Overlooking the southern banks of the Yarra River, Nobu Melbourne offers a stunning view inside and out. River stones suspended in mid air, cherry blossom adorned ceilings, burnished woods, and rich hues create an ambience of elegance and refinement.
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Nobu is one of the international success stories in the restaurant game, with Chef Nobu Matsuhisa supported by high-flyer owners Robert de Niro and film producer Meir Teper. The Melbourne version, mostly easily accessed from the Promenade at Crown, has the signature touches of all the others – lots of design features, lots of stone and wood textures, dim lighting and a world-class menu – that have both stars and wannabes spreading the word. Downstairs there's an excellent sushi bar, which effuses an air of glamour and mystery, while upstairs, where the windows allow a view of the river and promenade, there's a bar and a less formal menu.
The ambience suggests an aura of affluence, however it's possible to eat more modestly if you steer clear of Wagyu. The basis of the cooking is traditional Japanese with imaginative twists and international accents, such as the jalapeno chilli on kingfish sashimi, that provide a deliciously modern interpretation. Seafood is particularly fantastic, from the giant and beautifully fresh oysters with three sauces presented on a bed of ice, to the dense and flavourful, black cod miso marinated. The wood oven supplies a number of treats, from fillet of beef with a wasabi salsa to asparagus spears, neatly stacked and served with a spicy ponzu dressing. Drinks include some amazing martinis, excellent sake and a sublime international wine list.