My hectic university life in SMU is about to commence so before my social life totally ceases to exist, I will be taking a short holiday to Adelaide and Sydney from 25th June(Fri)-5th July(Mon). No thx to my grp of non-foodie friends whom I’m travelling with, who look upon excessive spending on food with disdain, the main agenda for this trip will sadly not be on the food, though I do have a list of places I have heard about and am eager to try. For Adelaide, they are Chocolate Bean, Cafe O’Connell, Spats, Nandos(yes the same one that opened at Bugis Junction), Stacks(pancakes ftw!). For Sydney, Pancakes on the Rocks, Tetsuya’s(though the 200AUD pricetag attached to their 11-course degustation seems a little lot out of reach), Hurricane(for their ribs @ Darling Harbour) and finally Jones the Grocer(the original flagship stall!). As such, I will be taking a short hiatus but I will be back to post on Australia trip Yumyums asap!
Now back to the local food scene! Whenever someone enquires about the best Japanese restaurant in Singapore, the names Tatsuya, Nadaman, Keyaki & Aoki always seems to pop up. Dinners there are certainly no humble affair, where bills typically balloon into the range of hundreds per pax at least. These high barriers of entry proves to be the main obstacle for a student such as myself, though ironically I spent like 120 bucks on 1-for-1 booze at Mambo last week, leaving my debit card behind in an intoxicated stupor in the process…and there goes my fine Jap dinner rawr!
I for one am an opportunist, a cash-strapped one at that. So when the chance arrived for an affordable lunch at one of the “Big 4″, I readily lunged at the offer. Yes, I had made another booking for Shangri-la’s 39th Anniversary Promotion(The one with 39% off total bill for reservations made online for 39% of the restaurant’s seating capacity).
10 lessons of Jap class taught me just enough to recognise the words “Nadaman” on their napkins. It’s small touches like this I find that adds up to a sublime dining experience.
A page on the menu I found interesting…
The 7-Course Mini Kaiseki is priced affordably at $45++. My friend M used to mix these terms up so fyi, Kaiseki means multi-course or set meal while Omakase means leaving the meal and all of it’s courses to the discretion of the chef.
My first course was the Chilled Corn Moose which looks somewhat like Tofu, though much denser and solid. It’s mildly sweet and the corn is blended in so well that I could have well mistaken it for a Soy Moose instead. A side of Chilled Spinach & Beansprouts in Dashi Stock was typical of a Jap appetizer, light and refreshing.
Afterwhich came the Clear Soup with Fishcake & Vegetables. The clear soup had a savoury umami taste about it and I really enjoyed the fishcake which was a whole lot more tasty than your singapore coffeeshop ones.
The third course was Salmon and Aji Sashimi.
The Simmered Vegetables with Meatballs came as the 4th course. I didn’t think much of the vegetables but the 2 meatballs reminded me a bit of Xiaolongbao fillings.
The number of courses depicted seems a bit off since I have 8 pictures in a 7-course Kaiseki and it’s weird that steamed Pumpkin rice & Miso Soup should even be considered as individual courses anyway.
That said, the simple Grilled Saba Fish was nice though portion size might be considered a bit petite for a main. Nothing spectacular, the Saba fish at Marina Square Food Court though slightly oilier, would have given Nadaman’s a good fight. Ok why am I comparing a food court stall to Nadaman? That’s just plain mean…and oh I found some jellyfish strips hiding beneath the pickles! A pleasant surprise indeed.
To be frank, I couldn’t really taste much of the Pumpkin rice over the salted Saba Fish. And why is there a Miso Soup when there was already soup just now? I reckon it’s to wash down the salt from the Saba Fish if required.
A moose to signal the start and end of the meal, musing by the chef perhaps? The Red Bean Moose with Coconut Sauce brought with it a sweet end to the mini Kaiseki.
Fancy some Teppanyaki instead? Try the Teppanyaki Mini Course($45++).
First 2 courses of Corn Moose and Clear Soup was congruent to what I had for the Mini Kaiseki. For the Sashimi, it wasn’t an exact replica from the mini kaiseki as the chef replaced the Salmon with Tuna.
For Teppanyaki main, you get a choice of Pan Fried Codfish with Butter Sauce or Pan Fried Salmon with Butter Sauce or Pan Fried Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce or Pan Fried Beef with Apple Sauce. Mum chose the later and unlike my Saba, this was what I could call a main! The tender beef was cut into bit sized pieces which I could just keep popping into my mouth all day. The Fried Rice was sadly forgettable.
Between the 2 sets, I preferred mum’s Teppanyaki Mini Course for the Beef Main.
And with the 39% discount, the bill came to a mere $38.20 per person! For the variety and standard, not to mention complementary parking, this meal truly epitomizes the principles of value and affordability.
22 ORANGE GROVE ROAD, SHANGRI-LA HOTEL
TEL: +65 6213 4571