Melbourne's newest restaurant Nobu opened at Crown last night amidst much hype, glitz and star-pulling power. Noteable attendees included Robert De Niro with wife Grace Hightower, James Packer and wife Erica Baxter, Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch and chef Nobu Matsuhisa, creator of the Nobu chain.
Megan Gale and boyfriend Andy Lee, Eddie and Carla McGuire, Michael and Lindy Klim, Brendan and Alex Fevola, Suzie Wilks, Stephanie and Sue McIntosh, Derryn Hinch, Andrew Peacock, Tony Santic and John Brumby were among the guests.
We chose Melbourne as the destination of our first restaurant in Australia because of its culture and understanding of fine dining. Over the past 20 years, while Sydney may have outstripped Melbourne as a finance and pricey real estate capital, Melbourne has been tending to its inner life, nurturing a civilised tippling scene - with hip little neighbourhood bars, cosy wine-sipping establishments and stylish, yet unpretentious, late-night restaurants.
John Lethlean (The Age) gave Nobu a 14/20 rating (Recommended) and said: Nobu is fun; it's a place you go to be part of something buzzy and bright.
The mood is informal; much like the wait staff. Each party is greeted by a collective "irasshai"- welcome - from the floor, an effort that seems to wane as the night goes on, like team chants at the football when your team is getting flogged.
Melburnians seem to recognise the flame of celebrity and have descended, moth-like, in the restaurant's second week. It's noisy, at times unpleasantly so. One table turns over three times to our single seating.
Staff deliver information in systematic, formulaic but professional manner, and service tables well; it adds up to a feeling that you're part of something successful, something you should want to be part of.
You'll find better straight Japanese elsewhere in Melbourne and similarly interpretative Japan-based food at plenty of places, often cheaper and in some cases better.
Nevertheless Nobu is fun; it's a place you go to be part of something buzzy and bright. Cherry-pick the menu and you will do well. Nobu veterans tell me Melbourne's is pretty much the same sort of experience you'll have at any other. It feels it. After all the hype and lather, I expected a little more sizzle. When it settles down, we might get it.
Crown, Whiteman St, Southbank
Phone: (03) 9696 6566
Hours: Mon-Thurs 6pm-10.30pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-11pm. Lunch soon.
Typical small dish $16, typical main $30
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 8 Whiteman St Southbank | Map
✆ (03) 9696 6566
❊ Web Links ❊
→ The Age - John Lethlean, Reviewer - Nobu
❊ Also See... ❊
→ Crown Entertainment Complex
→ Disclaimer: Check with the venue before making plans...
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