As I've already visited Petrus and Summer Palace to make use of the 2-for-1 Shangri-la birthday deal, I thought it only fitting to go to Nadaman for my own birthday. I've gone from never eating at Island Shang to eating at three of their restaurants within the span of three months!
I was surprised by how large the restaurant was, with a number of separate rooms including the main dining room. I really liked the interior which was done up tastefully and much more low-key than the other Island Shang restaurants. It felt so peaceful in there, especially with the very soothing green tea. Too bad we weren't seated by the windows which offered a pretty good view of PP amidst the trees.
I opted for the Winter Kaiseki menu which was priced at roughly $750 and included 7 dishes plus a complimentary starter:
I think this was just snowpea shoots that was a great start to the meal - very light and refreshing, I particularly enjoyed the leaves soaked in the sweet sauce at the bottom :)
From top clockwise, homemade anglerfish beancurd with salmon roe (in the bowl at the back), mini abalone and gingko nuts, salmon with cheese, mackerel sushi, and deep fried prawn. I enjoyed the mackerel sushi and really really liked the fried prawn which was light and crispy and melted in my mouth! The beancurd was also silky smooth and paired surprisingly well with the salmon roe. Unfortunately, I don't eat abalone and the salmon with the cheese was a bit of a turn-off for me - I can never understand why people like to pair sushi with cheese, especially when the cheese tastes like Kraft singles.
Sashimi of ark shell, chu-toro, and red snapper. I didn't try the ark shell but the red snapper was a little bit tough for my liking. Luckily, the chu-toro was the saving grace and I was quite impressed that they gave three decently thick slices of it! Chu-toro is my favourite grade of tuna, coming from the back part of the belly and thus slightly less fatty than otoro but still far more melt-in-your mouth than regular tuna. And this one really melted in my mouth, super tender and fresh.
This was described as simmered milt of cod (shirako in Japanese). I didn't know what "milt" was and taking a look at what was in the dish, it really looked like scrambled brains or intestines. I asked the waitress, who couldn't explain it to me, so I dug out my iPhone to search myself, discovering that it's actually cod sperm. (The waitress later came back with her own iPhone and a webpage that had the words "testacles" on it haha). We asked her if she liked to eat it and she shook her head vigorously with a resounding no. I tried a small piece and found out cod sperm is very very creamy and custard-like. Hm. Not too appealing. Apparently it's a huge delicacy in Japan and quite pricey. I saw a table of Japanese all happily chowing down on their sperm but I couldn't do it... Felt a bit guilty leaving essentially the whole bowl untouched but if my waitress won't even eat it, it's quite a telling sign :P
Scallop with citrus fruit, cucumbers, and some fried bean curd on top, all soaked in vinegar. The scallops were lovely and plump and really quite delicious but I found them to be completely overpowered by the citrus fruits (in particular the pomelo). I could hardly taste the scallops with all the ingredients going on.
This was beautiful. It was grilled belly of yellowtail and adorned quite simply with some grated radish. I don't think I've ever actually had yellowtail grilled before - I love hamachi sushi though so was pretty excited to try this. The fish was so flavourful though and it was great that it was seasoned lightly as the flavours didn't overwhelm the freshness of the fish. Probably the highlight of the meal :)
I believe the menu called this a rice casserole, which included mushrooms and vegetables. It was really comforting and hearty, perfect for a cold winter's night. I was surprised how healthy it made me feel too! I could picture myself out in a cabin in Hokkaido watching the snow fall, eating my bowl of rice, and reading a Murakami novel :) (FYI - for any Murakami fans, 1Q84 surpassed my expectations!) The rice had a great texture too - slightly moist and soft, yet not as sticky as a risotto...Just very plump, if that makes sense? It also came with a nice bowl of soya bean soup on the side though I would've preferred miso.
The dessert was meant to be a coconut purple taro soup with red beans but I'm not a big fan of red beans or coconut and so asked if they could change my dessert to ice cream. They were happy to comply :) They had a selection of normal ice cream flavours (green tea, sesame, vanilla) but I decided to opt for their korean citrus sorbet and it was the perfect way to end the meal. It really tasted like those Korean citron teas with clumps of citrus peel inside. Delicious! Apparently this was flown in from Japan.
My partner ordered one of the dinner sets that was priced slightly cheaper in the range of $600?
This was just spinach and maitake mushrooms but was again a delicious and light way to start the meal.
This was the crab roe salad which as you can see was served with a very generous amount of crab roe. I usually don't like Japanese salads too much because of the crazy amounts of mayo used but this one was actually quite alright and I had wished I had taken more before it was polished off!
Tuna, snapper, and scallop. Didn't try any of these but I'm sure my chu-toro was far yummier hehe. My friend did say that the scallops tasted really fresh though.
pretty bowl housing my ultimate favourite Japanese appetizer:
I really want to learn how to make this, I assume it can't be too hard! This was one of the best I've had. The eggs were super tender, sweet and silky smooth, and I had a lot of fun digging through the custard to find what treasures were inside! Too bad no chicken, but there were matsutake mushrooms and shrimp :)
It was funny that they asked us how we would like our beef cooked when the slices were so thin! Felt like beef for sukiyaki but I'm not complaining because I love that stuff! The beef was pretty succulent and despite how it looks, wasn't all that oily. Really enjoyed the sides as well - in particular the broccoli when doused in the sweet sauce.
Inaniwa udon is my favourite type. It's thinner and generally remains al dente after cooking. This one was very very nice, with a soothing broth and deliciously sweet mushrooms. Too bad it was so yummy that when I got back from the washroom it was all but gone :(
All in all, this was a pretty satisfying meal that left me pleasantly full. The service was great, ambiance relaxing, and the food was definitely above par. It was such good value too with the 50% discount - I think our whole meal came up to a total of $770 plus service charge! Will definitely be back for their Ladies Sushi Set lunches!
7/F, Island Shangri-La