This weekend played host to the monthly Nobu Unplugged at Nobu Berkeley Street. Nobu Unplugged is a Sunday evening event, when Berkeley Street opens the doors to its bar (and promptly screens them off again to create an intimate acoustic session), serves up some amazing bento boxes and delivers truly incredible vocalists (each handpicked by music producer Jake Gosling and manager John Woolf).
Sunday was my first experience of Nobu Unplugged and, in all honesty, I can say I was very pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t that I didn’t expect the evening to be good (I did), it was that I didn’t expect it to be this good. The food was incredible; six dishes prepared to the usual Nobu standard with delicate flavours and each dish complementing the next. For most, the bento box included: Black Cod Harumaki, Cauliflower Jalapeño, Sesame Beef with Cucumber Pickles, Tuna Sashimi Salad and Salmon Avocado and Vegetable Cut Rolls. For the vegans amongst us, Nobu stepped up to the plate and provided an equally varied and beautiful bento box, with tofu substitutions and an amazing asparagus starter (apologies for the picture quality of the bento box, lighting was not on our side…)
Now, what I really didn’t expect was to be knocked out of the park by the quality of the musicians. We were treated to acoustic sets by Tanika, JJ Rosa and Tyler James; all of whom were sensational. Special mention should also go to the vivacious Sarah Lamptey who was our brilliant host for the evening (follow Sarah on twitter @SarahLamptey). Tanika got the evening off to a soulful start with a set that achieved that oft-overused response of raising the hairs on the back of your neck. The tone of her voice was truly something special. If you are interested in hearing more of Tanika’s work, head to her website here where you can download her E.P. for free (track three “Good Bye” being akin to the music she performed at Nobu). Tanika can be found on twitter at @iamtanika.
We thought that Tanika would be a hard act to follow but next up was the incredibly talented JJ Rosa. Armed with her electric guitar and sultry voice, JJ Rosa delivered a more funky soul set with influences of the Doors, Nina Simone and Prince becoming immediately apparent. JJ Rosa is clearly at home on the stage and her live E.P. is available free, by “liking” her Facebook page here, with a studio version to follow shortly. Her twitter handle is @JJRosaOfficial.
The evening was concluded by Tyler James (possibly best known for his participation on the UK’s The Voice) who, with his distinctive voice (and incredible range), delivered a heartfelt set that was clearly popular with the audience. Tyler’s website is here and he can be followed on twitter @tylerjames777.
Nobu Unplugged is an exceptionally well thought out event, which is evidenced by your experience on the night. If you want to do something different in London, enjoy great food and listen to outstanding emerging musical talent in an intimate setting then this is the night for you. I am reliably informed that the quality of music is always this high; a view supported by the videos of previous performances on Nobu Unplugged’s You Tube channel here. You can follow Nobu Unplugged on twitter @NobuUnplugged and their website is here. Nobu Unplugged is taking a break over the summer so the next event is not until September. However, if this weekend was anything to go by it will be well worth the wait.
The facts: Tickets for Nobu Unplugged cost £50, which includes the music and bento box (but excludes drinks), booking details are on their website. The event is held in the ground floor bar at Nobu Berkeley Street, 15 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DY.