Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nobu Berkeley, W1; Drinks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nobu Berkeley, W1; Drinks

Article excerpt


I lament these days, when dressing to the nines has been replaced, almost ubiquitously, by the casual, understated look. There is only a handful of haughty milieux at the cutting edge of the contemporary scene - The Wolseley springs to mind - where not wearing a serious fashion-house label is tantamount to sartorial suicide. The new Nobu Berkeley is one such.

The waitresses at this, the world's 15th and London's third outpost of the international sushi and glamour brand, look resplendent in their figure-hugging, split-to-the-thigh black dresses accoutred with gold cummerbunds and worryingly high footwear.

They look every inch as though they've just stepped off the catwalk, which is mildly disconcerting, given that you wouldn't ordinarily charge a catwalk model with the onerous task of moving a drink from one part of a room to another.

What these nice ladies are good at is shepherding you from the door to your seat in the lounge bar, which is a scenic firework display of unrestrained glamour and outrageously beautiful people. The bar is the place where potential diners are first ushered before being taken upstairs to the restaurant. Booking in the restaurant is only required for parties of more than six people and, if it is busy, which it will be, you can sit at the smart sushi bar surrounding an open kitchen.

When in the bar, Nobu's Specials list of cocktails will set you back [pounds sterling]10.50 a throw.

There are just a dozen on the list and, during the course of two visits, I managed to sample them all. They're good.

Extremely good, flavoursome drinks, but I prefer cocktails to taste of alcohol rather than fruit. The flavour of alcohol serves as a reminder to drink sensibly.

Sake, a drink native to Japan, brewed from rice like a beer rather than distilled like a spirit, is the house speciality. It is consumed like a wine but has a relatively high alcohol-by-volume content of 14 to 18 per cent, compared with wine's average of 12 per cent, but is significantly less than a spirit's 37.5 to 40 per cent.

It's difficult, if not almost impossible, for a mean-fisted Yorkshire lad like myself to comprehend why, or how, people eagerly part with up to [pounds sterling]140 for a half-litre of brewed rice, but this is clearly of no concern to the parvenus who drink at Nobu Berkeley. …

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