Nuba, Bucharest – Spirited Asian Food
I’ve been a gourmand for most of my life, ever since I’ve discovered the whimsical and tasty world of food. Starting with Mediterranean cuisine after 3 months spent in Italy in my youth, going through French cuisine tested in my own kitchen, I’ve pretty much enjoyed most of the culinary treats out there. I can’t emphasise enough the Asian cuisine, though. It’s been one of my favourites, due to the richness of flavours, the story behind every dish, and the use of fresh ingredients.
I’ve had the pleasure to dine at Nuba, one of the best restaurants in Bucharest, where the spirited Asian food is at the peak of its taste. Hand-crafted from scratch, made with the highest quality ingredients, the food is using fresh, locally grown produce, introducing a new level of Asian cuisine.
The restaurant is located at 27 Grigore Gafencu, close to Herastrau Park and it is a melange of vibrant, elegant and whimsical decor, good taste mixed with urban accents, really modern and cosy at the same time. I absolutely adore the combination of red, grey and blue chairs, hardwood tables in contradiction with the concrete walls and industrial ceiling. The location can accommodate quite the party, with long tables for that wild group of friends, or more private spots, for romantic getaways.
The main character in this story is the food. Asian fusion cuisine, cooked to perfection by chef Catalin Petrescu, who imagined the menu as an homage to fresh ingredients, combined simply to taste the Japanese heritage. Starters include a mix of seafood and traditional Asian dishes, cooked to perfection, to open up your taste buds to a world of savory and aromatic cuisine.
It was really difficult to choose from the array of appetizers, but we ended up trying the octopus with chimichuri, scallops and foie gras miniburger and wagyu mini tacos. You can’t possibly have a better start to a delicious dinner, a better hint of how the rest of the dishes are going to be. Boasting with flavour, the appetizers where speaking about the essence of Asian cuisine: technique, taste, and composition. And a lot of soul into it.
The waiters are really helpful, attentive and fine connoisseurs of the entire menu. They recommended the mains, and we couldn’t have picked something better. Actually, I would’ve tasted the entire menu to be honest, everything sounded really impressive! We had the beef donburi and Chilean sea bass with risotto. The beef was superb, cooked just right, tender and flavourful, accompanied by wild mushroom and rise. You could feel the earthiness of the dish, transposing you into the depths of Japan. The fish was one of the best I’ve tried, and I declare myself a fish aficionado. Really light, seasoned to perfection, on a bed of risotto infused in coconut milk, this dish was the quintessence of traditional Asian cuisine mixed with modern cooking techniques.
Desserts were a big surprise. I normally don’t order dessert when I am at an Asian restaurant, mainly because I always thought French have the best desserts, so better not to mess with what I love. Little did I know I will fall in love with the best pistachio cream, black sand and raspberry sorbet in the world. I’ve always loved pistachio, but this dessert elevated the sweetness and crisp taste I though I knew. We’ve also had a delicious cheesecake, a chocolate mousse with salted caramel, as well as the best pavlova with vanilla and strawberries. The perfect ending to a perfect dinner.
Nuba is about taking the Asian roots and traditions and adapting them to the modern cuisine. Always in search of perfection, the chef at Nuba is adding a personal twist, but always keeping a natural flavour and texture. If you want to taste one of the best Asian fusion food in Bucharest, Nuba is the right place. I can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu!