It wasn’t a secret that producer, actor and Academy Award-winner, Robert De Niro and master chef Nobu Matsuhisa, paid a visit for the opening of their upbeat restaurant, Nobu Doha last month. Edward Smith caught up with both stars for an insight on the long-awaited opening.
Is there anything you would like to tell to your fans in Doha about the much-anticipated restaurant?
Chef Nobu: So now we finally have the Nobu Doha! I’d like to introduce our staff and of course, our food with such a spectacular setting for the restaurant. What can I say? Introduce more of my food!
Robert De Niro: I’d just say: come, it’s good food!
Chef Nobu is this your first time in Qatar?
Chef Nobu: No, no. I’ve been here a couple of times before, maybe four times. We have restaurants in Dubai, so I jump on over here to check that everything is ok.
Since it’s not your first time here in Doha, what are your thoughts on Doha’s culinary scene?
Chef Nobu: I know very little about it. Every time I come here, it’s all about Nobu and re-grouping with the staff and making sure the project is heading accordingly.
It’s been a long-standing friendship between you both, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt about each other?
Chef Nobu: I learn from Robert all the time. He always has new and different ideas to mine – unique ones. If it’s an idea we like, we go on with it. I don’t know if he learns from me!
Robert de Niro: Not much!
It took four years for the birth of Nobu. What took so long?
Robert De Niro: It was four years since I pitched him the idea and for the restaurant to be ready. It took about a year to come up with the concept, build the restaurant and so forth. It was a logical amount of time for all the steps to get to the finishing point.
Robert, what made you jump into the restaurant business?
Robert De Niro: I created Tribeca Grill, and partnered with Drew Nieporent. He had a good restaurant at that time, probably a three-star one for New York standards in Tribeca film center. I thought he could be of help for Tribeca Grill.
Any plans of opening Hotel Nobu in the Middle East?
Robert De Niro: We are! In fact in Riyadh and Bahrain. We’re also opening one in London, Miami and a lot of other places.