come every restaurant requires a booking a month in advance?
So Chisou had space AND allowed you to book a table, (another pet peeve - no, I dont want to travel 30 minutes to your restaurant to find out I will have to wait another 2 hours for a table and can't even wait in the bar, thanks) so from the start things were looking up. Proximity to Holborn was another added bonus. This is were the good points ended.
So The Boyfriend, Boyfriend's friend and I all headed out.