Nobu Berkeley W1
REVIEWS, September 8, 2005
Overall Value
2.5
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
2.5
£104
  • Food
  • Service
  • Ambience

It’s old rich people who keep top restaurants going. Right? Not on the basis of a visit to Mayfair’s new £80-a-head Nobu Berkeley, where your reviewing team (average age 42) were very amongst the more senior citizens present.

Are we just getting on a bit? Did that explain why the noisy ‘cavern’ of a bar/holding area (there’s no booking for smaller parties) seemed a glamour-free zone? Is it why the waitress’s uniforms seemed a bit too tarty? Is it now the done thing for chaps in the gents to juggle a mobile in one hand and a Blackberry in the other as they answer nature’s call? Is it asking too much in a new, aspiring-to-be-A-list haunt to expect a table with a non-wobbling top?

Having complained about the table, we were found a seat at the sushi bar (where the full menu is also available), and we contemplated the David Collins interior in the first-floor dining room. Perhaps de Niro and pals just didn’t want to pay for anything more than a slightly glossier Wagamama. Boy do they pack in those bare little wooden tables.

Mark Edwards, launch chef of the Park Lane original, was much in evidence, and the food – from a similar enormous and bewildering menu – did (to be fair) do justice to the lustrous reputation of what’s now quite a large (15 branches) international chain. The Japanese-with-a-latin-twist dishes sizzled with flavour.

As ever, though, portions are dinky, and its easy to start obsessing on the price per mouthful. And – as the Mayfair original – it’s not as though the rest of experience offers much compensation. Or maybe we’re just too unhip to ‘get it’. Or perhaps we should have been delighted at how unstuffy top gastronomy has become’

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