A place to go and be seen is one of the taglines of the Nobu brand. And they deliver; it’s not uncommon to be swathing through the doors of the Berkeley Street Nobu only to be met by a beam of paparazzi flashbulbs and realise Kate Moss is behind you. The new Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch is set behind a frenetic main road, ever so slightly pulled back from the limelight. Purpose-built, the Herculean steel-and-concrete building is formidable. Passersby stop and gawk, take pictures and scratch their heads in wonder as to what the structure contains. Behind the sliding glass doors is a 143-bedroom hotel, slick Eastern-influenced spa and a 240-cover bar and restaurant. LocationNobu already has thriving hotels in Miami, Malibu, Ibiza and more. Minutes from Old Street, this property follows in a growing tradition of luxe meets louche populating London’s East end – started by the likes of Ace, The Curtain, The Hoxton and The Zetter.
Style The design, in particular the rooms and crepuscular hallways, has edge. It’s a conceit few others could pull off – Japanese minimalism meets the bristle of East London or downtown New York. The influences should chafe but work, perhaps due to the brand’s heritage, the distinct aesthetic and knowledge of Nobu’s Japanese founder Nobuyaki Matsuhisa and his long-time business partner Robert De Niro, a champion of urban authenticity. The rooms are small but full of textures, subtle patterns and low-hanging filament bulbs. The colour scheme throughout is predominately grey thanks to the exposed concrete walls and ashen furnishings, while the aureate sinks add a welcome touch of glamour. Dining Food is integral. Down a long stretch of stairs guests will reach the impressive basement restaurant. Despite being the bottom floor, the high ceilings and windowed terrace make the room light and inviting. And the caramel-coloured latticing throughout recalls its Japanese heritage. It remains a celeb haunt, the night your correspondent dined there Stanley Tucci was enjoying sushi and ceviche at the table across from us. Dinner has all the Nobu favourites – black miso cod and yellowtail basking in jalapeno. Breakfast is impeccable – the matcha waffle with chicken is completely off-the-wall and their play on a Benedict with crispy tofu, spinach, snow crab, shiso bearnaise and salmon egg is a delight. The newly launched brunch menu is equally impressive, offering a heaving buffet of sushi, sashimi and inviting desserts, paired with a beautifully executed set menu (that should be an oxymoron but thankfully here is not), including parmesan truffle rice toban and roasted pork belly served with a spicy ponzu sauce and in-house pickled daikon.
Spa The spa was just out of its wrapping when your correspondent visited. It includes a handful of minimalist treatment rooms and a curated menu of facials and massages – the signature being the Nobu Zen, a mixture of massage and stretching. Facilities will include a studio space – which is still in construction – in addition to the existing treatment rooms, steam and sauna and Technogym. In Short The bar and restaurant invite fun, the feel throughout is grown-up with a touch of edge and the prices – double rooms from £249 – are entirely reasonable in the current climate of hotels across the city. 10-50 Willow Street, London EC2A 4BH, United Kingdom. nobuhotelshoreditch.com