They say your sense of smell can take you back to the past… I’d like to argue that it could be a matter of taste, too. As I popped a crustacean into my mouth, I was irresistibly swept away on the tide of time back to coastal California. Malibu Country Mart, to be precise. That’s where I had my first serving of rock shrimp tempura; larger than popcorn-sized bites enlivened by a sauce made from chile mayonnaise with yuzu juice and shiitake. Thank you, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, for introducing me to your matchless culinary art more than 10 years ago -- aka my Pepperdine University times.
Rock Shrimp Tempura
Here I was, my husband sitting next to me, reminiscing about the good ol’ sorority days in the same namesake sushi palace… but all the way in the Philippines! This brand has since become a Hollywood mainstay and spawned a global empire that includes hotels. We have our very own here, Nobu hospitality that’s part of the luxury integrated casino resort, City of Dreams Manila.
December's Seasonal Seared Bigeye Tuna with Yuzu Jalapeño Miso and Ossetra Caviar
December's Seasonal Nobu-style Puto Bumbong
Back to date night… We chose the ‘Signature’ eight-course Omakase menu. Meaning I’ll leave it up to you, we entrusted Nobu Manila Head Chef, Mike de Jesus, to prepare a special tasting made with the freshest ingredients while upholding the core of Chef Matshisa’s original cuisine. Our other option was the ‘Seasonal’ -- if you’re craving for variety, this alternative changes periodically to incorporate available premium components.
White Fish Tiradito
We started our meal with what they call zensai, chef’s choice of a fresh vegetable seaweed hand roll to open up our palette. The formal first course was salmon tartar with wasabi soy, ossetra caviar and a green Japanese plum followed by Nobu assorted sushi. After that came the Nobu-style sashimi, now a hallmark of Matsuhisa’s distinct cooking, of white fish tiradito; a beautifully looking plate of layered fish, spice, yuzu juice, salt, and cilantro. Our last cold item was a seared tuna sashimi salad, another familiar one because of the Matsuhisa onion dressing. Next was my favorite rock shrimp tempura that I mentioned earlier, so iconic. To continue the hot dishes, a favorite of my college roommate and mine: black cod miso. The shortly forgotten taste of the white-fleshed fish marinated in sweet and savory miso is now revived in my memory. Before dessert, a bowl of akadashi soup with dashi, red miso, wakame and clams. To finish, we opened a bento box to find a molten lava chocolate cake and green tea ice-cream awaiting our consumption.
Nobu Assorted Sushi
Black Cod Miso
Chocolate Bento Box
NYE's Hamachi Jalapeño, Unagi Harumaki and Hotate Ratatouille
NYE's Toro Tartar with Ossetra Caviar and Wasabi Soy & Kumamoto Oyster with New York Salsa
NYE's Pan-seared Sea Bass with Truffle Dashi Broth and Seasonal Mushrooms
This December, Nobu Manila is celebrating the Christmas season with a holiday-inspired Omakase from the 1st to the 28th of the month. For New Years Eve, there’s an exclusive Omakase; they had me at hamachi jalapeño, toro tartar and truffled sea bass! See you there, perhaps?
Level 1 Nobu South Tower, City of Dreams Manila
Aseana Boulevard corner Macapagal Avenue
Brgy. Tambo, Paranaque City
Reservations:+632 800-8080 (24 hours)