Another Nadaman restaurant, this time right inside Hotel New Otani. Actually, there are two of them – one in the Garden Tower and the other in the Japanese Garden itself. This is the Autumn Menu 御献立.
Food for Autumn
御献立 Autumn Menu is an eight-course fine dining Kaiseki dinner that featured the best ingredients of the season .
- Pacific saury is known as “sanma” in Japan.This silver-skinned fish has a rich flavor and is best enjoyed grilled with a little salt.
- Persimmons, also known as kaki, are abundant in the Japanese autumn. They are sweet, soft and look a little bit like tomatoes. They are best eaten raw but also often made into jam due to their jelly-like texture.
- Kuri, or Japanese chestnuts, are a popular autumn flavor. They can be roasted as a snack (yaki-kuri) or cooked together with rice (kurigohan).
- Yakiimo are simply roasted sweet potatoes, and they are quite possibly the most popular autumn snack in Japan. The sweet potatoes are roasted and sold in a variety of places from conveniences stores over sweet potato specialty shops to food stalls at festivals.
- Japan is home to a rich variety of native mushrooms which are an important part of Japanese autumn dishes. The matsutake mushroom is especially present only in autumn.
1/ 先付 starter
新秋刀魚酢メり 養老寄せ かきのもと 餅銀杏 酢取茗荷 生姜酢ゼリー
Pacific saury, Japanese yam cake, chrysanthemum petal, gingko nut and pickled Myoga with ginger and vinegar jelly
The first course is called sakizuke and it’s an appetiser similar to a French amuse bouche. The autumn first catch of the sanma (Pacific saury) fish is cooked in vinegar and served on top of a yoroyose (grated mountain yam cake), accompanied with gingko, chrysanthemum petals and Myoga.
Myoga, myoga ginger or Japanese ginger is the species Zingiber mioga in the Zingiberaceae family. It is a deciduous herbaceous perennial native to Japan, China, and the southern part of Korea. Only its edible flower buds and flavorful shoots are used in cooking.
2/ 旬菜 assorted Japanese appetisers
Four different types of appetisers in the junsai course that included Matsutake mushroom, persimmon, dorayaki and chrysanthemum. Also called the hassun (八寸) course and served in the second course, it sets the seasonal theme. It usually has one sushi and several small side dishes.
壬生菜 菊花浸し 松茸 とんぶり
Boiled spinach, chrysanthemum petal, Matsutake mushroom, tonburi
Seemingly simple, but there’s a lot of work behind this small cup of goodness. A light fragrance of chrysanthemum infused in the sauce with Matsutaje mushroom, boiled spinach and a special herb called tonburi.
In Japan, kochia seeds or tonburi (とんぶり) are used a food garnish. Because its texture is similar to caviar, it has been called “land caviar”, “field caviar”, and “mountain caviar”. It is a chinmi, or delicacy, in Akita prefecture. The glossy, greenish black seeds are dried, boiled, soaked, and then rubbed by hand to remove the skin. For me, it has no taste although I thought it was caviar because of its texture.
水頭なます霙和え イクラ醤油漬け 振り柚子
Dressed salmon cartilage and roe with grated daikon radish
A simple appetiser of grated radish with soy sauce marinated ikura (salmon roe) that provided all the umami and flavour to the dish. Towards the bottom, there’s a hint of yuzu with the crunchy salmon cartilage. Presented in a lidded yuzu cup, too little to make any impactful impression.
Conger eel sushi, Kinzanji-miso grilled Japanese raw millet gluten
Here’s the sushi dish – a single piece of conger eel sushi 穴子押し寿司 . But the highlight was the miso glazed chestnut gluten 栗麩金山寺味噌田楽.
Miso Dengaku (味噌田楽) is a miso glazed dish and has been around since 1500’s. The name dengaku comes from dengaku boshi (田楽法師), a stilt dancer who performed for the god of rice field during rice planting. Since the skewered tofu resembles dengaku boshi, the dish started to be called Miso Dengaku.
Kinzanji–miso 金山寺味噌 is a traditional fermentation food which is made from soy beans, barley, rice and several vegetables and is a special product of Yuasa in Kisyu (Wakayama) . About 770 years ago in 1249, a monk, Kakushin of Koukoku-ji Temple had learned how to make that miso at Kinzanji Temple in china and come back to teach Buddhism to the people by using how to make that miso in Yuasa since the water of Yuasa was good.
秋味白和え 柿 零余子 クコの実
Dressed persimmon, propagule with smoothened tofu
零余子 (むかご, propagule or mukago potato) is a very interesting tuber. Tiny mukago potatoes, botanically classified as Dioscorea japonica, are the small, aerial tubers of the yamaimo, or Japanese yam plant. The yamaimo is known as the mountain potato and is best known for its large underground tuber which can take up to three or four years to mature. Tiny mukago potatoes are the edible, aerial bulbils that appear annually and grow on the vine of the plant. Once harvested, they are planted to grow more yamaimo root or are utilized as a food source. Tiny mukago potatoes are also known as Potato Bulbs, Potato Buds, Yam Berries and Yam Nuts. They are considered to be a delicacy in Japan and found in autumn.
