Crown Casio Complex
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
On a sunny winter’s afternoon, we stumbled into Nobu for a very late lunch. We turned up without a booking, and there was plenty of space. We got told (in the nicest possible way) that while we could stay as long as we liked, the kitchen was closing soon and we would need to order quickly.
Nobu is no newcomer to Melbourne’s restaurant scene. Described as the poor man’s Koko, it’s more casual than the later. You kind of feel okay showing up in your jeans. Albeit unconsciously, I’ve been ignoring it.
Inside, the decor is warm and welcoming, with neutral autumn tones. A very long bar along one side of the room looks like a great place for pre-drinks. There are also tables, booths, and private rooms for meals.
Unlike Maedaya, there isn’t really that authentic Japanese feeling to the place. When the staff say ‘Arigato’, you don’t quite believe them.
Speaking of the staff, they kind of left a little to be desired. While they were polite, they just seemed to forget we were there most of the time. They brought the wrong drinks once, and it took ten minutes to get someone’s attention to bring us the bill.
We ordered the tempura lunch and the bento box, and shared both dishes between the two of us. I really can’t go anywhere that offers a bento box without ordering it.
The food was good, and there was plenty to eat for the both of us. The tempura was just right. The bento box has a good selection of sushi and sashimi, along with the best miso I’ve had in a while.
Nobu is a great choice for vegetarians, with plenty of choice on the menu. You can also order small serves of most items, so if you feel like a mix to share, it’s easy.
Overall, I enjoyed the meal, and felt it provided good value for money. However, with so many other great Japanese choices in Melbourne, it’s hard to know if I would go back. Maybe if Koko is full.