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Nobu Cape Town at One&Only

Cost
R350 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance, Family friendly
Food
Japanese, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Nikita Buxton

Food
The modern Japanese cuisine at Nobu is not just about sushi. The menu plays with textures and flavours with an overwhelming range of innovative dishes from which to choose. The menu is not for novices: it’s split into comprehensive sections of cold and warm, light and rich, old- and new-style, with an added chef’s choice tasting menu.

Kick off with the moreish aracini-style crispy rice cubes served with hot-buttered soy, a plate of fresh and zingy new-style sashimi with a vibrant green jalapeño dressing, or delicate tacos filled with the softest salmon.

If you’re feeling flush, you can move onto the signature black-lacquered cod den miso or Wagyu beef, or you can try the kingklip amazu ponzu for a perfectly cooked, sweet, sour and citrusy dish. There’s also tempura, teriyaki, kushiyaki or toban yaki dishes from which to choose, with plenty of vegetarian options. A bento box with a selection of dishes, including a miso soup and dessert, will save those who are unsure. As a side, the simple-sounding spinach salad is a revelation and shouldn’t be missed: a plate of abundant fresh baby spinach leaves is tossed with umami-rich combinations of dried miso, lemon juice, a hint of truffle and parmesan.

Don’t leave without spooning into a decadent chocolate fondant, served in a bento box with refreshing green-tea ice cream, or the delicate Suntory whisky cappuccino with milk ice cream and coffee brûlée.

Drinks
The wine list is superb. Split into varietals, it contains some wonderful local and international choices – but be prepared to pay. There’s also an impressive spirits list with a good selection of Japanese beer, sake and whisky.

Service
Friendly, but can be a touch elusive.

Ambience
This is not your standard sushi joint. The One&Only hotel is dripping in grandeur. The restaurant, with its grand high ceilings and contemporary décor, makes for a special night out.

And…
For early-evening bites, the upstairs lounge offers finger-food platters and glorious signature cocktails.

(September 2016)

Eat Out critics arrive unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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  • Graham Howe

    Food
    Devotees of chef-owner Nobu Matsuhisa are familiar with the global Nobu formula. This approach which gives Japanese cuisine a contemporary makeover, combining the tastes and textures of classic Japanese, Peruvian (try the anticucho skewers and tuna tacos) and South African (crayfish, kingklip and yellowtail) ingredients and influences with an innovative twist. Novices might well settle for the lighter bento box, which artfully presents a selection of miso, sushi, sashimi and tempura. The regulars enjoy sharing a contrast of cold and warm, light and rich, old and new style, on one of the tempting yin and yang set menus – including a sublime eight-course vegetarian set menu. Whatever you order, do not miss a few of Nobu’s signature dishes: notably, black lacquered cod den miso, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and new-style sashimi. Whether you do tempura, teriyaki, tiradito or toban yaki, this will be a culinary journey into the sublime joys of umami (the fifth savoury sense). Much more than sushi and sashimi, this is Japanese cuisine on the cutting-edge – and it doesn’t come cheap. Finish with a Suntory whiskey cappuccino.

    Drinks
    A superb wine and spirits list also tempts with a comprehensive selection of Japanese beer, sake, plum wine and Japanese whiskey for an aperitif at the sleek Nobu bar – or try the sake and omakase pairing menu.

    Service
    World-class, from the sommelier to the servers, with great advice on how to mix and match the tastes and textures of old and new style sushi and sashimi, classic Japanese cuisine, South African and Peruvian fusion dishes.

    Ambience
    A metropolitan venue, this cathedral-esque venue is grand for a special night out. Enjoy the posh booths and banquettes, to the chic décor and lacquered finishes.

    And…
    Try the omakase (meaning ‘from the heart’) tasting menu for an epicurean journey of classic Japanese cuisine, featuring six samplers chosen by the chef.

