It had been a while since I last made a visit to Shangri-la Singapore. In a span of a few months, the hotel revamped their Tower Wing, refreshed the lobby and is in the midst of launching a few new food concepts. One of them is Nami, the fine dining Japanese restaurant which opened only on the 31st May 2017.
During my latest visit to the luxury hotel, I went to try the delights of Nami. It has received quite a few great reviews since it opened and I was not disappointed when I went to try it out for myself. The food, put simply, was a pleasure from start to finish.
Entering Nami for the first time, I was greeted by floor to ceiling windows and contemporary fittings, a departure from the dark and sometimes kitschy setups one usually sees elsewhere. The venue itself is not big. There’s a modest terrace where one can dine alfresco style. Inside, the restaurant comprises of a couple of tables and a long sushi bar where diners can watch the chefs in action.
Most write-ups on Nami so far have focused on the omakase set. During my dinner there, we instead attempted to go through the extensive ala carte menu – a run through of essential Japanese dishes including sushi, tempura, noodles, cooked seafood and meat.
We started off with the Assorted Sashimi ($80) plate which is topped with three premium types of sashimi. Nami’s raw seafood is mostly airflown directly from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo and the quality is particularly evident in the chutoro (fatty tuna) which has an almost melt-in-your mouth quality.
The Truffle Chawanmushi ($20) that came next served to tease the palate with the truffle fragrance immediately making itself felt as soon as I opened the lid. The unmistakable aroma complemented the delicate texture of the custard. I was also pleasantly surprised to find some chewy pieces of mochi hidden within.
Of the dishes I tried that evening, my personal favorite was the Tuna Belly Rice with Soft Boiled Egg ($60). The dish could very well be a meal in itself. Wonderfully glutinous short-grain Japanese rice was topped with a copious amount of chopped fatty tuna. There was a distinct sour flavor which reminded me of tartare – a must-try when dining at Nami.
Continuing on with similarly sour elements, the Pan-fried Tuna Head with Chef Akiba’s Sweet Soy Sauce ($60) provides for a good contrast between sour and sweet. If your tastebud inclines to the former, squeeze a bit of lemon into the tuna. The dish is best eaten two ways – first as is in order to appreciate the sweetness and Chef Akiba’s dashi. Second is after squeezing the lemon in order to appreciate that added zest.
Nami has a few recommended specialties which it categorizes as “not to be missed.” One of them is the Sliced Raw Japanese Saga Wagyu Beef Sirloin A4, Kyoto Vegetables and Dashi Broth ($70). It has all your premium ingredients in one bowl, from the uni to the wagyu sirloin beef. It also comes with rice underneath. To top it off, the dish is sprinkled with ikura pearls and truffles for an extra zing. While it may be easy to get carried away with everything else, the highlight is undoubtedly the beef – succulent with every bite.
By this time, I was getting too full to appreciate the Assorted Tempura ($36). Nonetheless, this dish tasted like what one would expect from decent tempura – crispy with greater focus on the meat than the flour – so no surprises here.
I also had Thick White Udon Noodles ($20) on the side. What I loved about the noodles here is how they don’t easily sag and break apart. The mark of good udon is the firmness and chewiness.
The meal was concluded with a highly common dessert – Matcha Ice Cream with azuki red bean ($7). The usual yardstick I use for this is the bitterness of the ice cream and by that measure, it does not disappoint.
Overall, I was quite impressed with Nami. It is probably the best new hotel restaurant I have tried this year. I will certainly be back.
You can check out the menu for Nami at Shangri-la Singapore here (obtained from the hotel):
24/f Shangri-la Hotel Singapore
22 Orange Grove Road
Tel: 6213 4398
Opening Hours: Daily, Noon to 2.30pm, 6 to 10.30pm (restaurant), til midnight (balcony)