Israeli chef new Japanese restaurant is impressive in food and presentation

Moshe Segev, renowned Israeli chef, has opened his eleventh restaurant: a Japanese establishment where the presentation is almost as important as the food - Nihon Nu Ba

Dish at Nihon Nu Ba (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dish at Nihon Nu Ba
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Moshe Segev, renowned Israeli chef, has opened his eleventh restaurant, and the second which is kosher – a third, in Beersheba, fell victim to Corona – and this one is something special: a Japanese establishment where the presentation is almost as important as the food. Dining at Nihon Nu Ba is a fascinating visual as well as culinary experience.

The place is huge, glittering and ultra-modern. The designer, Guy Sirotta, who has worked extensively with Segev, says he was inspired by the design of the hottest places in Tokyo and New York.

Nothing matches. The light fittings and chandeliers are all different, the serving dishes too. A huge bar runs the whole length of the space, and in the open kitchen chefs and sous-chefs beaver away for all to see.

Greeted by the great chef himself, he insisted we try one of his cocktails. We are personally not mad about these drinks as they usually pack a large amount of sugar, and a small amount of alcohol, but as they were an important part of the menu we agreed to try a couple.

These were orange-juice based and might have contained some yuzu. They looked like miniature gardens, with a prolific number of leaves and flowers added to the drink. For someone with a sweet tooth drinking one would be bliss. We took the odd sip and wondered if the flowers were edible (NIS 46-48).

 Coconut mousse at Nihon Nu Ba (credit: Courtesy) Coconut mousse at Nihon Nu Ba (credit: Courtesy)

Several platters of food arrived at our table as this is considered a sharing menu where diners try a bit of everything.

There was a bean sprout salad with a sweet dressing, topped with cashew nuts and nigella seeds which made for a good opening salvo (NIS 58). Main courses arrived simultaneously. My companion liked the sound of beef curry and was surprised to discover that the tender chunks of filet steak in a mildly hot curry sauce arrived with noodles rather than the more usual rice (NIS 59). The vegetables in the curry included bok choy and green beans and were very tasty although it didn’t do what we expect from a curry – make you sweat, sorry and perspire.

Eight sushi rolls then turned up, so aesthetic that it seemed a pity to demolish them. The smoked salmon used was top quality, the wasabi and ginger added a spicy kick – but at the end of the day, the soy sauce always wins. Douse your sushi in that and you have an unforgettable mix of flavors (NIS 49).

Yet another dish that came to our table was a salad of julienned vegetables – carrot, red cabbage and green peppers among others. Crunchy tempura batter additions turned out to be empty which was rather strange.

Finally, in the savory department, another platter, this time of stir-fried chicken pieces on a bed of mashed sweet potato topped with crispy mini chips, garnished with yet another flower. Warm sweet potato is probably the ultimate comfort food, and the dish was one of the best (NIS 89).

Bracing ourselves for a dessert after this culinary tour de force, we chose caramel mousse and coconut mousse (all desserts NIS 44). The caramel mousse arrived at our table perched on two tall candlesticks, taking the presentation to risible heights. but it tasted great, almost dairy. The coconut mousse was also very light, not too sweet and garnished with dollops of tart lemon cream.

Segev came by again and took a selfie with our camera. He’s very charming and, not surprisingly, full of confidence. For a culinary experience which will stay with you for a long time, do try Segev’s latest.

Nihon Nu-Ba.Totseret HaArets 3,Petah Tikva.073 2665555, Ext.2.Sun. – Thurs. 12 -23h.Saturday – 19.30 -23h.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.