Photos by Star Sabroso
Filipinos love to eat, and we love dining with family and friends, more so when eating something familiar, especially dishes ingrained in our culture. This has been one of the inspirations of the famous Nobu Restaurant in City of Dreams Manila in creating its Sunday Brunch offering.
Known for the delectable Japanese and Peruvian-inspired menu by celebrity Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Nobu Restaurant has inspired an image of good taste and quality in Manila. But buffet style dining has not really been among its offerings since it caters to a la carte menu that most foreign visitors enjoy. According to Nobu restaurant manager Kenny Hernandez, there’s only a few locations in the world that serve Nobu brunch and most of them are infused with the flavors of the locale.
The Nobu brunch offers over 50 dishes categorized in the Sushi station that showcases fresh local and imported fish; the Pastry station that welcomes the guests as they walk into the restaurant with its array of sweet desserts that can all be dripped and drizzled with the towering macha fountain; the Hot Dishes section where diners can partake of Shrimp in Spicy Garlic Sauce, Truffled Cabbage, Umami Marinated Chicken or Braised Short Rib with sautéed mushrooms; and the Teppanyaki station where guests can enjoy sticks of vegetables, meat and seafood cooked in an iron griddle.
Since it opened the Sunday Brunch end of last year, the menus have been changing every week, although Nobu signature dishes are always a staple. Guests can enjoy servings of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature dishes such as the Tuna Tataki in Cilantro Dressing, White Fish Tiradito, Wagyu Beef Taco, and Salmon Karashi Su Miso. Other dishes that will keep guests coming back are the Sea bass Jalapeño, Crispy Pork Belly in Spicy Miso and Okonomi Yaki. The changing dishes are inspired by local ingredients and dishes that the chefs infuse with Nobu flavors.
“We want people to come in and recognize some of the dishes,” explains head chef Michael de Jesus. “Nobu asked me not only to incorporate local dishes, but marry them in terms of style and the flavor profile. We create dishes that people can relate to, we added what we want when you go to a buffet while keeping it Nobu.”
Last Mother’s Day, the restaurant offered a Palabok in Nobu style which used Udon for the noodles and contained uni and shrimp stock for the sauce drizzled with bacon furikake instead of chicharon. They’re also experimenting on lechon, something Nobu fans will be shocked with but, hey, Pinoys are familiar with it and the resto is trying to incorporate Nobu sauces and marinate for the pork. So far, cooking is being outsourced in another restaurant but with strict guidelines on ingredients from Nobu chefs. Guests can enjoy the lechon with different sauces prepared in the restaurant like the Peruvian Anticuchos sauce made with garlic, onion, cilantro, vinegar, citrus and beer; Teriyaki Sauce; and Nobu lechon sauce made with secret ingredients but following the local techniques of using innards added with tonkatsu sauce.
Some local flair is added on dishes like Ensaladang talong with a smoky vinegar tosazu, the Shrimp Sinigang with miso and yozu – a Japanese citrus that makes the sour taste lighter than the local tamarind. They also serve the Pinoy breakfast staple which is tocino that uses sweet miso to get the sweet taste, but without the usual pink color locals are used to.
According to chef Michael, they are still experimenting on the different local vegetables that can be incorporated in the Nobu flavors. He particularly mentioned his interest in all the bahay kubo vegetables and is curious about how to use sigarilyas for his dishes. The brunch menu is always an exciting product from the talented kitchen staff. “Being part of the Nobu family, we are able to try new things and experiment a little bit. Chef Nobu has given us the freedom to be creative and try new things,” shares Hernandez. “Every location depending on where they are, they can source local ingredients, and sample the cuisine a little bit.”
Nobu Manila’s Sunday brunch is offered from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Family and friends can enjoy the interactive live stations for P2,880-plus inclusive of sodas, juices, mocktails, coffee and tea. If Sunday is more of a fun day and adults want to get a little bubble, you may opt to have the brunch with free flowing Moet & Chandon, a selection of Champagne cocktails, Bloody Marys, Mojitos, wines and beer, at P4,580-plus. Nobu offers 50 percent off for diners aged six to 12, with no charge for kids five years old and under.
Nobu Manila is open for breakfast and dinner daily, and is at the first level of Nobu Hotel Manila, which is the first Nobu Hotel in Asia.
For inquiries and reservations, call 800 8080 or email [email protected] or visit cityofdreams.com.ph.
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