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  • Greg Landman

    Food
    Nobu Matsuhisa spent some of his formative years in South America, specifically Peru, so you will find, rather unusually, some Peruvian items on this vast Japanese menu. There are things like chicken, beef and salmon anticucho, which are delicious morsels on skewers, and tuna and salmon, or lobster and crab tacos, which are crunchy and satisfying. The rest of the menu deals in the Japanese manner with all sorts of things from fish to flesh to fowl, either in sushi and sashimi styles, flash-fried tempura and quick-seared tataki, all with tantalising sauces. If you’re not up to wandering through the various types of cooking, go for one of the set dinners, which feature various kinds of teriyaki and spicy garlic shrimps.

    Wine
    The wine list is vast – and pricey – with many treasures from the Cape and from further afield, as well as the obligatory sake.

    Service
    In a place like this it is advisable to let the staff talk you through the various things on offer unless you have spent time in Japan – and they can do it.

    Ambience
    The plush double-volume room at this upmarket venue is very large and does not lend itself to cosy corners. However, once you’re seated it doesn’t seem to matter that much, but it helps to take a group – and  some money.

    And...
    Try the Lite Menu, which is available every evening from 6pm to 8pm at the bar, and features platters of finger food for four people of meat, fish or vegetarian, as well as some of their spectacular cocktails at special prices.

    (July 2014)

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  • Food
    A fantastic culinary experience and possibly the best raw seafood experience in Cape Town. The menu is so extensive that it is tempting to select one of the set dinners, but be sure not to miss out on the flagship dishes such as yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, the black cod and the Wagyu beef.

    Wine
    There is an extensive selection of top-end wines from mainly well-known estates. The advantage of dining in this price range is that you have a sommelier to assist you with your selection.

    Service
    Although well trained, the waiters could be a little more attentive.

    Ambience
    Nobu does struggle to shake off the hotel feeling, but once the food arrives you will no longer be paying attention to anything else.

    And...
    The best experience is found when you sit at the sushi bar and leave the dish selection to the chef (omakase). (DV, October 2012)
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  • Visit on a special occasion to blow the budget on high quality Japanese food. Nestled in the luxurious One&Only Hotel, Nobu offers an exceptional dining experience in line with the world-wide Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa brand. There’s a great ambience in the spacious, amber-hued space, with well-trained, informative staff and a great winelist to match the fresh and spicy food. Highlights on the exciting, varied menu include the spinach and crayfish salad with spicy lemon dressing; prawn tempura; black cod miso; brilliiant sushi; a variety of vegetarian dishes; aubergine with miso; and Nobu’s signature yellowtail sashimi. (Eat Out magazine 2014)
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User reviews

  • We visited Nobu last night as part of Restaurant Week. The service was friendly and attentive, and the food was delicious. Our waitress suggested we have the edamame to start - they were served in a spicy sauce that we would quite liked to have bottled and taken home! The Restaurant Week offering (for R300 per person) was a Bento Box with 6 different dishes in it - a sound taster of the restaurant's food. The highlight was the crispy tempura fish with creamy dipping sauce, and the yellowtail sushi. The chicken satay skewers were a bit pedestrian. The dessert was a perfectly sized and oozing chocolate fondant with gently-flavoured green tea ice-cream, which was just delicious. While we had a really enjoyable evening, I am not sure we would go back - a glance at the menu revealed prices more suited to tourists (not surprisingly, given the location. The famous blackened cod is an eye-watering R580). You do also feel like you are sitting in a hotel restaurant - carpet flooring will do that. The space is also a bit too high in volume, which takes away from what could have been an intimate atmosphere.
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  • Not a gastronomic experience!

