Nadaman is the first Japanese restaurant I have eaten at in Singapore, so it holds good memories for me. It's had a long history but its culinary repertoire remains classically Japanese. I had not been back in a long while, but now that they have a new head chef, I thought I would go and see what it is like.
Chef Ishizuka Takaya comes to us from Nadaman Zipangu Tokyo. Before returning to Japan, he helmed the kitchens of Nadaman at Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong for seven years.
Driven by the desire to impart his Japanese culinary skills to young aspiring chefs in Hong Kong, he also joined the recognised VTC Hospitality Industry Training Development Centre as a culinary instructor for two years.
Chef Ishizuka comes from a family of chefs and discovered his passion for cooking at the tender age of nine. He started with the Nadaman group in 1991 and honed his skills at the flagship restaurant at Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.
He will use his 23 years of expertise to present seasonal and regional specialties from the countryside, which are often more interesting, fresh in flavour, simple yet delicious.
Photo courtesy of Shangri-La Singapore
We were treated to the lovely Aoi Kaiseki (about S$165++ for dinner), which showcased some of Chef Ishizuka's signature items. We also saw many new ingredients never seen before.
boiled spring vegetables topped with bonito flakes and mild sauce,
milk tofu with wasabi sauce,
firefly squid with spring cabbage and seaweed in vinegar miso sauce.
All three are delicate starters, and I loved the vinegar miso sauce. The firefly squid is so tiny (these are fully cooked, so I guess no painful jabs of insemination will happen if you chomp on them).
Clear "Hamaguri" clam soup, fish and clam cake, and "Udo" bud
A simple broth with seafood goodness. The Japanese are so good at this.
I was very curious about the Udo bud, so I asked to see what it was like before cooking. Turns out it's a root vegetable, much like a yam. I think it was cut into white strips in the soup.
And next came the Sashimi course (first photo above) - beautiful sweet slices of fresh fish with real grated wasabi. I've strangely gone off sashimi (or maybe I just can't tolerate moderate quality sashimi anymore), but really good sashimi like this restores my faith and interest again.
Bonus course - seasonal vegetables on ice
This was not on the menu, but it was absolutely delightful. Ambrosial tomatoes, watermelon radish, carrots, apple-like radishes, mizuna and various seasonal produce served with a superb mayo dip.
White radish, sea bream roe, "Fuki" vegetable and carrot
Simple fresh flavours. The "Fuki" vegetable is a butterbur native to Japan. It's a spring vegetable akin to celery or rhubarb, and slightly bitter. You eat the stalk, which is crunchy.
Another bonus course!
This time of butter-fried asparagus and abalone. Amazingly done. There is a teppan genius at work here, I tell you.
Tempura mild cod roe with Shiso leaves, Japanese smelt fish and "Taranome" with light bonito soy sauce
The cod roe wrapped with Shiso leaves stood out with its stronger flavours. The taranome is also interesting if you've never had it before. It's a mountain vegetable, usually found in the wild, and the shoots are often eaten in the spring.
Pan-fried Japanese sirloin beef with teriyaki and vegetable, served with radish vinegar soy sauce and pickled garlic
What did I say about teppan genius? Here comes my favourite dish of the night. Honestly, look at the marbling in that wagyu - there's more fat than meat! It's good fat, by the way, mostly monounsaturated, but still feels so sinful! The grilled mushrooms were also delicious.
Love the dipping sauces as well - a ponzu with radish and a garlic soy sauce.
The Kamameshi steamed rice is the final course before dessert. Oh lovely Sakura shrimp - the aroma that wafted out was incredible. Lots of tender bamboo shoot too.
The rice is served with pickles and red bean miso soup. Your carb filler at the end of the meal.
vanilla ice cream, sago and gula melaka
This is uncharacteristically unJapanese, but still good to the last rich coconutty drop.
Nadaman belongs to the group of restaurants first founded in 1830 in Osaka. This kaiseki dinner was not only tasty but quite educational. Chef did well bringing in seasonal produce and transforming them into
You can see the Shangri-La Singapore outlet's full menus online.
Lobby Level, Tower Wing
22 Orange Grove Road
Tel: +65 6213-4571
Lunch: noon to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10.30pm
Many thanks to Shangri-La Hotel Singapore for the invitation