When you think 'Nobu' - the Japanese restaurant bearing the name of its chef creator Matsuhisa Nobu - it may bring to mind shiny celebrities attending London's swanky Mayfair venue as much to be seen as for the sushi.

So we arrived at the firm's latest venture, a collaboration between Nobu, actor Robert De Niro, film producer Meir Teper and Australian businessman James Packer, wary we might find Hollywood style over city-stay substance.

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, it turns out, is super stylish - but the night away also left us feeling relaxed, well-fed and happy.

Turning a corner off Great Eastern Street after a 10 minute walk from Old Street station, the hotel rose, perhaps a little incrongruously amid the exposed brick of Shoreditch, like an ultra-modern ship, all concrete, glass and slick balconies.

Through a sliding tinted glass entrance, we were met by rattan screens and a lounge area with a calming grey and red colour-theme, melded with hip London-style concrete, subtle lighting and blinds featuring the work of local artists.

The greeting by reception was under-stated but warm, perfect following a hectic train journey and crammed tube ride.

The peaceful environment continued in the room. We were in a deluxe. Embracing the Japanese tradition of simple but high quality furnishings, there was a very comfortable king-sized bed and the TV was atop a gold-covered cabinet.

One of Nobu's 143 guest rooms

The luxurious gold fittings continued into the bathroom, which featured a walk-in shower and Natura Bisse products. With both a blind and a slatted door at the window, this was a room designed for relaxation.

There are 143 guest rooms in total, as well as seven suites, a meeting space, bar and 240-seat restaurant. Guests have free wifi and 24-hour room service.

An impressive selection of sushi and sashimi

The Food

In the basement, at the end of a grand back-lit staircase, lives the open-plan restaurant and bar where we were welcomed with a glass of Champagne.

This huge space, given natural light by the ceiling-height windows at one end,  is overseen by executive chef Greg Seregith. The menu features many of Nobu's classics as well as new additions.

We had the weekend brunch, with unlimited access to both a savoury and deserts buffet as well as dishes served straight from kitchen.

A back-lit staircase leads to the bar and restaurant

The food on offer is true to Nobu's signature style, which combines Japanese and South American flavours.

In our case, this included a mouth-watering selection of sushi and sashimi.

At the buffet, the chicken karaage was cooked to perfection, the Japanese stew was very tasty - and the salads were a refreshing way to start the meal.

The tiger prawns with Shisho tomato salsa and crispy sweet potato were beautifully cooked, while the jalapeno salmon brought the taste of the sea to Shoreditch.

The braised beef yaki Gyoza was melt-in-the-mouth.

The weekend buffet

The desert selection was both immense in quantity and and beautiful in its presentation.

Lemongrass and kaffir lime creme brulee, green tea tiramisu,  cheesecake with raspberry jelly, panatone bread and butter pudding, fruit and biscotti.

The staff were friendly and accomodating. One waiter did accidentally drop the contents of a plate across our table, but he did so with a charming apology.

The sake-stocked bar where you can enjoy a cocktail

Afterwards, we had tea in the sake-stocked bar area, looking out on to a Japanese garden.

The Spa

Featuring a pilates studio, treatment rooms and a gym, the spa was yet another relaxing and peaceful setting.

I was met by technician Iuliana Simion, who asked about my skin type and favourite scents.

The hotel had booked me in for 'The Cure' facial - chosen from a comprehensive menu of massages, treatments and facials - but Iuliana advised against this and instead directed me to the 'citrus essence' for my skin type.

A treatment room at the Nobu Hotel

Hands down the best facial I've ever had, the massage was on point, the vibe soothing and the results clear to see, and more importantly, feel. 

The treatment promised to 'recapture my skin's luminosity and firmness through a relaxing citrus aromatherapy experience' - and it actually did do just that.

This facial will set you back £130 for an hour. Pricey but as a luxury treat, arguably worth it.

By the time we checked out of Nobu, and after just one night away, we truly felt like we'd had a holiday.


Double rooms from £249, excluding breakfast (hot dishes from £11). Free Wi-Fi.

The brunch we had, which includes Family Style Dishes and unlimited access to Brunch and Dessert Bar Choice of one glass Sauvignon Blanc, Tinto Rioja or Veuve Clicquot was £55 a head.

Nobu, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, 10-50 Willow Street, London, EC2A 4BH, 020 7683 1200, nobuhotelshoreditch.com

Nobu's restaurant in the basement

What's around?

The Book Club is a short stroll.

A bar and eatery on Leonard Street, it's great for an evening drink or a light meal. On the menu are burgers, bangers and mash and Buddha bowls, all hovering around the £9.50 price mark.

The Mark Street Gardens are also nearby.

Created in the early 1980s, these gardens are great for a stroll. There's a pergola, lawns, a seating area and a memorial to a Sidney Smith who died in 1870. Not far from the City's Silicon Roundabout at Old Street and the busy Great Eastern Street.

Dennis Severs' House

This living museum in Folgate Street, Spitalfields was created by an artist who lived in the house in much the same way as its original occupants may have done in the 18th century. Visitors 'interrupt' a family of Huguenot silk weavers named Jervis.

As you move through the rooms - in total silence - you're left with the eery feeling someone's just left the room. Sometimes you can still hear them - or they may have left a meal half-eaten.