You may or may not have fond memories of kaiseki food in Japan; you may or may not know that Singapore imports virtually all its food and freshness is quite simply, just one step out of reach.
For these reasons, I have never been very keen on kaiseki meals in Singapore. But it was the end of August, and we needed a place to celebrate a birthday. My internet searches led me to Yoshiyuki and Nadaman. Going purely by the lushness of location, I decided we will try Nadaman first.
I booked a table online and made mention of hoping for a nice seat since someone’s having a birthday. I received a confirmation email; I didn’t speak to them about any special requirements.
But hey, what a great seat we had. It seemed to be the only table overlooking the garden. And we had superb natural light that afternoon.
As for the meal, the kaiseki set looked tantalizing enough. Not as many courses as our other experiences in Japan, but I am mindful of the price we are paying for our meal today (not that high!). Each time the food came, we were suitably excited and curious, and it was one of those times where even we could not resist taking photos of every single thing laid on our table.
We were happy with the food. The most exquisite was the somen. The broth and the noodles somehow made me say stupid things like “this is like the feeling you get when you know that the person you are in love with loves you back”. Siew loved the conger eel sushi and the sashimi and looked around for extras when she was done. (I didn’t offer mine.)
The vinegar dish was a little lost on us (too vinegary) and the simmered dish had too much burdock and too little unagi. Also, overall, we thought the meal lacked a tad refinement. We were particularly puzzled that the appetizer came in one plate. The dishes were good but pacing and presentation matter.
Despite our (admittedly not expert) grouses, we must say that the food is pretty good. If you are up for some pampering, this is a good place to be. Just remember you are not in Kyoto and you should be fine. Plus, anyone who serves me good warabi mochi will be remembered fondly.
PS. The restaurant was really sweet. They served a birthday cake at the end of our meal. A sole server came by, singing Happy Birthday softly. It was such a sweet gesture!
More information. Nadaman is at Shangri-la Hotel, 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350. We paid about $70 per diner, having received a 15% discount (for having booked a table online); we didn’t order any alcoholic drink. We didn’t have to pay for the cake. Hee.