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Local inspiration, Japanese omakase & the new master at Nobu

Published in partnership with Jenny Handley of Gourmet Guide
6 September 2022

Nobu, which overlooks the scenic palm-lined canals in front of the One&Only Cape Town, recently welcomed their new head chef, Prajal Rana, to South Africa and their team. 

While he may be new in town, Prajal has been part of the Nobu kitchen and Kerzner family brand since 2009. After a decade spent tirelessly honing his skills and Japanese training, Prajal is a true Nobu master. 

Jenny Handley from Gourmet Guide dined at Nobu and met Chef Prajal as he took over the reins from former head chef Harald Hurtada. Here’s what Jenny had to say about her visit:

 “Over a glass of bubbly our wise decision of exploring the Omakase menu was made. Spicy chicken and Wagyu tacos and edamame beans kicked off the adventure. A trio of seabass, yellowtail and salmon cooked in olive oil, were light, different and delicious. Sushi is such a broad term for replicas of the real deal.”

“Here at Nobu the sushi is real, authentic and a representation of a craft that requires many years of perfection.” – Jenny

The perfect sushi – eel with avo, tempura crumb on the outside – was topped with spicy prawn and chilli threads. It was followed by my favourite spinach salad, which I often try to imitate at home. Parmesan, fried leek, dried miso on a bed of baby spinach with a ponzu and truffle oil dressing. Go on, try it…”

Chef Prajal is passionate about sourcing high-quality ingredients through local suppliers, markets and winemakers. As Jenny describes further on, Nobu’s signature attention to detail extends to their thoughtfully curated sake, cocktail and wine lists. 

 “As the delectable tempura kingklip with melon, coriander and Japanese chilli threads was served, sake entered the equation. Not just any sake…”

“Sommelier Grant Sondezi, who has been at Nobu for seven years, started his love affair with sake, then progressed to other wines.” – Jenny

“Instead of pairing the Chilean sea bass, add (with dashi ponzu, mushroom, truffle, tomato, citrus and asparagus) with what was recommended as a pairing, Grant served mine with a Pinot Noir, and a Chardonnay for my man. We proceeded to both defend our designated glass as the perfect pairing for the earthy, multi-dimensional dish. The spicy beef, seared with Peruvian ancho chilli, took its rightful place on the stage before the Japanese cheesecake arrived to seal the sweet deal.”

When asked about his source of inspiration, Prajal explained: “here in South Africa, there is an abundance of fresh vegetables and native fish that we can incorporate into the menu.” He went on to say, “it is a great opportunity to be creative with local products that support regional suppliers.” 

As for his goals, guest experience ranks above all else. Prajal explained how he, and the entire team at Nobu, simply want to create ever-lasting memories and give their guests an unforgettable dining experience to be remembered for a lifetime.

All that remains to say is welcome and irasshaimase, Chef Prajal. To book a table, and dining experience of a lifetime, please visit our website or download our app.

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Join Jenny Handley from Gourmet Guide on her journeys to discover flavour – both at home and away. From South Africa’s top-rated restaurants to local new spots, and from markets to Michelin-starred restaurants in all corners of the globe.


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