Currently celebrating their 2nd birthday, Nuru is definitely one of the top restaurants in trendy down town Santa Catalina, attracting all sorts of clientele and various nationalities. It’s set in a beautiful old building and they’ve managed to use the original features in their design to give it a very unique and modern twist. High ceilings and warm lighting give the restaurant a really cosy feel; and the open kitchen allows you to see your food being plated up ready for service.
Comfortable seating and well thought out table spacing does allow for some privacy too. Modern art adorns the walls, the use of cooler colours and classic chandelier style lights give the place a very chilled and fashionable vibe. Gold star to the interior designer, that’s for sure.
There’s an upstairs room for more diners on busier nights (i.e. all summer long) and although sadly they’re not allowed to use the upstairs terrace due to it being a residential area, Chus the Head Chef tells me they have great plans to make it a working garden where they’ll be growing all sorts of herbs and edible flowers to complement their dishes further.
The staff always give a warm welcome; especially the Maitre D’ Ion (pronounced John) who manages to remember faces despite the hundreds of customers they must see. Multilingual wait staff are all smiles and super helpful with recommendations on food and drinks.
The wine list is extensive and caters for everyone. They have a vast list of international wines and champagnes for those special evenings too. And their sommelier or the fantastically helpful and knowledgeable Ion, are well placed to help you find just the right tipple. Their wines by the glass are also excellent so if you’re still not sure, start there…. And work your way through!
The menu at Nuru is well established; although Chus told me how they’re going to be introducing new specials depending on what excellent fish or cuts of meat they can secure throughout the summer, but don’t worry if you’re a Nuru regular – they WILL be maintaining their signature dishes like the famously belly busting Korean Barbeque Angus Rib which is cooked for a good 20 hours and just out of this world… Sorry I got distracted thinking about it. So, the starters at Nuru are big. Definitely great for sharing, and they do advise you not to attempt one per person, instead order a couple for the whole table to try. Prior to that you get a lovely complimentary amuse bouche and let’s face it, who doesn’t love having their bouche amused?
We chose a new one – the 5 spiced Asian Duck wings. We were not disappointed. Cooked perfectly and with a deliciously sticky sauce. And the best bit? What feels naughtier than eating with your hands when you’re in a high end restaurant… There’s a Asian influence across the dishes, with alternative sushis (Iberian pork) and sashimis of Thai seabass, mixed with some more traditional style dishes for mains, such as suckling pig, tenderloin, and cod. Definitely something for everyone on the menu. Next time I’m definitely keen to try their home smoked salmon… or maybe the gyozas?
For our mains we were in a meaty mood and quite honestly cannot come to Nuru without having the Korean Rib. Which was, as usual, epic. The tenderloin was cooked perfectly. The presentation of the dishes is second to none, and I enjoyed watching Chus plating up every single dish personally before it left the kitchen. There’s a man who takes a great pride in his work; Chus has been with Nuru since they opened and has loved watching the success grow, and he really enjoys the fact he can add his personal touch to every plate. Nuru’s name comes from the Swahili for light, vitality and new beginnings; their ethos is to source fresh, seasonal ingredients and use only the best. The team’s passion for creating and providing a really outstanding culinary experience shines through.
Sadly due to an impending food coma, we were unable to squeeze in a dessert… at this point I experienced a slight regret that I hadn’t chosen the marinated black cod as a lighter option… but only slight… On previous occasions we’ve been able to try the delicious peanut butter mousse, and the amazingly light coconut milk panacotta. I’d recommend going in a group so you can try as many dishes as possible. If you’re like me. Which is, basically, a bit greedy…
Nuru is an excellent place to have a special night out with friends, or partners. We look forward to watching it continue to evolve and anchor itself firmly in position as one of the best restaurants in the area.
Erica Lay www.elcrewco.com