Nobu to wow lo­cals with Ja­panese-Peru­vian fu­sion

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Ju­dith Elen

NOBU Mat­suhisa was in Melbourne this past week over­see­ing the open­ing of Nobu Melbourne at River­side at Crown. Chat­ting with FoodDe­tec­tive ’ s col­league Graeme Blun­dell, the peri­patetic Mat­suhisa says of his $10 mil­lion ven­ture, in con­junc­tion with Aus­tralian busi­ness part­ner James Packer and in­vestors such as ac­tor Robert de Niro, ‘‘ I amhere for the long stay.’’

The Ja­pan-born Mat­suhisa has 19 restau­rants in 15 cities, and his trade­mark dishes in­clude ti­ra­dito Nobu-style (orig­i­nally a Peru­vian dish of briefly mar­i­nated, thin-sliced fish); yel­low­tail with jalapeno; squid pasta; and black cod with miso. Mat­suhisa says he has fallen in love with fresh Vic­to­rian and Tas­ma­nian pro­duce. ‘‘ Ev­ery day the fish sup­pli­ers have been bring­ing won­der­ful sam­ples to work with, such as sea urchins, abalone and Tas­ma­nian ocean trout. And the Vic­to­rian wagyu beef is beau­ti­ful.’’

He will not be rein­vent­ing his fa­mous cui­sine for Aus­tralian din­ers, how­ever.

‘‘ I do not like con­fu­sion,’’ he says. ‘‘ Ba­si­cally, we will be do­ing Nobu style.’’ That term refers to a mar­riage of classical Ja­panese tech­niques with the pun­gent tastes Mat­suhisa learned to love as a young sushi chef in Peru. ‘‘ I use a lot of truf­fles and olive oil but there is Ja­panese flavour in ev­ery dish,’’ says the man known as the world’s great­est cross­over chef.

It’s ob­vi­ous to De­tec­tive that Mat­suhisa’s Ja­panese-Peru­vian fu­sion is the blended cui­sine of the mo­ment, and the Travel& In­dul­gence team can’t wait to try his ‘‘ new­style sashimi’’. www.crowncasino.com; www.nobu­restau­rants.com.

AS if proof were needed that food is not be­ing left be­hind in the west, In­dul­gence reader Karen Gough, pro­pri­etor of Set­tlers Tav­ern coun­try pub in WA’s Mar­garet River, tells De­tec­tive how sorely she misses gen­uine Mex­i­can food, hav­ing lived in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia, where it’s read­ily avail­able. In re­sponse to De­tec­tive ’ s re­port last week of the Guz­man y Gomez open­ing in Syd­ney’s Bondi Junc­tion, Gough says it’s a chal­lenge get­ting au­then­tic in­gre­di­ents but the tav­ern has had real Baja-style soft tacos on the menu for more than a year. The corn tor­tillas are made fresh in Perth and cold-freighted to Mar­garet River. She claims some cus­tomers are ap­palled at not hav­ing card­board-crisp tacos but most are over the moon at try­ing the real thing. www.set­tler­stav­ern.com.

THE peo­ple at Greens Foods are bak­ing up a storm and are set to launch a spe­cial range of cup­cakes in sup­port of breast can­cer re­search. Greens will do­nate all prof­its from Pink Rib­bon Cup­cakes, aiming to raise more than $25,000 for the Na­tional Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion. De­tec­tive likes the sound of the bite-sized Pink Rib­bon Straw­berry Baby Cakes, dainty mouth­fuls that come with rosy frost­ing and rain­bow flower ic­ing sprin­kles. In two va­ri­eties at most su­per­mar­kets from Au­gust.

THAT most charm­ing of chefs, Elise Pas­coe, who re­cently sold her Elise Pas­coe In­ter­na­tional Cook­ing School at Jam­beroo on the NSW south coast, is about to set off with her hus­band John Kelly for a dream trip to Italy. To kick off her ex­tended so­journ in the land of pasta and parmi­giana, Pas­coe has been in­vited by Venice’s Ho­tel Cipri­ani to be spe­cial guest at a two-week cook­ing school. From the last week of Septem­ber, Bri­tain-based Michel Roux of the Wa­ter­side Inn at Bray, a 16th-cen­tury vil­lage by the River Thames, will be pre­sid­ing over the pots, in com­pany with an Ital­ian chef. www.hotel­cipri­ani.com.

