Restaurants, Japanese Mayfair
© Luca Zampedri

The hype has died down, the celebs are long gone, but London’s first branch of Nobu (there’s a second on Berkeley Square) is still a heavyweight on the Japanese dining scene. Imitations of the restaurant’s signature dishes – black cod with miso, or rock shrimp tempura, for example – can be found on many a menu in the capital these days, but if you want to try the original Nobu Matsuhisa version, then head to Old Park Lane.

Crisp tacos topped with sweet-fleshed crab and piquant tomato salsa make an enjoyable prelude to a meal. Then it’s time to explore the rest of the restaurant’s much-lauded range of Japanese/Peruvian fusion dishes. A vegetarian dish of tofu anticuchos came bar-marked with a spicy red-pepper sauce. Though perfectly tasty, it wouldn’t get pulses racing. Sushi here is excellent, however; our well-shaped temaki was filled with diced scallop and smelt eggs in a rich, creamy chilli sauce.

A meal at Nobu might not come cheap, but a few things are guaranteed: impeccable service, great views (the restaurant overlooks Hyde Park) and perfectly fresh fish. Another likelihood is a dining room packed with moneyed tourists and smart Kensington families, so get your glad rags on.



Venue name: Nobu
Address: 1st floor
19 Old Park Lane
Cross street: The Metropolitan
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-2.15pm Mon-Fri; 12.30-2.30pm Sat, Sun. Dinner served 6-10.15pm Mon-Thur; 6-11pm Fri, Sat; 6-10pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Hyde Park Corner
Price: Dishes £3.25-£38. Set lunch £35 bento box; £65, £75. Set dinner £85, £95
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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‘Irasshaimase’ or “Welcome’ was the greeting that was yelled at us by each of the staff as we were escorted to our corner table that had a limited view of Hyde Park. As we were first timers and since it was a special occasion we went for a tasting menu each (Classic and Nobu Now). Both were £100. The sushi was probably the freshest I have ever tasted. The famous black cod miso did not disappoint.

Service was great and although we didn’t expect to see the celebrities that would feature in its heyday, the décor looked very dated, dare I say it but like a staff canteen. The view was not great either. No single item was without taste, however, we didn’t feel fully sated upon leaving the restaurant despite the 7 courses. The strength of the brand still resonated with me and I would not rule out a return to the restaurants in Shoreditch or Berkeley Street.


When you get a £320 bill for 2 and find yourself thinking 'that's quite alright', then you know that this particular restaurant excels. We drank Saint Clair Sauv Blanc (one of my favourite NZ whites and a great pairing for seafood), ate a selection of sashimi and tacos to share. As a main, I had black cod miso (but of course!) and my companion had lobster wasabi pepper. We then rounded the meal off with deserts (mine, Suntori Whiskey Cappuccino, was served in a cup and looked exactly like a cappuccino and tasted divine). Everything, and I mean everything, tasted great. The service was always good, friendly (even unexpectedly so, as with all the multiple 5 star hotels around Park Lane and with all the Bentleys pulling into the driveway rather formal service is more of a norm) and available at a moment's notice despite the place heaving with customers. And oh my, the place is busy. We arrived for an 8 pm setting on a Thursday and were leaving approaching 11 pm and the place didn't look like it was slowing down (it says on the web-site they close at 11 pm so not sure how that goes down).

The clientele is undeniably wealthy (a Bottega Veneta woven hobo lying on the banquette left of me, a Chanel shopping bag under the next table, a Loro Piana cardigan hanging casually on a chair to the right), but in a chick, not rub in your face kind of way (thinking of Sexy Fish and Chiltern Firehouse here). I left strongly intent on making more money to make eating out at Nobu a habit, not a special occasion.