The overall texture of this dish is quite strange – it does not have the smooth texture of grated yamaimo although the taste is similar. It is more like eating a spoonful of milo powder, which the overall taste is like a smoky tofu-rice cake dish. Served in a persimmon bowl with sweetness provided from pressed persimmon. Can’t say I enjoyed it – definitely very seasonal.
3/ 吸物 soup
土瓶蒸し 松茸 しんじょ 鶏つみれ 三つ葉 酢橘
Dobin-mushi, Matsutake mushroom, chicken meatball and mitsuba with sudachi citrus
Next up, the suimono course. Dobin mushi is a traditional Japanese seafood broth, steamed and served in a dobin tea pot with shrimp, chicken, soy sauce, lime, and matsutake mushroom. Tonight, we were treated to some very tasty chicken meatball, traditional fish cake called しんじょ shinjo and Matsutake mushroom – so they have not departed very far from tradition.
At first I was surprised to see the sngkan (酸柑) that we used a lot in Southeast Asai. But upon tasting, there wasn’t the fragrance that came with sngkan. Sudachi citrus (酢橘) is a small, round, green citrus fruit of Japanese origin that is a specialty of Tokushima Prefecture in Japan. It is a sour citrus, not eaten as fruit, but used as food flavoring in place of lemon or lime.
To drink the soup, you just pour the broth into the tea cup provided. You may add the sudachi into the tea pot direct, but for me, I like to add into the tea cup so I can enjoy may facade of the soup. Open the tea pot lid, you can then enjoy the ingredients.
4/ 造り sashimi
Next up, the tsukuri or otsukuri (お造り) course that is a sliced dish of sashimi. Also known as the mukozuke (向付) course and served as the third course, I am surprised it came after the soup.
Sea bream and tuna
Two slices each of the sea bream and tuna that are of the highest quality, I find it was just too little. As a palate cleanser, a cube of yuzu jelly was provided.
灸り鰹焼霜造り 茗荷 貝割大根 なだ万わさびクリーミードレッシング
Salad of bonito and vegetables with Nadaman creamy wasabi dressing
And a seasonal fish, bonito was served on a bed of salad with Nadaman’s own special wasabi mayo sauce.
5/ 煮物 simmered dish
米茄子オランダ煮 利休餡掛け 海老おかき揚げげ 塩昆布
Eggplant with white sesame paste, deep-fried shrimp and salt kelp
The nimono course is simmered dish served in a lidded bowl.
I was not a fan of eggplant (another autumn food), especially cooked in stock and mushy kind. Crunchy bits of shrimp kaarage acted like croutons in the simmered dish. The white sesame bean paste smothered over the eggplant was savoury and the only flavour profile of the course.
6/ 焼物 grilled dish
The yakimono course came in two parts – a grilled rose fish with a fried pacific saury.
銀だら西京焼 菊花大根 公孫樹カステラ
Saikyo-miso grilled rose fish, daikon radish and gingko castella cake
The daikon has been carved into a lovely chrysanthemum flower. The miso-grilled gindara (sablefish, similar to the cod) was a perennial favourite, very lightly marinated with white miso. The interesting addition was the gingko castella cake, a sweet component to the savoury dish.
Castella is a popular Portuguese sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup. Now a specialty of Nagasaki, the cake was brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century.
Deep-fried pacific saury and green pepper
An autumn fish, sanma has been deep fried and served with shishito pepper.
7/ 食事 rice
栗の釜炊き御飯 薄揚げ 三つ葉 味噌汁 香の物盛り合せ
Steamed rice with chestnut, pickles and miso soup
The final course before the dessert consisted of three standard components – gohan (御飯 rice dish made with seasonal ingredients), kōnomono (香の物 seasonal pickled vegetables) and tomewan (止椀 miso or vegetable soup served with the rice)
My favourite kurigohan (chestnut rice) with an assortment of tsukemono (pickles). One more way to enjoy it was to ask for nori to wrap the rice and chestnut into a maki.
8/ デザート dessert
きな粉プリン 黒蜜 白玉
Pudding of Kinako (roasted soybean flour) with brown sugar syrup and rice flour dumpling
Mochi, sweet red bean and a strange tasting Kinako. Kinako (黄粉 or きなこ), also known as roasted soybean flour, is a product commonly used in Japanese desserts. Didn’t quite enjoy it – I would rather have fruits of the season.
A really lovely dinner, but some of the seasonal stuff are not really to my taste. Nevertheless still my favourite way to enjoy Japanese cuisine.
Kioi Nadaman 紀尾井 なだ万
Japan, 〒102-0094 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Kioicho, 4−1
Tel : +81-3-3265-7591
Date Visited : Sep 2019