Food & Beverage

Nobu in Singapore? Founder De Niro dishes out plans

Written by Katie Holliday, reporting by Susan Li
De Niro, Teper: Why Nobu is coming to Asia

As luxury hotel and restaurant chain Nobu prepares to launch in the Philippines, co-founder Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, the principal of Nobu, told CNBC they have their sights set on Singapore and Macau next.

Nobu Hotel is set to become the second major hotel brand in Manila's $1.3 billion City of Dreams integrated casino and hotel complex, due to open in mid-2014, led by Macau casino giant Melco Crown Entertainment.

"We're looking in Singapore to do a hotel, and a restaurant in Macau, after Manila. Maybe we'll do one with the City of Dreams in Macau, [it] would be a great thing to do but we'll see," said Teper.

(Read more: Macau casino stocks set for 'watershed' year)

Meir Teper, actor Robert De Niro and chef Nobu Matsuhisa attend a sake ceremony during the grand opening celebration of the world's first Nobu Hotel Restaurant and Lounge Caesars Palace on April 28, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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When questioned on the timing of the move, De Niro told CNBC anchor Susan Li to ask Australian billionaire James Packer, the executive chairman of Melco Crown Entertainment.

"Not yet but maybe you can ask James Packer. There was a time I spoke to James Packer about doing a Nobu in Macau. In the beginning it was too early, now it becomes more of a place where you can have good food," he said.

Critically acclaimed actor, director and producer Robert De Niro is one of the co-founders of the Nobu restaurant chain, which offers high-end Japanese food, pioneered by Japanese celebrity chef and restaurateur Nobuyuki Matsushisa.

(Read more: Show me the Monet: Philippines seeks return of Marcos paintings)

The first Nobu restaurant was launched in New York in 1998, and the brand has since expanded internationally, with 28 restaurants located in five continents.

Luxury hotel chain Nobu to debut in Asia

De Niro told CNBC it was his idea to expand the Nobu restaurant into a hotel brand.

"Over the years, what I would notice, these hotels would be asking Nobu restaurants to be put in them to give them a certain credibility. So I said why are we not doing a Nobu hotel ourselves," he said.

"We got certain resistance - like you know 'just stay where you are' and I kept saying there's no reason why we shouldn't try this. Everybody starts somewhere and we'll see where it goes," he added.

(Read more: Is Singapore set for an Icelandic-style crash?)

De Niro is also involved in developing land on Shanghai's Huangpu River waterfront, along the Nanjin Road, known as the Bund district. Project 179 as it is known involves the launch of a 1920s style boutique hotel, arts center and retail space.

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"We were approached to do this project - my partner and myself - and excited to be involved. We're still involved in working it out," he said.

"Shanghai is a great city to be part of doing something in, creating something in... and restoring the traditions, in this case, the Bund was exciting to us," he added.

Nobu Hotel follows Crown Towers Hotel at the City of Dreams Manila, a 260-room hotel designed to cater to high end VIP and premium mass market segments in Manila.