    My daughters always wanted to eat at Nobu. So when we booked to stay at the One & Only, I booked at Nobu well in advance. Booking was made in May for our dinner on the 10 August. All was going well. The waitress was friendly, gave us a good description of the meals, noted our allergies. The first concern was the fact that all food was fried in the same oil as the prawns! Really dangerous if you have a shellfish allergy! Our food arrived one dish at a time, meaning not everyone got their food at the same time! Strange but it was getting late. The dishes were nothing to rave about. 3 out of the 4 at the table had finished eating and there was still no sign of the 4th person's deluxe Bento meal! The reason - our apologies but the kitchen was busy, your food is being plated now! Still a wait so we settled the bill and left feeling really disappointed with a much anticipated visit!

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  • We were invited to celebrate combined birthday and loved the experience tremendously. The waitress was very knowledgeable and helped us with all our various food allergies! Ambience was the only disappointment. Totally overpriced, but so delicious you want to go back anyway!

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  • One of the best Asian food restaurants anywhere! Nobu in Cpae Town never disappoints. Been here quite a few times now - on special occasions, with visitors, and just to indulge ourselves. It can feel a little stiff at first, but just take it in and you will find it quietly friendly and very welcoming. So many delicious things on the long menu - let the attentive waiter help you. The other day we had tataki tuna with ponzu dressing, lobster salad, ceviche, some new style sashimi, blackened cod and oysters with Nobu salsa. All excellent, beautifully presented - every dish is a piece of art, and in perfect portion size. Do a sake pairing with the food, a great experience. The hotel feeling just adds to the special fine dining experience.

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  • The best thing about this was the cocktail at the bar of the One & Only before we went to Nobu for our meal.

    I know this is a chain of famous restaurants, so its reputation is well known.

    My partner and I were totally disappointed by the food. Overpriced. Underwhelming.

    There are much better sushi/Japanese restaurants in Cape Town, which are much more vibrant, cheaper and of a higher standard of food.

    As an example, the King Crab with ponzu sauce, which is around R210, arrived in a small flat dish, smothered in sauce. It looked like a dessert covered in custard. The sauce was so thick you couldn't see what was underneath. Thick like taco cheese sauce. Anyway, I sent it back, and they did credit our bill. Weirdly, the waitress told us, that it is not a popular dish, and most people don't like it. Wonder why no-one suggested we not order it then. Or perhaps take it off the menu.

    Unfortunately most of the meal was of a poor standard. Even my bloody mary was nasty. I remade it at the table. Something i have never done before.

    The high point was the fish and chips Nobu style. The kingklip was lovely, the chips not so.

    My advice if you are thinking about Japanese food in Cape Town, is give this place a wide berth. Sorry to say.

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  • I walked in without booking and was treated very well by the front of house staff and seated. I was fortunate in having an enthusiastic waitress who helped me choose a great evening's combination of food.
    I started with the new style Salmon sashimi with Black truffles (as an optional extra) - an absolutely superb combination, and followed this with Wood Oven Shrimps in lemon and garlic, which was done with rosa tomatoes and asparagus. The flavour was phenomenal and the sauce needed some bread to mop up with - one of my best meals out in ages.

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  • Very disappointing. Food was good, but service was very bad, showing a severe lack of knowledge and training in basic service techniques and etiquette. Sequencing from kitchen was a disaster with long wait and then starters and main courses all arriving at once so that dishes could not be enjoyed at the optimum time for the individual dishes. Never again.

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  • Went there last night for my annual Christmas dinner with friends. What a let down! Booking was made a week in advance, but they seated us next to the waiters' station, very noisy! Menu is not the same as the ones on Eat Out website and we paid R850 for a tasting menu. Nothing special. Also our one waiter had a body odour that was hanging over the table everytime she came to clear the table! Never again!

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  • Disappointing. Expected a memorable dining experience. Wine glasses left empty, incorrect order taken, other people's orders delivered to our table, food was mixed, wagu average, tempura and pork belly very good. Service was well below what you would expect of a restaurant chain with this reputation and destroyed the experience. Time for some training!

