A Taste of Japan in Shoreditch: East London’s Nobu Hotel

London, Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch, Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, East London
Courtesy of Will Pryce
The exterior of Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, East London
The first Nobu hotel in the UK capital marries Japanese and East London aesthetics and is an extension of the hotel and restaurant portfolio headed by celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor and director Robert De Niro

Inside an eclectic unbalanced structure of cavernous boxes of various proportions is a dim-lit world the effortlessly combines East London edgy chic with the simplicity of Japanese design. Behind this intriguing façade of concrete, glass and steel beams is the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. It’s located on a quiet side road just off the busy street of Great Eastern known for its many bars, restaurants and creative agencies. A five-minute walk to Shoreditch High Street and just about 10-minutes by foot to Old Street, the hotel is ideally situated for a vibrant Shoreditch experience.

When you enter, you’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a tucked away secret nightclub – that is, if you arrive during the evening, as I did. Bar-goers aplenty, music emanated from the sub-level restaurant, a place that edges between a hip Tokyo eatery and a posh East London joint. The hotel was alive.


Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, Nobu Suite

I was whisked up the elevator to my room: a quaint deluxe room. Utilising the space well, every item here had a purpose. The hotel has 148 guestrooms all with minimalist interiors mirrored those one would easily find in an upscale hotel in Tokyo or Kyoto. Breathtaking simplistic immediately ignited feelings of respite from the bustling outdoors. There was a king-sized bed with a mini dining table and handsome ottomans near the wall – perfect for in-room dining that is available 24/7.

Touches of gold could be found throughout the room, such as on the bento box-like, gold-lacquered cabinet where you could find a television and a minibar. Another marvel are the floor-to-ceiling windows facing the street that come either covered in murals or by a separate slatted door. The bathrooms are something else. Done up in glamorous white marble except for the glorious gold-plated sink.


An interior view of a Nobu Suite at Nobu Hotel Shoreditch 

Instagrammers will find it irresistible. The room conjures up your eastern fantasies – a literal exotic escapade in East London. If you want more you can upgrade to higher level, more spacious rooms, which include a cosy love seat, or even higher up, the specialty suites that have their own kitchenettes, freestanding bathtubs and balconies overlooking the narrow street below. Don’t forget to wear your custom-made yukata robe or use the traditional Japanese tea set, both special in-room treats.


Hanami Spring Terrace at Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch

Nobu Shoreditch offers plenty more. There are several treatment rooms for a pampering session, a Pilates studio and Technogym, all designed according to Japanese aesthetics. For those desiring a cross-cultural dining experience, Nobu’s restaurant and event spaces are unparalleled in their design and food offerings. With space for up to 200 people, the interlocking spaces of Nobu Shoreditch are otherworldly and glamorous.

First you can head down the gold, backlit staircases as I did that evening to find the underground bar and restaurant, defined by its concrete walls, pillars and floors and emanating house music. The 10-seater sushi bar looks onto the open kitchen and is filled with various types of sake. This is classically cool Japan.      


Nobu Shoreditch bar and restaurant. Courtesy of Will Pryce

A quick look at the menu and those who appreciate fusion will be pleased. A blend of Japanese and South American classics, including an endless selection of sushi and sashimi, wagyu steaks, and of course, the Black Cod Den Miso, Nobu’s signature dish, that has lured guests from near and far since he started his culinary revolution, are all there to choose from.

Please don’t forge the dessert. Choose the bento box pudding that opens to reveal a succulent signature brownie inside with matcha ice cream. This Matsuhisa eatery is an intoxicating blend of east and west and north and south that entices already from the menu.


Afternoon tea at Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch 

If you wake up in time from your cocoon-like room where elements from Japonism reign supreme, be sure to venture downstairs where more culinary fusion awaits. Don’t miss the ‘Matsuhisa’ Benedict, a playful take on traditional English and eggs that incorporates instead crispy tofu, snow crab, salmon eggs, and shiso béarnaise. That was my preference each morning. There are also ‘matcha’ waffles and fried chicken for those (not me) who prefer to go on the heavy side.

If you’re female, you’ll like a contemporary geisha here. Empowered by the cool, smoky, dim-lit interiors with their upscale materials and glamorous edges. And if you’re male, this is where modern day warriors retreat, recharge and play elegantly and delightfully.

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, 10-50 Willow Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 4BH (+44 020 7683 1200); nobuhotelshoreditch.com


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London, Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch, Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, East London
Courtesy of Will Pryce
The exterior of Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, East London