If there’s a McD for kaiseki, it would be Nadaman. Singaporean who knew their kaiseki would remember Nadaman なだ万 in Shangri-La. I went to another one in Shinagawa in a recent visit after two and half years away from Japan.
This historical Japanese restaurant was established in 1830, the first year of the Tempo era by Nadaya Mansuke in Osaka. In recent years, they have expanded to many locations around Japan, and this particular branch at Prince Takanawa hotel has a spacious interior with 245 seats and over 990 square meters looking out on a beautiful Japanese garden.
御献立 The Autumn Menu
Today’s menu was inspired by the offerings of autumn. Autumn in Japan is thought of as “the season of hearty appetites” “shokuyoku no aki”.
The Head Chef at this Nadaman is Aichi-Prefecture born 鈴木晴智 Harutoshi Suzuki. After joining Nagoya Nadaman, he worked as Head Chef of Hong Kong Island Nadaman, the deputy Head Chef of Tokyo Nadaman, and Head Chef of Nadaman Shiodome 47, and became the head chef of the Takanawa Prime in 2016 when it opened.
1/ 先付 Appetisers
宮崎牛梨包み Pear wrapped with Miyazaki beef
An appetiser that was pretty to look and equally delicious. Two thin slices of 宮崎牛 Miyazaki beef served raw wrapped around 梨 Japanese pear that has been julienned. It rested on top of a piece of 春菊ムース chrysanthemum mousse (why is it green?) that was surrounded by コンソメゼリー consommé jelly.
All the flavours and umami were in the jelly, so you have to scoop the jelly with the mousse and eat them with the beef. The rest of the accompaniments like 温玉正油漬 boiled egg pickled in soy sauce, 針胡瓜 shredded cucumber and decorated with 花穗 edible flowers.
生雲丹と法蓮草煮浸し Boiled spinach with raw sea urchin
It is usually the simplest looking dish that has the most complex flavours. The humble spinach has a very pretty Japanese name 法蓮草 horenso, which in Kanji means “Holy Lotus Grass”. It was boiled in dashi and served with raw sea urchin, which also has pretty Japanese name (雲丹 uni) which means “cloudy balls”. For extra crunch, finely shredded squid was deep fried and topped on the mount of spinach-uni-spinach. The chef had carefully not let the 揚げするめいか deep fried squid get wet from the dashi.
2/ 前菜 Zensai
The chef has stuck to tradition when it comes to the second course of the kaiseki Also known as 八寸 Hassun (literally “eight inch”), this course sets the seasonal theme. Traditionally served on a square dish measuring eight inches on each side.
Typically one kind of sushi and several smaller side dishes, I didn’t manage to find out why it almost always ended up with eight items.
- 秋鯖小袖ずし Autumn mackerel kosode sushi – 小袖 Kosode refers to the short-sleeves kimono introduced in the Hosei period, and is used to described this style of sushi that resembled a kimono sleeve with shari (sushi rice) wrapped by the vinegared 秋鯖 autumn mackerel and were smaller than usual.
- 海老あられ揚げ Deep-fried shrimp – a piece of 海老 shrimp deep fried using the あられ揚げ kaarage style instead of tempura. Kaarage is a flavoured breading that used for coating proteins like chicken. A favourite of children in my household.
- 粟麩田楽 Millet gluten dengaku – if there’s one thing I don’t like from Japan, it’s 田楽 dengaku. Dengaku (which literally means “happy fields”) refers to the miso-glaze that is often smeared on grilled eggplant and is associated to rice planting festivals and celebrations. Here it is smeared on a piece of grilled 粟麩 millet gluten.
- 銀杏むかご松葉刺 Ginkgo Mukago Matsuba needle – むかご Mukago, which look and taste like slightly bitter pea-sized potatoes are actually the tiny aerial tubers (or bulbils) of the yamaimo (Japanese yam) plant. Skilfully skewered together with a roasted 銀杏 ginkgo nut using a 松葉刺 Matsuba pine needle.
- 板真丈呂焼 Itamae Take ryo-sho – It looked like a piece of kamaboko (Japanese fish cake), but it’s a traditional Kaiseki ingredient originating from the temples of Kyoto.
- ピメント砧巻 Pimento rolled with radish kinuta – 砧巻 Kinuta is a table made of wood or stone that is used to beat and soften cloth, and this name is used for this dish in which the material is wrapped in the shape of a wooden mallet used to beat the kinuta.
- 紋甲烏賊炙り 柚子味噌ドレッシング Broiled kisslip cuttlefish with yuzu miso dressing – 紋甲烏賊 Kisslip cuttlefish displays beautiful tiger stripes when agitated and is often used as a sashimi/sushi ingredient for its crunchy texture and natural sweetness.
- 富有柿生ハム巻 Fuyu persimmon wrapped with prosciutto – Fuyu persimmon 富有柿 from 和歌山県 Wagamama Prefecture was in season and is a highly sought-after variety among the persimmons.
3/ 御椀 Soup Course
のっぺい仕立 Noppei soup
のっぺい仕立 Noppei soup is a traditional soup from 佐賀県 Saga Prefecture. It is eaten at both daily gatherings and celebrations, but in the past chicken was only added during celebrations, and mushrooms and burdock roots were used for Buddhist services.