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  • I was very sceptic about this much-famed restaurant, but curiosity and winter specials got the better of me so decided to try it out. All I can say is, Nobu deserves all its accolades and even more. The food was sublime, bordering on orgasmic, and I can honestly say it has been my best dining experience to date. The service was excellent, with our waiter George being both attentive and knowledgeable.
    Thank-you, and I shall definitely return!

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  • We had dinner at Nobu on Saturday night and we all had the winter special. It was fantastic and the flavours were amazing. Excellent service too. We had been three times before and it was expensive, but good. The winter special makes it affordable for the average Capetonian. Not recommended if you are a steak and chips person.
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  • Went to this restaurant for my daughter's birthday and it was terrible. Food was not up to standard and the service was terrible. The only 5 star thing about it was the price. One thing for sure I will not be back!

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  • Went there over the festive season without a reservation. It was extremely busy but they accomodated me no hesitation. Cuisine was out of this world and service was phenomenal, with such a vibey atmosphere. Will definitely be back!
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  • Your French manager is steadily destroying Nobus reputation. Rude is too kind a word to use in describing him. He is becoming infamous in his disdain for clientele, as I have met several people who refuse to return to Nobu whilst his disgraceful attitude lords over the front desk.
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  • We were met with the rudest maitre D, that we decided against eating at Nobu. This is the second time Ive experienced disgraceful service and this is confirmed by everyone else I know who has had the misfortune of walking through their door. Heres a tip for your manager - he needs to remember he is not doing clientele a favour!
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  • Went for sake and umami dinner recently. Amazing food and service.
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  • Went for Sake and Umami Dinner recently. Amazing food and service!
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  • Ed your comments refer. On Fridays the hotel has an invite only pool party (weather permitting). Of course other guests can and do partake of the canapes. I had the ones in question and in my opinion it was a very creamy chicken liver mousse. If you were so perturbed why didnt you take it up with one of the at least two managers I saw circulating or call for one. Not neccesary going to a website first. And yes staff could be better trained.
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  • I visited Nobu this past weekend for dinner. Before we had dinner we were having drinks in the main bar area, waiters were walking around with various snacks. A waiter approached my friends and I and asked if I would like one of the canapés he was offering, I asked what it was and he told me it was chicken. I am a vegetarian but I eat a little free range chicken occasionally, I was really quite hungry so I took one of the canapés, it looked like chicken pate or something similar to me. After tasting one mouthful I knew instantly that is was NOT chicken pate, my friends confirmed that it was fois gras. I was absolutely DISGUSTED that (a) the restaurant even serves this dish and (b) that I was not told exactly what it is, I would NEVER ever have eaten this dish had I known what it was. Absolute incompetency on behalf of the restaurant. You would expect an establishment thats 5-star could at least bother to train their staff correctly so that they know what they are serving. Nevermind the discussion that we could have on the morality of serving this dish. I will not be back. This horrible experience was followed up with decidedly mediocre sushi at Nobu. You can find much better food elsewhere in Cape Town, and at much more reasonable prices too. Definitely wont be recommending this to anyone. Which is a pity because all my friends asked me to let them know how my Nobu dining experience was.
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  • I visited Nobu this past weekend for dinner. Before we had dinner we were having drinks in the main bar area, waiters were walking around with various snacks. A waiter approached my friends and I and asked if I would like one of the canapés he was offering, I asked what it was and he told me it was chicken. I am a vegetarian but I eat a little free range chicken occasionally, I was really quite hungry so I took one of the canapés, it looked like chicken pate or something similar to me. After tasting one mouthful I knew instantly that is was NOT chicken pate, my friends confirmed that it was fois gras. I was absolutely DISGUSTED that (a) the restaurant even serves this dish and (b) that I was not told exactly what it is, I would NEVER ever have eaten this dish had I known what it was. Absolute incompetency on behalf of the restaurant. You would expect an establishment thats 5-star could at least bother to train their staff correctly so that they know what they are serving. Nevermind the discussion that we could have on the morality of serving this dish. I will not be back. This horrible experience was followed up with decidedly mediocre sushi at Nobu. You can find much better food elsewhere in Cape Town, and at much more reasonable prices too. Definitely wont be recommending this to anyone. Which is a pity because all my friends asked me to let them know how my Nobu dining experience was.
