Why is Nobu, a restaurant that is known the world over for its Japanese fare, inviting me to a ‘Taste of Peru’? I will admit this was the first thought I had when I received an invite from Crown to taste Peruvian cocktails and canapés. Then I did a bit of research on Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, whom we all know as simply Nobu, and discovered that whilst at his first job at a sushi restaurant in Tokyo a customer took him to Peru to open a restaurant. He spent the next three years there and it was from this very influential period that he began weaving Peruvian influences into his dishes and began creating what is now his signature style.
A ‘Taste of Peru’ at Crown’s Nobu pays homage to this early period of the chef’s career with a canapé menu that melds the flavours of South America with Japanese techniques matched to an exciting cocktail list.
The creativity and flair of Executive Chef Christopher Shane delivered a fitting tribute and some very tasty Peruvian style tapas. I particularly liked the Scallop and White fish Tiradito – fresh and light with hints of coriander and chilli, and the Grilled Scallops with Aji Amarilo Salsa – aji amarilo are chillies native to Peru. They are quite hot, which I like, but didn’t overpower the delicate scallop.
Equally pleasing were the cocktails. Not surprisingly we started with a Pisco Sour, after all it is the official drink of Peru. Pisco is a Peruvian grape brandy that tastes a bit like tequila. Balance is important in any good sour and Nobu’s version struck just the right chord.
When it comes to cocktails, my taste lies more toward the sour and bitter than the sugar sweet or creamy so the Machu Pichu Smash was my pick of the night. This fresh blend of Brazilian Sagatiba Pura Cachaça, Elderflower Cordial, Lemon Juice and fresh apples, is sour with just a little sweetness in it making it extremely refreshing and very delightful to drink.
A Taste of Peru is available at Nobu on Thursdays from 5pm. Tapas items range from $12 to $35 and the very generously sized cocktails are priced between $20 and $24. The handpicked Cocktail Flight of three ($35) is an excellent way to experience more of the selection.
Riverside at Crown Melbourne Australia
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank, VIC 3006
Phone: +61 3 9292 7879