Afternoon tea doesn’t have to be tied solely to the western taste and reflect the English tea tradition alone. We have learned this lesson at exceptional high teas in Bangkok – Authors’ Lounge afternoon tea and Erawan Tea Room afternoon tea. So, this time we skipped the scones again, and went for a Japanese Nobu afternoon tea, in the middle of Kuala Lumpur.
“Are we entering a top-secret institution?” were my thoughts before we reached the Kuala Lumpur Nobu restaurant. Entering the restaurant usually lacks x-ray check control, but it sure adds some James Bond sensations. Interesting start with this Nobu afternoon tea experience.
Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Chain
First thing first, let’s take a look at this Nobu restaurant. If you don’t know, Nobu is an international hotel and high-end Peruvian-Japanese-fusion restaurant chain. It all started back in 1987 when Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa opened his first restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. Celebrities were his regular guests and among them was also Robert De Niro, who invited him to New York, to set up a new restaurant. Partnership with Robert De Niro paid well for him. De Niro even offered him a role in the 1995 Martin Scorsese film – Casino.
Nobu had a very interesting career. His first restaurant was in Peru, and Peruvian influence is still here. Anyway, a few of his previous restaurants business gone bankrupt, and one restaurant even got caught on fire. On his rock bottom, he even thought about suicide. Ahhh, Japanese! However, he didn’t give up and today he and his partners own a successful hotel – restaurant empire. Their business is worldwide and Nobu restaurant Kuala Lumpur is only one of them.
Nobu Kuala Lumpur Ambiance
Nobu Kuala Lumpur is on the 56th floor of the third Petronas Tower. Yes, Petronas Twins has a special sister, Menara Tower. Important to realize is the city view from up here is spectacular. We could see our room in Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Lumpini Park and much more. Wait, is someone in our room? No, wrong room.
Bright wooden restaurant interior excites the wondering eye with elegance. Long sushi station, as a centerpiece and open kitchen concept on the left side. As can be seen, a complete Japanese style. Simple, functional and focused.
Up there is very peaceful, and to maintain the zen experience a few rules must apply. The most obvious is the Nobu restaurant dress code – Smart Casual. Less obvious but still significant is the children policy. Accompanied children are welcome when they are above the age of 12. To me, it sounds excellent – no yelling and running around! However, this rule is only for the weekdays and I love it!
Nobu Afternoon Tea Set
Guests can decide between the “Signature High Tea Set” or “Premium High Tea Set.” In this food review, you’ll get a sense of what to expect from both Nobu afternoon tea sets. Anyway, both signature and premium Nobu afternoon tea sets come in three steps. Beginning with the cold course, following the cooked one and ending with sweets. You can also add some extra dishes from a la cart, as we did. Ouu, about the tea. There is a free flow of fine green Japanese tea with every Nobu afternoon tea set. Kempai!
Nobu Restaurant Beverage Menu
When the drinks list is that extensive in unique drinks like this one, the decision is not simple. No way Ian and I could miss an opportunity to try something new, especially not at Nobu Restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, the complimentary Japanese green tea is delightful, but when you see their Nobu cocktail menu… After all, a good place to start is a Sake offer.
It varies from the exclusive premium Hokusetsu sakes to Nobu’s sake collection. Clearly, there are other spirits on the menu, but especially worth mentioning is the extensive Whisky selection. Even more noteworthy is the wine list that includes every taste and preference. Then there are the Nobu signature cocktails that got most of our attention. We opted for something sweet and refreshing.
Nobu Signature Cocktails
The one for Ian was For Gin Sake. He was eager to include Sake into his drink and given his Gin fondness, it was an easy call. For Gin Sake is a serious mixed drink, combining the Tanqueray gin and Sake. Seriousness gets refreshing twist by the Elderflower and Japanese mint leaf. Let’s say it is a distant cousin of Mojito, but it has more going on.
First, there is a large Japanese Mint leaf (ooba) that tastes very different than the mint I know from home. Besides the spearmint, it is kind of grassy with a hint of basil and anise. Initially For Gin Sake starts with perishable bitterness which leads to the clean taste. Refreshing and complex at the same time.
