Nobu: the celebrity restaurant still peddling endangered tuna

Posted by Willie — 11 February 2011 at 12:23pm - Comments
Celebrity-favourite sushi restaurant Nobu serves endangered bluefin tuna
All rights reserved. Credit: Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace
Celebrity-favourite sushi restaurant Nobu serves endangered bluefin tuna

This weekend Nobu Matsuhisa, the eponymous chef behind the celebrity-favourite restaurant Nobu, will be in London. For a mere £260 you could enjoy a unique dining experience, apparently. I wonder what’s on the menu. Delicious black rhino, perhaps? Or tasty Amur tiger? Maybe some melt-in-the-mouth mountain gorilla?

It’s not as ludicrous as it seems, because Nobu do serve up endangered species in their restaurants. Bluefin (and bigeye) tuna are cheerfully chopped up for sushi and the perky profits of pushing these species to extinction line Matsuhisa’s pockets, and that of his partner in environmental crime, one Robert De Niro.

Nobu have no excuse. They have known this is unacceptable for years. They claim to be leaders in their sector yet they serve up a species that is internationally recognized as endangered, and the only small concession to these concerns is an asterisked qualification on their London menus (it doesn’t happen in any of their other establishments). At the bottom of the menu it says:

Bluefin tuna is an environmentally threatened species. Please ask your server for an alternative.

Seriously. Go have a look. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

I think the wording’s a bit ropey, personally – something along these lines might be an improvement:

Bluefin tuna is an endangered species. Please ask your server why the **** we are still serving it!

The truth is that bluefin is just the tip of Nobu’s environmental problems. They have simply no sustainability policy about sourcing seafood, yet they carry on regardless. In January, a single bluefin tuna sold for £250,000. There is big money in increasingly rare seafood it seems, and Nobu would rather pocket the profits than take any sort of responsibility.

In a world where politicians and profiteers have repeatedly stopped any effective protection of bluefin, now more than ever it falls upon retailers and restaurateurs to be responsible.

In this regard, they are lagging behind most of the UK supermarkets and even sandwich retailers like Pret A Manger. They are staunchly standing by their principles of avoiding having any principles.

But Nobu evidently isn’t getting the message. So maybe he needs to hear it from a few more people.

He’s here all weekend. Why not tell him what you think of him serving up extinction?

Nobu Matsuhisa

Nobu London restaurant
Tel: 0207 447 4747

Nobu Berkeley Street restaurant
Tel: 0207 290 9222



And if anyone at Nobu gives you some crap about how they have an ongoing dialogue with Greenpeace on this issue, feel free to point out that’s just a big fat lie. They know where we are if they do want a dialogue.

About Willie

Hi, I'm Willie, I work with Greenpeace on all things ocean-related

Twitter: @williemackenzie

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