THE owner and chef of fam­ily-run Dun­yazad restau­rant in Melbourne’s Bal­wyn North, Walid Talj, is hold­ing an Ex­otic Tastes of Le­banon cook­ing class on Au­gust 7 at the Queen Vic­to­ria Mar­ket Elec­trolux Cook­ing School (69 Vic­to­ria St). A tra­di­tional tabouleh, lamb fil­lets with pomegranate and halwa ice cream will fea­ture; the dishes sound in­trigu­ingly ex­otic but Talj says all can be repli­cated in home kitchens. Cost: $85. (03) 9320 5835.

EMILY Lyons of High Vale Bio-Dy­namic Or­chard at Pickering Brook in the Perth hills says there is ‘‘ a wide variety of or­ganic and bio­dy­namic ap­ples, pears, plums, cit­rus and ex­otic fruits and nuts’’ in the 18ha or­chard. Lyons wrote in re­sponse to Nigel Slater’s fea­ture on win­ter har­vests ( Travel& In­dul­gence , July 21-22); High Vale is open for tours from Novem­ber 1 to May 31, with hay rides for chil­dren. www.highvale.com.

NZ-BOUND trav­ellers should take note of a food and wine week­end on Au­gust 10-12 at Kauri Cliffs Lodge & Golf Course in the North­land re­gion. Peter Gago of Pen­folds will co-host the fes­tive week­end with award­win­ning chef Philip John­son from Bris­bane’s e’cco. High­lights in­clude a tu­tored wine tast­ing, a wine-matched de­gus­ta­tion din­ner show­cas­ing sig­na­ture dishes from e’cco, cook­ing class with John­son, op­tional golf tour­na­ment and Sun­day cham­pagne brunch. info@kau­ri­cliffs.com; www.kau­ri­cliffs.com.

CON­SID­ER­ING the de­bate on child obe­sity, fizzy drinks and un­healthy eat­ing habits, here’s some lunch­box food for thought. Seed­less wa­ter­melon — avail­able year-round, in­ex­pen­sive and nu­tri­tious — adds a splash of sunny colour and one cup con­tains just 203kj, 0.5g of fat and 10g of nat­u­ral sug­ars. This thirst-slak­ing fruit is also a fine source of vi­ta­min C. More facts and recipes: www.seed­less.com.au.

AUS­TRALIA’S own mas­ter and mistress of spices, Ian and El­iz­a­beth Hem­phill (of pre­mium pur­veyor Her­bie’s Spices) will be run­ning a mas­ter­class as part of Slow Food Bris­bane on Au­gust 18 fo­cused on three warm­ing recipes — veg­e­tar­ian sam­bar, Kuwaiti fish stew with black lime, and ba­nana pan­cakes— and hints on spic­ing up veg­eta­bles and fish. Be speedy: the class is lim­ited to 40. www.slow­food­bris­bane.com.

THE best col­lec­tive noun for a ta­ble of din­ers ( De­tec­tive , July 21-22)? Sug­ges­tions are flow­ing in. Stay tuned.

FIND of the week: De­tec­tive spy Nel­lie Blun­dell, fresh from sev­eral years work­ing in Lon­don, has alerted Travel&In­dul­gence to a blog, LRB, the Lon­don Re­view of Break­fasts. It is a very amus­ing re­view site of the best and worst break­fasts in the Eng­land cap­i­tal, de­signed in style and some­times pompous tone to ape the Lon­donRe­viewofBooks . Con­trib­u­tor names in­clude Ar­mand Crois­sant and, De­tec­tive ’ s favourite, A. A. Grill, a de­li­cious spoof on TheSun­dayTimes ’ s won­der­fully acer­bic food critic, A. A. Gill. DE­TEC­TIVE loves: The new Chef Inox Firenze cheese knife, 18/10 stain­less steel and look­ing like a mini-scim­i­tar. Stylish and ef­fec­tive for slic­ing that aged parmi­giana reg­giano. www.chefi­nox.com.au. DE­TEC­TIVE loathes: Weird, self-con­scious at­ti­tudes to lone din­ers. Why do we think of eat­ing in restau­rants as a cel­e­bra­tion? Peo­ple need to eat, whether they are in com­pany or not. One mag­a­zine re­cently ran a head­line about how to eat alone in a restau­rant with­out look­ing like a loser.

Top class: Mat­suhisa

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