My addition to the Nobu afternoon tea set was the Nobu Soju Dragon cocktail. The main focus in this drink is the fine flavor of the dragon fruit suitably supported by the addition of elderflower and lemon. I also liked the finely diced dragon fruit meat, which here and there offered a bite and provided a texture.
Little pieces of fruit got an extra boost by the Nobu Soju and its velvety finish. (Soju is a Korean liquor, traditionally made from rice and it has a neutral taste, like vodka.) This cocktail is perfect in all aspects. Not to mention the Japanese mountain peach as a garnish, which also contributes some floral notes.
Nobu Afternoon Tea Food Review
Sky High Tea Cold Set: Signature High Tea Set
We loved the Salmon Tataki with Matsuhisa dressing. Besides the incredibly tender salmon, it was the whole combination that made me close my eyes and relish the moment. (Matsuhisa is a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, mustard, sugar, black pepper, onion, and oil). One might think that Matsuhisa dressing could be too strong, but not this one. Salmon on its own is strong in flavor, and here it got enhanced crisp from onion, radish, and algae.
One of our favorites looks like a rolled sponge cake at first, but the similarities end here. Basically is not even a cake, but a Japanese rolled omelet known as Tamagoyaki. Apart from the western style omelet, it differs in increased both, moisture and flavor.
Bulletproof example of how well Nobu restaurant combines traditional dishes with Peruvian ingredients is the Japanese yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno pepper. The buttery texture gets really well with citrus infused soya sauce and jalapeno fires up this bold bite. Thoughtfully measured jalapeno slice is there to reach the pleasant warming sensation in the mouth, nothing more. I’m still a rookie in the chili world and I loved it! Nevertheless, I’m proud to say that I ate jalapeno pepper.
Sky High Tea Cold Set: Premium High Tea Set
On the premium side of Nobu afternoon tea, we started with a tasty combination of soft salmon and toothsome Asian pear sprinkled with miso powder. Next, precious otoro tartare was treated right and made into a delectable small “cake” topped with fresh caviar. Thinly diced tuna belly only exposed its softness and included seasonings. Nothing substantial, just wasabi soy sauce seasoned with onion and garlic.
In tasty harmony was also the octopus with avocado – all well-tuned with diverse texture and fierce flavors. I loved the spicy Ponzu sauce full of warmth and zesty citruses at the same time. (Ponzu sauce is a classic Japanese condiment. Its ingredients are rice wine, rice vinegar, fish flakes, seaweed, and yuzu).
Sky High Tea Cooked Course: Signature High Tea Set
Japanese food is known as a healthy one for many reasons and snacking on algae is one habit I admire. With that in mind, I would gladly eat the whole bag of nori crackers we got for our Nobu afternoon tea. They were super crunchy and lovely seasoned. A different snack that triggered my senses was the crispy rice with smoked salmon. Fried crust protects the gooey inside that encourages chewing and mixing in the wasabi sour cream.
After that, it was time for a bamboo stick with notable chili heat and tender meat, chicken kushiyaki with teriyaki sauce – a Japanese classic. I don’t know how the chef pulled off the Alaskan red curry. It is incredible how I could still taste the lettuce at the bottom despite strong curry. Amazing!
Sky High Tea Cooked Course: Premium High Tea Set
On the premium Nobu high tea menu – seasonal mushrooms with a tangy marinade. I loved it all the way to the lasting aftertaste, full of warmth and citrus. It was a fantastic dish, but the following one is my winner, that is softshell crab with watermelon. The crab was perfect with crisp tempura batter and the juicy crab meat. Although watermelon was a real delicacy – madly delicious and unexpectedly meaty.
Talking about melons, I still have Japanese melon from Le Normandie @ Mandarin Oriental Bangkok in my mind… Unforgettable. Indeed, each dish of our Nobu afternoon tea was special. Always including quality ingredients with remarkable execution in both sets.
A Must Try at Nobu Restaurant – the a la Carte Addition
I know what you’re thinking; “you’ve eaten enough; there is no way you can eat more!” First of all, that’s my superpower. Secondly, Ian and I… Ouu look, sushi. How could we leave Nobu Kuala Lumpur restaurant without trying their sushi and signature risotto? After we consulted with the kind staff, the Chilean seabass also came to our focus as well.
