In the world of contemporary Japanese dining, Chef Nobu Matsuhisu without Robert De Niro is per his namesake, just Matsuhisa and what a delightful treat it was to find him nestled in a craggy and exclusive bay on the Athens Riviera, standing apart on the Westin Astir Palace 5* resort (set to be closed for extensive refurbishments in 2015). It's pretty fair to say that I'm a seasoned traveller and this is definitely one of the most ambient dinner spots I've ever been fortunate enough to enjoy - a truly remarkable summer dining option.
Having checked in for a very impromptu short stay, my friend and I ogled at the spot where Matsuhisa lay, relieved to discover that it was infact, not a posh villa or an exclusive private home (aka untouchable to the likes of us). We were then reliably informed that a tasting menu would set us back a meagre €45 per person, so without hesitation we booked ourselves a table at a very respectably Greek dining time of 21:00. Lathered in aftersun and having swapped out the barefoot hobo look for a pair of sandals and maxi dress, I was probably falling a little short on the swanky dining dress code, but who cares when the view hits you like a bear-hug from the BFG (Big Friendly Giant for those of you who are not old enough to remember the genius of Roald Dahl).
Welcomed by the Japanese "irasshaimase," we were shown to our seats and promptly ordered an aperitif before realising that the €45 tasting menu was infact closer to €80pp (unless you get in there before 20:30, in which case the Summer Omakase menu is all yours for €55pp). The food was delicious, albeit a little too salty [even] for me, and the presentation was flawless (no doubt to match the sublime backdrop), but I'm afraid the menu was so poorly thought out - every dish was almost the same! I am an avid fan of a tasting menu in restaurants where I'm likely to get a call from the bank after paying - they should comprise of delectable rations, enough to sample the best of a complete and salacious menu, but instead here, we just got given nice food six times over!
I would have happily paid the near €100 price tag (including drinks) had it lived up to expectations. Instead of mouthwatering perfection though, I was left deflated and poor! Shame. Still an epic setting though...
Follow on Twitter and Facebook