Tuesday 17 May 2011

On Exes, Marriage and Nobu

(Interior shot of Nobu - looking sleekly empty, so was obviously taken during the day when they are closed. At night, however, it's busy and buzzing and best you have a reservation.)

This morning I received an early morning wake-up call from my husband who was already at work. 'Morning love, 'he said, a smile in his voice, 'And best you tell **** ****** (insert name of ex-boyfriend) he can fuck right off.' You see, I'd left my gmail account open on his Blackberry, where the last email was from an old school (ok perhaps I'd kissed him at university as well) boyfriend. Now, to put that in context, that was almost 22 years ago ( If I take the university kiss into account), but I was secretly thrilled, not because Jacques is jealous, because in all honesty I know he's not, but because any reminder of any ex boyfriend, reminds you of who you used to be. In my case, inexperienced, insecure but slim.

It's been a week of remembering ex-boyfriends.

We had dinner with friends on Friday night. It was their 11 year wedding anniversary. And since we've taken to spending Christmas's and Old Year's Eve's with them, it seemed only right that we gatecrash their anniversary as well. So there we were with the divine Mr & Mrs M, having the most decadent dinner without a single simple carbohydrate passing our lips (wine and dessert don't count), at Nobu at the One & Only Cape Town .

Now the first time I went to Nobu was about 13 years ago while I was living in London and sort-of-dating an extremely unsuitable man. He was an older, very jaded, rather cruel man. But I was strangely attracted to him. Thankfully it didn't last long and I came to realize that there are two important things to look for in a partner. 1. Are they kind? 2. Do they make you laugh?
But anyway, getting back to Nobu at the Metropolitan Hotel, the Bullfrog -who-didn't-turn-into-a-prince, 1998 and me. As an aside, this all happened a couple of few years before Boris Becker immortalized that particular Nobu, by cosying up to a Russian model in a broom cupboard and being slapped by a paternity suit a while later. So the Bullfrog and I sat at the bar drinking sake, flirting outrageously (him) and pretending to be terribly sophisticated and worldly (me). But I cannot remember what we ate. Not for the life of me can I remember what we ate, but I can remember the bite of the wasabi and eating sushi for the first time and how out of place I felt. For I was neither a model and nor was I wearing black. It was a memorable evening for all the wrong reasons.

Whereas Friday night was memorable for all the right ones. Fine food, friendship and fidelity. I believe in marriage. I like being married. I like it when others people can find someone with whom they'd like to share the rest of their lives. I like celebrating the love and the laughter. And so we did. With glorious (South African, of course) bubbly, interesting wines and incredible food. Fresh beautiful sashimi, slightly seared new style sashimi, Peruvian-style beef skewers, a prawn tempura which boasted a featherlight batter and was surpassed only by the crab leg tempura with ama ponzu. A leafy lobster salad with the most delicate of lemon dressings. Chocolate fondant with green tea ice cream and a South African Malva pudding served with calpis (a Japanese uncarbonated soft drink, and no, I didn't know this before I googled the name) and pineapple ice-cream. The names of the rest of the dishes (and there were many) escape me, but not the tastes. I woke up the next morning, desperately wondering how soon our budget would allow us to go and dine there again.

Master chef Nobuyuki 'Nobu' Matsahisa's unique brand of restaurant is equally well suited to Cape Town as it is to any of the other world culinary capitals. Born in Japan, but having lived and worked in Peru, Nobu began to incorporate Southern American ingredients into traditional Japanese dishes so creating an individual style of cuisine; classical Japanese cuisine with a contemporary Peruvian twist. Diners at the various Nobu's dotted around the world have come to expect the same high standard of innovative Japanese cuisine with the addition of specific local flavours. And it works, it really does. While it is a high-end restaurant and can work out to be hugely expensive if you're not sensibly frugal with your selection - which of course we weren't on Anniversary Night, it really is something special.

And so as I sat in one of Nobu's booths in the company of those I loved, I spared a thought for the insecure 20-something girl that I once was. I wished I could have whispered in her ear that night, wished I could have told her that one cold Friday night in her future she's be sitting at another Nobu in another part of the world, surrounded by love. That she would be happy within herself, that she would be (relatively) comfortable in her own skin, that she would have a career that inspired her and that in that moment the dinner at Nobu with the exciting-but-unsuitable-older-man would serve as a reminder as to how far she'd come, and how blessed she's been.

Now the great news is that Nobu at the One & Only are offering a fabulous winter special, specially for us Frugalista's. A Five Course Set Menu for R299 which includes the likes of new style sashimi, their amazing rock shrimp, beef toban and the sushi roll of the day. Dessert is a choice of three options which thankfully includes the chocolate bento box. This offer is valid from the month the month of May right through till the end of August 2011.

Nobu at the One & Only Cape Town
Telephone: 021 431 4511
Email: restaurantreservations@oneandonlycapetown.com

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