Nobu Portman Square celebrated its opening with a signature sake ceremony on Tuesday evening, hosted by founders Robert De Niro, chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper. The glamorous event marked the launch of the luxury hotel group’s newest outpost in London’s exclusive Marylebone district.
It’s a celebration that has been a long time coming. The much-anticipated hotel welcomed its first guests in December 2020 but was forced to close just two weeks later as London was plunged into lockdown. In May 2021, the property was finally able to reopen as restrictions eased. The long-overdue sake ceremony is a special tradition that marks the official opening of every new Nobu hotel.
As you would expect, the event was seriously exclusive with a slew of famous faces making an appearance including Emma Bunton, Rita Ora and Katherine Ryan.
Guests gathered in the hotel’s grand lobby for the kagami biraki ceremony – an ancient Japanese ritual dating back to the 15th century that involves the breaking and opening (biraki) of the round sake barrel lid (kagami), ushering in harmony and good fortune for the years ahead.
Japanese Taiko drummers kicked off the festivities as Robert De Niro, Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper took to the stage for speeches. “Please toast to being happy, lucky and healthy,” said Matsuhisa as the crowd erupted into cheers.
Each of the founders took a wooden mallet and, counting down from three, broke open the lid of an enormous barrel of sake, which was served to revelers in traditional masu cups. It’s hard to think of a better way to bless the new hotel.
Throughout the evening the champagne and cocktails were flowing, and guests were treated to an array of delicious canapes such as Nobu’s signature miso-marinated black cod, spicy tuna sushi and yellowtail sashimi topped with caviar. Those with space for dessert enjoyed chocolate spring rolls, green tea macaroons and mochi.
After the ceremony, everyone headed through to the moodily lit bar and terrace to party the night away with heady cocktails and live music.
Nobu Portman Square is the iconic brand’s third property in London and joins 12 other Nobu hotels, as well as 50 restaurants, dotted across the globe. Not stopping there, Nobu Hospitality is continuing to grow its burgeoning portfolio with properties in Atlantic City, Hamburg and San Sebastian currently under development.