Nobu, Doha

For the uninitiated, the upmarket Japanese chain came about after Robert De Niro took a liking to chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s self-titled “Matsuhisa” restaurant. Based in LA it was apparently filled with the who’s who of Hollywood most nights it was that good. Now in 48 locations around the globe, carrying such esteem, I had to pay a visit on a recent layover in Doha.

Location

If you aren’t already in West Bay, head for Four Seasons Doha. Despite what the hotel would have you believe Nobu isn’t actually part of Four Season, it stands on its own at the end of a harbour.

Opening TimesMonday to Sunday 18:30 – 01:00
Dress CodeSmart casual, if in doubt it’s fine dining so dress accordingly.

Reservations

Reservations are a double-edged sword, very easy to make either through Open Table or by emailing them. The flip side being because booking is so easy, it’s often almost fully booked. A good hotel/credit card concierge may be able to open something up for you though.

If you are in a group of 5+, try and reserve a table on the rooftop terrace. There are a few tables for 4 or less but they’re almost impossible to get. Whilst not officially part of the restaurant, they can provide food to the tables.

Pre Dining

I would advise arriving early as the pre dining experience is great. You have a choice between the bar area as pictured above with plenty of comfy sofas and seats. Or if you’re not too bothered about air conditioning you have the rooftop terrace pictured below.

If you are willing to forgo the aircon and comfy seats before your meal, the rooftop terrace does reward you in troves. The pre 20:00 tranquil vibes looking out to sea as it crashes against the harbour wall in the mid 20 ° heat. You could be mistaken into believing you’re in a coastal town in Europe.

Both have the inherent relaxing vibe early on in the evening but as the night progresses the tempo picks up and the tranquillity wanes.

Dining Area

Split into 2 the main dining area which is, shall we say, considerable in size? Tall double-height ceilings blended with fabrics and mini orb lights give the feeling of grandeur.

Like in any Japanese kitchen, chefs take unequivocal pride in their work so it is typical that you can see right in and watch them work their magic whilst dining.

For me though, it had to be alfresco. A word the Italians and Spanish refer to for cool and fresh, quite the contrary when it’s 27°. I’m more than willing to forgo the air conditioning for everything that comes with dining on the alfresco terrace. The stunning view looking back over Doha, the sound the waves make crashing against the rocks, the slightly dimmer lighting. It all adds up to a mesmerising feeling and that’s before food is served.

Dining

For me, the starter has to be edamame beans. You see my mam and dad have an allotment and grow most, if not all of their own veg, to a very high standard may I add.

Now I’ve handpicked edamame beans and within 30 mins been eating them so know how good they should taste. I can categorically say they are the best edamame beans I’ve been served and I think if I was dining with the parent’s they’d say the same. Served warm with a healthy sprinkling of rock salt. The texture was incredible, firm enough to remove from the pod with your teeth but so soft and smooth when you bite in. I think out of the bunch there’s maybe 2 that were difficult to remove, quality consistency.

“The moment sports fans from around the world have all been waiting for”, the show stopper, grade A5 Japanese Wagyu beef! (A good read about the grading system here). Flambe’d, because who doesn’t like a bit of theatrics with their meal.

Served with 2 sauces, as much as I’d love to tell you what they were, I haven’t a clue. They were pushed straight to the back. I was there for 1 reason only so why add a sauce that will no doubt do a disservice to the meat?

150 grams of the best meat you’ll eat. Running at £1,250 per kilo I’d certainly consider it a treat and what a treat it was. As you’d expect, it was perfect, from the seasoning through the slightly crunchy outer to the butter smooth juicy centre. Cooked to what I would describe as medium (the drawback to the theatrics I suppose) the flavour was next level. It’s nice to have meat of such high quality, almost dissolving in your mouth like cream.

Unfortunately, that was that and although consuming barely any food it was perfect.

If you’re wanting to leave feeling full either take upwards of £700 per person or go to Five Guys. You’re paying for quality and with a £280 tab to clear, there was no hesitation or regret. Now to route some more flights via Doha…

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