The highlights of this course were the house-made 鰯つみれ sardine fish ball simmered in a beautiful dashi with 丹後小芋 baby yam (taro) from Tango, Kyoto, cooked in a stew with 舞茸 maitake mushroom, 滑子 nameko mushroom, man-made 紅葉人参 carrot shaped like autumn leaves, and topped with 芽葱 julienned leek and 針柚子 shredded yuzu zest for aroma and refreshing, tangy taste.
I finished everything needless to say. And then you can appreciate this beautiful lacquered bowl.
4/ 造り Sashimi Course
紅葉鯛焼霜造り Madai (red sea bream) with broiled skin and presented like an autumn leave 燻製梅正油 Smoked Plum Soy Sauce
The presentation of the first of two sashimi was immaculate. The red skin of 真鯛 madai was broiled and skilfully cut to look like fallen autumn leaves. The dip was made from a sweet plum sauce that reminded me of how Teochew would eat our raw fish as well. The way the sashimi was sliced reminded of the Teochew carp sashimi as well.
本鮪中トロ Medium fatty tuna belly 鰆焼霜 Spanish mackerel 甘海老 Sweet obi
あしらい Ashari is a traditional Japanese plating technique that makes the food look more delicious and gorgeous. The chef has spent a lot of effort to make sure both sashimi were appetising, pleasing to the eyes as well as the palates.
本鮪中トロ Chutoro is the medium fatty belly of the Bluefin tuna, and is a prized item in a sushi-ya.
焼霜 Yakishimo is a technique a fish with the skin on is prepared for sashimi, the skin is grilled over an open flame and immediately cooled with cold water. It removes the fishy smell and excess fat, and intensifies the flavour. It is especially suitable for autumn fish like madai (sea bream) and sawara (Spanish mackerel) when they are at their fattest.
5/ 煮物 Simmered Course
のどくろちり蒸し Steamed nodoguro
のどぐろ Nodoguro is known as blackthroat sea perch; its texture is soft and buttery, and when steamed will simply melt in your mouth. Peak season is autumn/winter and wild-caught on the coast of Japan. It is one of the more expensive fish in the market.
The accompaniments lost all their lustre with this luxurious piece of fish; steamed pieces of 豆腐 tofu, 白菜 cabbage, 大黒占地 honshimeiji mushroom and 白葱 leek, simply flavoured with 薬味 condiments (mainly soy sauce) and ちり酢あん chirizu.
6/ 燒物 Grilled Course
黑毛和牛炭火燒 Charcoal-grilled black wagyu beef
The highlight of this course is the wagyu beef. They simply melt-in-your-mouth. There’s only so many ways to describe the deliciousness of wagyu, and it doesn’t matter whether the wagyu used was branded like Miyazaki or Ohmi, or simply a local 黒毛和種 Kuroge Washu known as Japanese Black.
It came with three condiments – 大蒜醤油 Garlic soy sauce, わさび wasabi and 沖縄の塩 Okinawan salt. I prefer the wasabi and salt combination. Nothing else is needed to adulterate the blissful taste of wagyu in one’s mouth.
Among the side dishes provided were grilled pieces of an assortment of vegetables; 丸十 maruju or sweet potato, 蓮根 lotus roots, アスパラ asparagus, and fresh クレソン watercress to garnish the beef.
大葉椎茸二身焼 Oba shiitake mushroom futamiyaki
Hidden among the side dishes was half a piece of 大葉椎茸二身焼 Oba shiitake mushroom futamiyaki. 二身焼 Futamiyaki is an elaborate dish of prepared shiitake mushrooms stuffed with minced meat or seafood, in this case with oba (perilla leaf) and minced prawn. Delicious.
7/ 食事 Main Course
握り寿司盛り合わせ Nigiri sushi moriawase
Instead of the usual rice and soup, the chef decided to end the meal with 握り三貫 three pieces of nigiri, and 卷物二貫 two pieces of maki. This was the only unmemorable course of the evening as the sushi was just ordinary. The maki was made with tuna belly, but that’s it.
Miso soup often reflects the mother’s taste, because every mother in Japan would have her own recipe or mix of miso, and most Japanese would started their own family would remember this unique taste. This particular 赤出し Akadashi hails from Nagoya and we come full circle to the roots of Chef Suzuki’s first outing with Nadaman.
8/ デザート Dessert
本日のデザート Today’s dessert
The dessert of the day was matcha creme brûlée with golden kiwi and Hokkaido milk ice cream. A sweet ending.
Kaiseki is always about letting the chef amazes you with the freshest ingredients of the season and a wide variety of techniques and flavours within the 2-3 hours of Japanese fine dining.
Everything comes into play when it is kaiseki – the surrounding, the service, the presentation of the courses – every little detail is there to elevate the enjoyment of the meal.
While this was a great meal, it has become quite run-of-mill kaiseki restaurant for the tourist class. There was no more excitement and surprises. Nadaman has to up its game to wow the discerning gourmets or else they will vote by going somewhere else. Then it would really be just relying on the tourists.
Nadaman Takanawa Prime なだ万高輪プライム
The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo, Autograph Collection
Japan, 〒108-8612 Tokyo, Minato, Takanawa, 3 Chome−13−１
ザ・プリンス さくらタワー東京 3階
Tel : +81 3-6447-7788
Visited Nov 2022
#nadaman #なだ万 @nadaman_official