You all know by now that ‘illusion’ is a false friend, and that a Spanish ‘ilusión’ isn’t the same as an English mirage, hallucination or disappointment.
So when José Miguel Herrera and Nuria Morell named their restaurant Nozomi, they put us in a bit of a pickle. The best translation for this Japanese Word in English would probably be hope or dream, and this cosy little restaurant is the dream come true for them, which was opened in 2015 following their success at the Sushi Home, which had opened in 2007.
Most restaurants list their dishes and specialities, whereas Nozomi lists its philosophy, which includes the concept that Japanese cooking for them is not a fashion but a lifestyle, and that silence is a valued quality.
There is a tasting menú for full tables, or you can take your stomach in your hands and just order anything you’ve never heard of before and see what happens.
They have all the usual makis, uramakis, sashimis, niguiris and temakis, and each dish is served up as a work of art by the copious cooks and numerous waiters that suggest that Nokomi is singlehandedly resolving Valencia’s unemployment problem all by itself.
Inevitable algae and raw fish make up a large part of the menu, and if it’s quantity you want you’d be better off at MacDonald’s or Burger King. This is the world of taste and savouring each delicate mothful and each combination of flavours.
The waiters are quiet, helpful and knowledgeable; not a taxi driver or barber among them. Even when confronted with boisterous, gesticulating diners demanding Ketchup, they are calm, dignified and knowledgeable, and rarely snigger at their patrons’ pathetic pronunciation of the dishes.
The decor is very original with wood and butterflies (or at least I think that’s what was hanging from the ceiling), standing out. The idea is apparently to convey the feel of a typical Street in old, downtown Kyoto.
In fact Nozomi was nominated for the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards held in London in 2015, and the design, by Masquespacio, was considered one of the world’s best ten.
The word on the Street is that it’s mission imposible to get a reservation at Nokomi, but when you have Valencia’s Tom Cruise, tax lawyer Pablo Romá working for you, then impossible is nothing. Actually the impossiblity applies to evenings and weekends, although the justified popularity is also apparent midweek.
Nozomi is at Calle Pedro III el Grande, 11, on the edge of the Ruzafa district.