For the longest time, Nadaman sets the gold standard for Japanese restaurants in hotels here in Singapore. Long before Japanese chefs set-up their own independent restaurants (e.g.Yoshio Nogawa’s sushi restaurant in Lucky Plaza in the late-70s), Singapore diners looking for Japanese food had to go to a hotel-based Japanese restaurant to find something decent to eat. Some of the best Japanese restaurants had also gone from the dining scene in the past decades: Unkai at ANA Hotel, Inagiku at Westin Hotel, and Kampachi at Goodwood Park Hotel – in fact, that’s where Yoshio Nogawa started off back in 1972 thereabouts, if I recall correctly). But Singapore's moved on since - the world has become a much smaller place, and Singaporeans now go *to* Japan for their Japanese food fix. Back home, nouveau-Japanese culinary masters like Tetsuya Wakuda merged Japanese ingredients with French cooking techniques to come up with new flavor sensations. Old Japanese restaurants fade away quietly - Fujiya (Singapore's oldest restaurant) disappeared when the multi-storey carpark near Robinson Road was pulled down last year.
Nadaman at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore is really one of the last of its generation, now located at the lobby level which, in the 1990s, used to be Latour French fine-dining restaurant (best-known for its soufflés back then).
My lunch at Nadaman today was pretty “average”, it caters well to hotel guests, even Japanese ones, with authentic flavors but not really anything, in Michelin-speak, "worth a detour":
- Amuse-guele was simmered Japanese watercress topped with shaved bonito flakes
- Steamed egg (dashimaki tamago) which was delicate & subtly flavored
- Tempura-soba: the fried tempura (2 prawns, 1 shitake mushroom, 1 small wedge of sweet potato and a 2-inch cut of okra) were crisp and I could taste the sesame oil which the morsels were fried in. Quite well done.
- The hot soba noodles with seaweed swam in a shoyu-flavored broth.
Maybe I need to come back for a kaiseki dinner to really judge the chef’s mettle.
Nadaman Japanese Restaurant
Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
22 Orange Grove Road
Tel: +65-6213 4571