The facade of the newly renovated Nobu Hotel rises out of the backstreets of Shoreditch, striking a perfect chord between elegance and modernity. The impressive exterior, complete with private balconies emerging from the slanted front, gives a taste of what’s to come. Ideally located between the creative agencies of Shoreditch and the institutions of The City, Nobu Hotel provides a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of London, and a masterclass in design to boot.
When you walk through the vaulted doors of Nobu Hotel, you know you’re somewhere special. The reception alone is a delight for the senses; their signature Lemon Ginger scent wafts through the air, gently lit by premium Marset fixtures, while Thonet seating furnishes the space, creating a true haven from the busy London streets. The service is impeccable from start to finish, both helpful and professional. Don’t be surprised when you’re offered a cleansing face towel – if there’s a word the Nobu brand understands well, it’s ‘luxury’.
As you venture further into the depths of Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, the flawless interplay between polished concrete and neutral colours with distinctive Asian design pieces continue to wow. The hotel rooms are impressively spacious, complete with a super king bed and a free-standing bath. Those lucky enough to have a balcony can enjoy the views and London air. The rooms also feature cultural touches which speak to the brand’s roots: Japanese tea sets, Yukata robes and yoga mats – everything you need for a restful stay. Finally, the simplicity of the bathrooms and the brass fittings on that luxurious free-standing bath allow natural light to dominate. The complimentary Natura Bissé toiletries complete the effect (I can personally vouch for the Rosemary and White Tea Bath Gel).
It quickly becomes apparent that Nobu Hotel offers much more than just an interesting interior: amenities including a spa (treatment rooms and a sauna), a 24 hour gym, and the main restaurant and NAMI Bar (well stocked with Japanese whisky and sake). After tiring of sampling the world class food, and luxuriating in my suite, I booked myself in for a Carboxi Express facial. It was a rejuvenating experience, in typically serene surroundings. This impressive range of facilities draws an eclectic mix in from the streets of Shoreditch – think creative types sitting shoulder to shoulder with businessmen from The City. It is clear where Nobu Hotel Shoreditch finds its common thread: an appreciation for the finer things, in some of the coolest surroundings that London has to offer.
Set two levels below ground (the intervening floor houses the Spa), the main restaurant is the centrepiece of the Nobu experience. The grand dining room, with its warm lighting and touches of Japanese decor, is impressively intimate. The open kitchen and sushi counter sit opposite the stunning NAMI bar, which supplies an extensive cocktail menu and a notable collection of Japanese whiskies, among other things. Executive Head Chef Sandi Richmond, previously of Nobu Istanbul, reopened the kitchen recently after an extensive two-year renovation of the hotel. The staff have clearly taken this in their stride: the service is confident and friendly, and the cooking as accomplished as any of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurants worldwide.
We began the evening with a cocktail: I tried one of the best dry martinis London has to offer, and my dining companion enjoyed a summery Italian Haze (think negroni, with Campari replaced with a blood orange soda). Spicy salmon and miso tacos followed: the careful balance of sweet miso and heat made for an excellent few bites. A toro (tuna) and caviar tartare served with an unbelievably sweet Japanese peach was elegant and highlighted the great quality of the ingredients. Baby tiger shrimp tempura with three sauces (jalapeño, ponzu and a spicy sauce) was another high point – the shrimp were incredibly delicate and the jalapeño sauce showed off Chef Nobu’s Peruvian influences.
The restaurant boasts a wide selection of sake, but we opted for a lovely, apple-forward dry Riesling from Alsace to complement the sushi – we loved the soft-shell crab maki cut from a wide roll. Nobu is renowned for its disarmingly simple Black Cod Miso: a few days in a marinade of miso, mirin (a rice wine), sake and sugar, then finished in the oven. It was the best part of the meal, the rich cod flaking easily. We struggled to find room for dessert, but did try individual matcha (green tea) and mango mochi filled with ice cream, which were clearly of excellent quality. A wonderful way to conclude an evening showcasing some of the finest progressive Japanese cuisine available in London.
Rooms from £249 per night
10-50 Willow Street, London EC2A 4BH
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