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  • R295 for a sushi dinner consisting of 6 makis (avo), 5 Nigiri, and one tamago.What a laugh. See the online menu before even thinking of going there. Much better meals can be had at Willoughbys, Tank and Haiku.This restaurant should have been called Once Only!
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  • I wanted to share with you our very disappointment evening at Nobu. It is really one of the worst experiences so far in Cape Town. No value for money. No ambiance. Very cold. Feels like you are sitting at a Cafe Bar. The food came cold. I wrote a letter to complain. Vever received a reply. I think it is very expensive for what you are receiving. Nothing close to Nobu London or Hong Kong.
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  • The main issue with Nobu is the service - its the same in most of Cape Town. No matter how jazzy the place is and how good the food is, if the service is of an amateur nature then you have issues.I have been twice and have had the 7 course tasting menu which was delicious however on both occassions they messed up in the order, bringing me my dessert before my sushi - for example last night.The manager apologised and gave us plum wine which was awful and she described as smelling like cheap marzipan. They only need to go next door to Maze to see what real slick service is all about.For almost R1500 for 2 with wine you expect a sharp slick machine which this isnt. Probably why its only been 50% full both times I have been.
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  • I was blown away by the food at Nobu. I do believe that the decor and lighting is a bit odd and cold, however they more than made up for it with the food and the service we received from our waiter. I am surprised to see that Willoughbys gets a better review than Nobu on this site. They are in completely different leagues as far as food is concerned. I do think that Willoughbys offers a more mainstream product and maybe that is why people like it. I think you have to go to Nobu in the right frame of mind. Its an opportunity to savour new flavours and produce. Dont go there simply to try and find the same sushi that you get from your local. Ask your waiter for advice and try the specialities. It is an expensive experience, but I can assure you that it is a steal compared to what you would pay in London or New York.
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  • Ultimately a disappointing experience - from the hotel kitsch interior to so-so service and good, but not fantastic food.Waiters brainwashed to up and over-sell ad nauseam. No chance is missed to bring you another bottle of water at R70 a pop.Youll struggle to leave the restaurant for less than R500 a head. I was expecting to part with even more, but I found no joy in paying the bill. Some dishes are exquisite, others very ordinary especially for such a high profile restaurant.If you have the money to burn go see what Nobu has to offer. Id rather stick to restaurants such as La Colombe, Jardine and Carne.
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  • I tried to make a reservation for Sunday evening and was told that the restaurant was full. The hostess assured me that a manager would call me - I am still waiting. A friend called a few hours later and got a reservation, no problem.From the time of our arrival everyone at the One and Only seemed extremely confused. Drinks at the bar took forever. We all had very high expectations as we were about to dine at Nobu, rated one of the best Asian restaurants in the world. The service was shocking to non-existant. We had to request the menus and wine list everytime we needed to place an order. Being a larger table we were told that it would be best to order a variety of items in order to taste as much as possible. The food came in drips and drabs, about 25min gap from the arrival of the first starter to the last.With ordering mains mine arrived way before the rest, everyone was done tasting my food by the time the next dish arrived. The food was bland and tasteless to say the least. I am a great fan of Japanese food and have had way better food at Kyoto Garden Sushi, Wakame and Haiku. None of the food was seasoned. We knew that it was not going to be cheap, but therefore expected a superior product. The food was below average.We all agreed that the asparagus skewers were the best dish and surprisingly the desserts were quite good.I really expected a restaurant with a higher standard of service and amazing food as the Nobu recipe has been tried and tested. I know the restaurant is new, but surely they have done this before? Do not think that any of us will be back soon!
