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It’s 20 years since London’s first Nobu launched on Park Lane and almost as long since Shoreditch became a destination with a ragtag of cooler-than-thou bars clustered around Old Street. Now the two worlds collide with the launch of the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. Come for quieter lunches and weekend brunches to appreciate the calm beauty of the design. A long staircase leads down to a dramatically high-ceilinged, concrete-lined space of glass walls and gauzy curtains, tricked out in 90s neutrals and with a four-stepped terrace leading off the large bar area for when it’s not raining. Inside, it’s raining men: we spotted a total of four female diners hidden among the big tables of City boys of every age group. A menu that’s about half the size of Nobu London’s nods towards time-pressed City diners and touts the brand’s greatest hits, from black cod with miso to yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. Springy rock shrimp tempura encased in light batter and slicked in addictive creamy jalapeño sauce, and crisp tacos stuffed with lobster smeared in wasabi mayo, do the classics proud, while ‘Shoreditch specials’ include excellent pork belly with a beautifully balanced spicy miso caramel sauce. For pud, squidgy mochi cakes are perhaps more of an acquired taste, while a chocolate orb twice failed to melt on cue under its torrent of hot sauce. Cynics may carp that the arrival of one of the world’s foremost luxury lifestyle brands in EC2 shows how corporate the Shoreditch scene has become, but Square Mile diners will be thrilled to have somewhere on their doorstep with such a palpable frisson of global glamour.
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