Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nami Japanese Restaurant at Shangri-La Singapore

Japanese fine-dining at the Shangri-La just got a modern update. Nadaman, which for years offered understated culinary refinement, has been replaced by the much more contemporary NAMI Restaurant and Bar on the 24th floor.

The cornerstone of NAMI is its Head Chef Shigeo Akiba from Yokohama with more than 30 years of stellar culinary experience. He helped prepare the wedding banquet of Japan’s Prince Akishinomiya and Princess Kiko, and later, their crowning ceremony. He has also had the honour of serving Emperor Akihito when he dined at the Nadaman restaurant in Tokyo. Mr. Akiba has also worked under Iron Chef Koumei Nakamura for five years as his executive chef.

NAMI is on the 24th floor with fantastic views
NAMI's location on the 24th floor also grants impressive views of the city. The restaurant is bathed in natural light from the floor to ceiling windows on one side.

The modern eatery is designed by Japan-based Bond Design Studio, the same firm that conceptualised the look of the new Tower Wing of Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. Designer Ryoichi Niwata created a space that incorporates the refined elegance and simplicity of Japanese design aesthetic with the five key elements of stone, wood, water, trees and wind, which he features in the overall design for the new tower.

Chef at NAMI making sushi
There's a beautiful long counter where you can sit and watch the chefs work. Or you could choose a window-side table and take in the views of the lush greenery surrounding Shangri-La below.

We start lunch with an appetiser of whitebait with tsuru murasaki or Malabar spinach (see bottom right of first photo).

Sushi platter
Next up, a platter of five sushi. From top we have

Otoro from Nagasaki
Surume Ika (seasonal squid)
Tai (sea bream)
Shima Aji ( striped mackerel)

The fish is certainly fresh; it's flown four times a week from Japan, mainly Tsukiji but also from Kyushu and Hokkaido – thanks to suppliers with whom Chef Akiba has built relationships with for over 30 years.

Seafood Salad
Seafood Salad
海鮮サラダ (S$20)

Delicate slices of sashimi adorn this Western-style plate of greens.

Wintermelon soup with yuzu cosh
We also had a seasonal soup. Wintermelon from Aichi is blended with yuzu kosho into a creamy veloute. I love yuzu kosho; it's got to be one of the best condiments ever with green peppers and yuzu peel cured with salt.

Miso Penshell Clam with Sea Urchin and Salmon Roe
Miso Pen Shell Clam with Sea Urchin and Salmon Roe
平貝味噌クリーム焼 (S$65)
This is one of their signature dishes not to be missed. The pen shell clam or fan mussel is one of the largest bivalves in the world. The meat tastes like a cross between clam and scallop. Here it's prepared with "bekko sauce" (essentially bechamel sauce), miso, soy and vinegar, topped with uni and ikura, and served on the fan-shaped shell itself.

Steamed Nami Abalone in Kimo Sauce

Steamed Nami Abalone in Kimo Sauce
鮑肝ソース磯焼 (S$90)

Abalone in liver sauce? Yes, if you like both. I'm not a fan of liver, but fortunately the sauce was not overpowering.

Sliced Raw Japanese Saga Wagyu Beef Sirloin A4, Kyoto Vegetables, Dashi Broth
Sliced Raw Japanese Saga Wagyu Beef Sirloin A4, Kyoto Vegetables, Dashi Broth
佐賀牛と京野菜のスープ掛け (S$70)
Saga-gyu with Kyoto veg in dashi

Chef Akiba is a dashi master and the dashi at NAMI is made using the best kombu and katsuobushi. The former is sourced from the sea off northern Hokkaido, favoured for its sweet, deep, rich, savoury yet clear stock. The latter is from Kyushu, from a producer, Marufuji, that is so fastidious it only selects one piece out of 10,000 to be fermented and aged. The result is a more complex, sweeter flavour, intense fragrance and increased umami.

The beef in the broth is as lovely as you can expect. Tender and fatty but not overly oily, the A4 wagyu shines through with the superior dashi adding umami enhancement.

Japanese Saga Waygu Beef Sirloin A4, Sea Urchin, Rice, Chef Akiba's Special Sauce and Seasonal Truffle
Japanese Saga Waygu Beef Sirloin A4, Sea Urchin, Rice, Chef Akiba's Special Sauce and Seasonal Truffle
佐賀牛ステーキご飯雲丹・温玉・トリュフをのせて (S$65)
Saga-gyu with poached egg, black truffles, uni and ikura on rice

Japanese Tomato
Chilled Japanese Tomato
冷やしトマト (S$15)
Few things can be as simple and refreshing as good produce served as it is, sans cooking. This is where tomato truly deserves its definition as a fruit - sweet, juicy and invigorating.

Three Kinds of Japanese Fruit
Seasonal Japanese Fruit (Three Types)
季節のフルーツ 3 種 (S$27)
They have various types of Japanese fruit too. Here we have crown melon from Shizuoka, Yamanashi pear, muscat and Kyoho grape.

NAMI also has a great selection of sake.

Bon Chogin Fukui Daiginjyo
Bon Chogin (Fukui) (+2)
梵 超吟 S$1,000 (Bottle)

This Bon chogin daiginjyo sake goes for S$1,000 a bottle and several have been snapped up already. The name Bon means "unstained purity," and sake from this 1860 brewery is entirely junmai (no added sugars or alcohol). It's used in government ceremonies, such as the celebratory sake during the enthronement of Emperor Showa. Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama famously gifted a bottle of Bon Chogin to President Obama.

On a lighter note, you have the Aragoshi sakes.

Aragoshi Sake
From left to right Plum, Peach, Mandarin
うめ, もも, みかん
$15 (90ml)

These are sake based wines delightfully rich in pulp. “Aragoshi” means “to roughly mash.” For example, the Ume Aragoshi has plum fruits pureed into the matured umeshu.  The natural pulp gives a pleasant nigori-like (cloudy) texture.
These are absolutely divine chilled.

Private dining room for 10
If you're looking to entertain privately, NAMI also has two private dining rooms, seating six and 10 respectively.

Multicourse lunch menus at NAMI go from S$45 for the vegetarian course to S$110 for Chef Akiba’s Lunch Course (Amuse-bouche, appetiser, soup, assorted sashimi, stewed dish, main dish [choice of beef or fish], rice, miso soup, dessert).

Set lunches start from S$45 and include choices like Australian Angus Beef Komiyaki/Sukiyaki/Steak-jyu, Tempura, Tenjyu, and Katsu-don. There's Kaisen-don, Sashimi, Sushi, Tekka-don (tuna) and Salmon & Ikura bowls from S$50-55 too.

Level 24, Tower Wing,
Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
22 Orange Grove Road,
Singapore 258350

Tel: (+65) 6213-4398

Opening hours :
Lunch: 12noon – 2:30pm (restaurant and terrace)
Dinner: 6pm – 10:30pm (restaurant)
6pm – 12 midnight (terrace)

Many thanks to NAMI for the invitation

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