Hollywood actor and producer Robert de Niro is expected to be in Kuala Lumpur for the official opening of Nobu restaurant, a brand that he co-owns with chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and Hollywood producer Meir Teper.
Some 350 guests have been invited to the cocktail event happening May 20 and de Niro, 71, is expected to arrive the afternoon before and leave right after the launch to catch the late night flight.
It is a tradition for all three owners to be there at the official launch of every new Nobu restaurant. At the launch, the owners will take part in a traditional Japanese sake ceremony in which the lid of a sake barrel is broken with a wooden mallet and the sake is served to everyone present. Because of the lid’s round shape, the kagami biraki ceremony is a symbol of opening to harmony and good fortune.
Nobu KL’s Malaysian partners, HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor and Tan Sri Syed Yusof Tun Syed Nasir would not be participating in the sake ceremony. Instead, there will be another “surprise” launch act for the five stakeholders – a third partner in the KL venture is Singaporean hotel tycoon Datuk Ong Beng Seng, whose presence at the launch has not been confirmed at press time.
According to the restaurant’s public relations, De Niro has no other agenda apart from attending the launch event.
De Niro has starred in over 90 movies and got his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor playing the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II (1974). He scored his second Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980).
Nobu KL at the Petronas’ third tower has been opened to the public since last September. The restaurant on level 56 of Menara 3 Petronas is designed by architect Severine Tatangelo of Studio PCH, California, and has a 360° view of the city, an open kitchen, sushi bar, dining room, bar and a club lounge.
Presiding over the kitchen is Ipoh-born lass Philip Leong from Nobu London Berkeley Street, who carries out Matsuhisa’s new-style Japanese-Peruvian cuisine.
The Nobu brand has 33 restaurants worldwide, with Nobu KL being the first Nobu in South-East Asia and the highest altitude Nobu restaurant at present time.