This is the chronicle of an amazing experience: the one at the restaurant of Nonbe, in Belval. I usually tend to stay within the city borders for dinner, but this adventure has been definitely worth the 65 Euro cab drive back to the city.
Nonbe is located in Belval, 10 minutes’ walk from the railway station, in a pretty anonym area of residential buildings. There is a brasserie downstairs, which serves dishes a la carte, including sushi. The spaces of the brasserie are bright, with wide windows and a clean wood counter. There is also a small terrace on the back.
At the first floor, you have the gastronomique “kaiseki” restaurant. It is open from Wednesday to Saturday, only for dinner and only with reservation. They serve a seasonal fixed menu for all the table, with no modifications possible, but a choice between a main with fish or meat. The menu price is 115 Euro per person.
We got to the restaurant slightly before 7 pm and we were surprised to see the brasserie already animated. Thru the wooden, immaculate stairs, we have been taken by our lovely waiter to the upstairs room, which mainly overview the brasserie, but includes as well small semiprivate room like ours.
From there, it has been a crescendo. We had an aperitif maison, which was sake, crémant and yuzu. The dinner started with a sequel of minimal, but not too small, appetizers: I cannot mention one specifically as I loved them all. My friend and I were looking at each other, tasting every bite hoping the flavor was not leaving any time soon our mouth. Ingredients were amazingly fresh and the combination in every dish adventurous and surprising, with a level of interaction on our side, for example to decide if to add more or less sauce or more or less mustard to the tuna fish. I was amazed by the marinated egg yolk, combined with the avocado, probably because I could not expect a dish so simple to be so heavenly.
The main course was anticipated by a shiso granite. Palate perfectly cleaned and ready for next. As said, we had two choices: as meat, beef wagyu (which was mine) or, as fish, grilled sea bass.
The dinner was closed by dishes of the Japanese tradition (soup, rice with beans and pickles), which we were introduced like “less raffinate compare to the previous dishes but, indeed, proposed to show the real Japanese tradition”.
The variation of dessert finally was equally interesting: the white chocolate donuts was my favorite and we accompany the dish with a glass of plum sake, as we finished our bottle of Puligny-Montrachet.
At the end, with the coffee, we were proposed the astonishing list of Japanese wishy. When we put down our glass for the last time, we look at each other with almost tears in our eyes.
Nonbe has been an amazing experience: food-wise, to start with. Dishes were balanced, creative, prepared with outstanding raw materials. The service was absolutely awesome: they exceptionally open the room upstairs for us on a Tuesday night as I had a friend visiting and it was the only date we could go there. We felt spoiled. Timing of every courses was just perfect, and we felt full but not overladed at the end.
Nice things don’t often come as cheap, and including aperitivo, wine, sake and wishy we got almost to 230 Euro per person (Wine was a bit less than half of the bill), but, again, definitely worth, the de-tour and the spent.
Nonbe is probably not a restaurant for every evening, but if you celebrate something special and you love Japanese food, this is the place to book.
I might also visit the Brasserie sometime soon, but I was so impressed by the restaurant, that could be easier I wait for the autumn menu to go back there.
Just a funny note: there is a famous Italian movie where the main character is going to a party and every guest at the party goes to him and whisper, “go to the toilet!”. The reason was someone giving away drugs in the restroom. So, when my friend came back from the ladies when we arrived, and she whispered “go to the toilet” I couldn’t help but laugh as it reminded me that movie. I don’t want to spoil you the end in this case (but you will have a small hint in the gallery).