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  • Nobu lives up to the hype with amazing food, including world-class sushi and other specialties like melt-in-your-mouth new style salmon sashimi with sesame seeds in miso. The wine list was good too. Unfortunately cant comment on prices as I went there for the opening and was invited to join a table of 8 by some finance kingpin so I never saw the menu, but got to taste every fish dish on Nobus menu. The sushi was sublime, the seared stuff less mind blowing and the cooked stuff, tempura etc. was more on the above average side, but overall great gastronomic experience. Again service was irrelevant as the food just kept on coming, and drinks we bought by the bottle, so Im yet to experience Nobu as a regular patron. The décor was a little underwhelming, but I guess that is not necessarily Nobus fault. The entire hotels main decor is more on the dreary and bland side, the origami light fixture is a fantastic idea, and was meant to be an imposing feature, but the ceilings are so high, double volume, the impression is lost and it almost goes unnoticed. But I will be returning to Nobu.
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  • As a sushi/fusion fanatic I have tried them all - including Nobu and Zuma in London (as recently as 2 weeks ago). Nobu at the One & Only is super special - my best dining experience in Cape Town. I am going back again tonight. At last we have a really stylish venue in Cape Town with great food, fantastic service and charming reception with a touch of class. Has my vote. Long may it last.
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  • I became a bona fide sushi addict while living overseas and was extremely excited to try out Nobu. I went in with high expectations of creative and fresh sushi. I was also looking forward to a superior level of service and ambiance that one would expect from a restaurant within the most expensive hotel in Cape Town. I walked away very happy with the sushi, but sorely disappointed in the service.Several of the people I dined with ordered the seven course tasting menu for R550 a person (I went with straight sushi). The tasting menu was presented as a “surprise” with no indication of what was included, simply that the dishes were the chef’s specialties. In theory, this sounds like fun. However, the dishes were not described even as they appeared at the table - unless my companions asked what they were eating. Though I was not having the seven course menu, I was consistently served the tasting menu plates and had to correct the waiters almost every time a course came out. The timing of the seven course menu was atrocious… several plates were brought out before the previous course’s plates had been cleared and even once when some people were still eating the previous course! After the marathon of the first six courses, we waited for about 30 minutes for dessert to appear, and then another 20 minute wait for coffee. Overall, I was a bit disappointed. I do realise that this is a new restaurant, but I would have expected a stronger focus on training prior to the doors opening with Nobu’s international experience. My ordering advice, stick with the raw stuff… most of the cooked dishes were disappointing (dry and overcooked). If you are looking for great sushi and are willing to pay for it, Nobu has it. However, for the prices that they are charging, the service is dismal. Will I go back? Probably… but with far lower expectations. It’s just all about the sushi.
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  • Just tried it last night...What can I say...Its as good as I expected !For once, a real expression of Japanese cuisine, far away from mayo and biltong filled sushi...My wife had the Omakase menu (tasting menu, 7 courses), while I tempted to try as many things as I could on the menu.Fish is really fresh, sashimi slices are as they should be, perfectly cut. Tempura is nicely done, light and crispy, not the nugget/fritters were used to in South Africa....Highlights for me , The Tiratido of white fish (a carpaccio of yellowtail with a bit of coriander and plum chili) and the tartar with caviar (real caviar..!) with ponzu sauce...Fresh, balanced. The seared beef with shitake was great, while the salmon broiled in miso was a bit overcooked.To finish, a great Japanese restaurant. You can go there for sushi, but please, try other specialties.My only regret , The music was far too loud, and we had to raise our voices to have a normal conversation. Our server, although very nice, was not very confident with either the composition of certain dishes, and with the service. Restaurant has been open for 2 days only, so she has time to improve then...Definitely in my top five, with La Colombe,...And by far the best Japanese restaurant in South Africa. Arigatô gozaimashita (thanks a lot)Laurent
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • StreetSmart affliated
  • Takeaways
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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