You would have to be living under a rock to not know that all is not well in the GCC region right now. This isn’t a blog to discuss politics and the bullying antics of neighboring countries against a sovereign nation (oops…see what I did there?). But I can truly say it’s business as usual – supermarket shelves are full, ATMs are dispensing cash…expats and citizens are just getting on with life as best we can.
Which brings me to this blog post – for me, this means continuing to eat my way around the city. Last night it was Nobu Doha to try their new Omakase (Chef’s choice) menu. This has become a yearly tradition and one a look forward to.
For the first time, Nobu is open during Ramadan and will also start brunch after the Eid period. I’m so happy to see this kind of confidence at the moment.
Back to the task at hand. In a nutshell, this year’s menu does not disappoint. In fact, it’s possibly their best yet. And, I know many bloggers throw “best ever” around with abandon. I don’t. This is serious. Like my love of cheese. And dumplings.
Unlike their competitors, a “chef’s choice’ at Nobu does NOT mean a “highlights” reel of the current menu – rather new dishes and new approaches.
While it’s a set menu, the diner has four options in each course – appeasing every palate. Servings are generous so sharing is possible. Although, sometimes you may not WANT to share.
The first course highlights were a silky salmon tataki with a shiso glaze (sweet, savory and tart all at once – I wanted to lick the plate) and pulled beef on crispy rice. I want to take a minute to appreciate this morsel – the rice is wonderfully dense yet crisp and the beef had the right measure of sauce. At three in a serving, there may be fights.
We also had a chance to try the salad, which was a generous serve drizzled with a moreish sesame (aka goma) dressing. My only quibble is that this should probably be served as a addition to the menu rather than a stand alone option in the starters.
Nobu is known for its fresh and dependable sushi and this plated version is no exception. We shared the salmon and tuna rolls and they were, as always stellar.
The mains caused much discussion at our table. A dish of calamari “pasta” being the center of this discussion. It’s pasta, but not as you know it. the pasta is actually pieces of tender calamari served in the lightest of garlic sauce.
We were always going to order the beef tenderloin. Mainly for the wasabi mash which was dispatched in short order. The beef was fresh and cooked as specified – medium rare. Meanwhile a med-style sea bass was light, fresh and firm.
I want to take a minute to appreciate the “pasta” – this is what makes Nobu one of the best restaurants in town for me. The surprise factor. Now this dish actually hails from the mothership in Malibu and was invented by Nobu after a young boy visiting the restaurant with his parents wanted pasta. The pieces of squid are so tender they are almost unrecognizable as the produce we are usually served in Doha. The sauce, filled with vegetables and a hint of garlic does not overwhelm it. I think this will even please the seafood skeptics.
Desserts are always a highlight at Nobu – although we all know my aversion to the sweet life. Not this time. My heart and min was won over by a coconut castella cake. Castella is made of just 4 basic ingredients: bread flour, eggs, sugar and honey. The chef adds coconut (usually my Waterloo) and when all the elements are combined, the result is a moist yet not overhwheming dessert. The miso cream gave that hit of savory which balanced all the flavors.
A matcha tiramisu was anything but a miss as well. Creamy and rich, it will be a hit with diners.
At four generous courses for QR350 this is very good value and you will not leave hungry. Dishes are plated to perfection, the courses well paced to ensure you aren’t rushed and as always, the service intelligent and well informed. Although I do feel they should include a signature mocktail or tea to give a feel of a “better deal”.
Unlike some other high end restaurants in Doha, Nobu continually ups the ante by trying new menus, new dishes and concepts. this isn’t a once over lightly “chef’s choice” from the existing menu – rather new and innovative dishes, some borrowed from the international Nobu repertoire. This menu builds on the success and the flavors, with not as much as a misstep. Each dish had a signature that was fundamentally “Nobu” – that little piece of flair that only a world class restaurant can execute. It’s lush, interesting yet also comforting. In the current climate, this is just what we need.
Four Seasons Hotel
Phone: +974 4494 8500