For sushi-lovers, the Nobu Hotel brunch buffet is a must-try
MANILA, Philippines – Japanese food might not be the first thing that comes to mind when brunch is concerned, but Nobu's buffet spread of sashimi and fusion sushi dishes could change that.
Nobu Manila, located in Nobu Hotel in Parañaque, is one of the worldwide branches of celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa's restaurants. Like Chef's Nobu's other restaurants, the food at Nobu follows in the tradition of Japanese cuisine with Peruvian and local flavors mixed in.
"Depending on the location, [the restaurant] has specific indigenous ingredients or things that you can source locally that is infused into the food as well. In this [Manila's] case, things like calamansi, or local fish like lapu-lapu, the Manila clams, different things like that, vegetables as well," exlained Kenny Hernandez, the manager of Nobu Manila.
Kenny took us through the buffet on Sunday, May 15, starting with the cold dishes – sashimi, sushi, and salads.
Aside from the standard salmon and tuna sashimi, Nobu offered flounder and lapu-lapu sashimi as well. There was also a small crab chirashi bowl, and rolls like softshell crab with soy paper, spicy tuna, salmon avocado, and California maki.
The beginning of the sushi section is marked with a large tuna on ice. That day, chef Akihisa Kawai cut it up to the delight of regular customers and media guests. Some of the meat was then displayed at the sushi bar behind the cold dishes station.
Kenny said that cutting up the tuna – the particular fish that day came from General Santos City – happens regularly, either at the start or the middle of the buffet.
The stars of Nobu's sushi spread and the dishes that set the restaurant apart are their Nobu-inspired sashimi dishes.
Aside from the salmon karashi (Japanese mustard) su miso, tuna tataki (seared tuna) with cilantro dressing, and cha soba with yuzu (a type of citrus fruit) dressing, the yellowtail jalapeño is a must-try.
Nobu's yellowtail jalapeño – made of fresh yellowtail sashimi, serrano pepper, cilantro in a sauce of yuzu and soy sauce – is one of the restaurant's signature dishes that combines South American and Asian floavors, created by chef Nobu himself when he opened a sushi bar in Peru.
On a bed of ice in the middle of the cold dishes section, there are fresh oysters from New Zealand, Australia, or France, depending on the season. Top them with the usual lemon or chili sauce, or some of Nobu's fusion salsas.
After the sushi, there are hot dishes to enjoy too, including juicy slow-cooked ribs with gochujang sauce (a Korean chili sauce).
You can also grab a bowl of soup, which changes regularly. On the day we visited, there was a traditional miso soup, but they've also had sinigang cooked with yuzu and miso instead of the usual tamarind.
There are also two other stations separate from the hot food section – the kushiyaki station and the carving station.
At the kushiyaki station, a chef grills skewers of chicken skin, chicken, baby octopus, squid, onion leeks, and eggplant. Diners also get a choice of 3 sauces – wasabi pepper, terriyaki, or anticucho, a type of sauce that comes with anticucho, skwered street food, in Peru.
The food at the carving station changes every Sunday, and on the day we visited, there was a baked Tasmanian Ocean trout, a large version of a dish chef Nobu made for people who don't eat raw fish.
The baked trout was topped with garlic, chives, ginger, sesame seeds, then seared and served with XO fried rice. The trout is seen on the menu as a sashimi dish too, according to Kenny, as a seared fish with the toppings.
In the past, Nobu has had a lechon at their carving station too, and for their Father's Day celebration in June, they're planning on having a whole leg of wagyu beef.
Like the changing carving station offering, there's a chance you won't see the same dishes mentioned when you visit. "A lot of things we're trying to update them, improve them, and see what really works and what doesn't work, and it's also rotation, so some things you might not see this time, you'll see next time," explained Kenny. "But the layout, the type of stations will stay the same, maybe just the proteins will change a little bit."
At the dessert section, there's a wide selection of bread, pastries, and cakes, plus a matcha white ganache chocolate fountain, for dipping strawberries and brownies.
Among the pastries and desserts are cherry mont blanc tartelettes, sweet red bean creme brulees, hazelnut steussels with yuzu cream and mango jelly, raspberry and mango sorbet, ice cream, and many more.
Have you tried Nobu Manila's brunch buffet? Let us know in the comments which of these dishes you want to try! – Rappler.com
Nobu Manila is located at Aseana Boulevard corner Macapagal Avenue Brgy Tambo, Paranaque City. Their Sunday brunch buffet runs from 11:30 am to 3 pm and costs P2,880++ with sodas, juices, mocktails, coffee, and tea, and P4,580++ with free-flowing Moet & Chandon, cocktails, wine and beer.