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Located in the basement of the Kowloon Shangri-La, Nadaman’s clean lines, bamboo motifs and subdued timber-based décor make it clear that it's a Japanese restaurant. The seating area is divided into several zones – freestanding tables in the middle, banquettes, sushi bar and teppanyaki table, as well as a number of private rooms, including a tatami room. There is enough space between tables to retain some privacy but when filled, the room still feels lively.
The standard selection of sushi includes twelve different pieces (apart from egg, which was doubled up). The quality of the seafood is good, although the dish could benefit from more attention to detail, for instance, a slice of fish might have a small, pea-sized offcut dangling from the side. The sushi rice is also a little too packed together – it should be squeezed together just enough so that the grains just adhere to each other, and could still easily fall apart if picked up clumsily – these parcels are much more resilient. The grilled ox tongue is well done, with good bite and juiciness, and the vegetables on the side, in particular the shiitake mushrooms, were perfectly grilled. The batter of the Japanese whiting fish tempura seems heavy, and doesn’t make the light, crispy frills on the edges, making the pieces seem stodgy. Kinki fish from Hokkaido is a delicacy, and here it is simmered in a rather sweet homemade sauce and served on a small bed of silky tofu. The flavour of the fish itself is delicate and you can taste the freshness, but the sauce has a tendency to overpower these subtle flavours. The sukiyaki with Australian wagyu can be made tableside or in the kitchen, and we would recommend watching the expert staff making it tableside as it adds to the experience. The ingredients are all excellent and the beef is sliced to a perfect thickness, retaining enough texture but not too difficult to cook in a sukiyaki pot.
A small range of medium priced wines are offered and all are also available by the glass, but perhaps more fitting is the selection of Japanese wines – sake and shochu. The sake list makes a good introduction to the world of Japanese liquor, and helpfully lists the degree of polishing on the rice, as well as alcohol content, origin and so on. While there are no tasting notes, staff are well versed in the list and can make recommendations.
The service is faultless – neither intrusive or absent, glasses are kept filled, dishes are cleared and served at appropriate times – they are there when you need them and gone when you don’t, and the job is always done with ease and a smile.
A meal for two could easily run you over HK$2,000 if you order delicacies like Japanese wagyu or kinki, but the prices are acceptable for premium ingredients.