Fish marinated in red miso paste for three days really sounded interesting. Righteously so, as it is soft as butter with remarkable in-depth taste. The sauce doesn’t overcome the fish, but rather compliment it. This seabass is exceptional! Another dish on the must-try list is Nobu style risotto with truffle oil, chives, and baby edamame. A playful addition to creamy risotto is tiny Edamame that holds a tasty juice inside the shell.
No matter what Nobu food have you tried, there is always some room for sushi. Seriously, you can’t leave Nobu Kuala Lumpur restaurant without stopping at the sushi station and try a few creations made by the sushi chef. By the way, the sushi chef here at Nobu Kuala Lumpur is a young, cool guy. However, he might be young, but his knife skills are insane.
We tried two different types of nigiri and uramaki, which is also known as California roll. They all came with freshly grated wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger. After all, it was too many condiments since I wanted to savor on the perfect Nobu sushi. Don’t get me wrong, soya sauce here at Nobu is premium, but sushi… I love all of them! Each had phenomenally tender, tasty protein and perfect rice.
My favorite nigiri was the toro with caviar on top and citrus sauce. It was a close call with yellowtail, topped with green onion, ginger and a few drops of Ponzu sauce. On the other hand, the shrimp tempura roll with sesame and asparagus was more comforting.
Nobu Afternoon Tea Sweets
After having so many exquisite dishes, we were ready for the sweet finale of this delicious Nobu afternoon tea. The fact that it contains some of the Japanese and international classics is just a bonus. The first one to go had to be the smooth soya ice cream with white chocolate coating. This ice cream bar tasted mild and had crunchy almonds in the chocolate coating.
Next on the menu was a Japanese classic with a gooey middle full of glutinous rice known as fried mochi. Crunch at the first bite came from the fried dough, which complimented the vanilla syrup. Besides the flavor, the silky vanilla syrup also blended well with desirable mochi chewiness.
Japanese touch reached fluffy tiramisu with matcha tea in all layers. Uniquely stimulative combination ticked all the boxes with or without a bouncy marshmallow on top. And so did the cheesecake with yuzu cream and caramelized yuzu peel. So delicious, so “oyshi”!
At Nobu Kuala Lumpur restaurant, is taken care also for those who avoid sugar and prefer savory desserts. Alternatives were the almond biscotti, black sesame pie, and seaweed churros – all well put together and enjoyable even for us with an intense sweet tooth. The only downside of this sweet side of the Nobu afternoon tea is, it ends. We would continue until we drop.
High tea is trendy and makeovers are more than welcome. Japanese afternoon tea here at Nobu Kuala Lumpur is a must try for all high tea lovers. No doubt! I guarantee that you won’t miss scones here. Nobu afternoon tea Kuala Lumpur is exceptional in all views. The food is delicious, with eye-catching presentation and Zen ambiance. The perfect addition might be also a la carte dish, like sushi. Not to mention the Nobu cocktails, which are a fantastic addition for this tasty Nobu afternoon tea.
It is official. We are a Nobu afternoon tea lovers and there is only a question which Nobu restaurant will be our next. Maybe Nobu Doha afternoon tea or closer to us, Nobu afternoon tea London?
High tea should be focused on tea selection. Here at Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Nobu afternoon tea comes with complimentary Japanese green tea. The tea is great, but I would rather have a choice of a few different Japanese teas. It is possible that they change the tea, according to the Nobu high tea set.
Price and Location
Price for Nobu afternoon tea set for two persons here at Nobu Kuala Lumpur vary. Signature high tea set will cost you around 28 USD, while the premium one comes at about 40 USD. On the other hand, cocktails are priced around 14 USD. In a case, you will try this exceptional Japanese high tea, here is a link to the location.
Nobu Afternoon Tea Review Card
- ATMOSPHERE - 9.2/109.2/10
- SERVICE - 9.5/109.5/10
- TEA SELECTION - 7.6/107.6/10
- PRESENTATION - 10/1010/10
- BITES - 10/1010/10
- VALUE - 9.5/109.5/10
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