Be part of the in-crowd and receive exclusive party invitations and fabulous offers.SIGN UP WITH TATLER
Located on the second floor of the Island Shangri-la, Nadaman’s high ceilings, views of Admiralty, and classic Japanese sushi bars is comfortable, if a tad predictable. The greenery visible from the floor-to-ceilling windows, gold curtains and large suspended orange lampshades offer a feeling of much-needed zen, in a city and neighbourhood that is more often than not devoid of it. Carnivores will flock to the teppanyaki bar, while more pescatarian types will enjoy the quiet sushi bar.
Nadaman is an old-school Japanese institution in Hong Kong. It is perfect for the indecisive, as it offers a whole smorgasbord of Japanese classics, from teppanyaki to tempura; to sushi and udon. One of the highlights of the meal was the chawanmushi, a silkily smooth steamed egg flavoured with just the lightest touch of foie gras and truffles. Normally, those two more robust flavours would overwhelm the dish, but it is perfectly seasoned with utmost restraint at Nadaman. The assorted sashimi platter is not too imaginative, and we found it a bit odd that a restaurant of Nadaman’s calibre would serve something so pedestrian as salmon, but one must keep in mind that it is a fish that will go down easily for much of the restaurant’s diverse clientele. The assorted tempura with a mixture of vegetables, fish and shrimp are enveloped in a light batter, allowing even the devouring of the entire dish to not sit too heavily in the stomach. A more disappointing dish was the wagyu
Sumibiyaki, a charcoal-grilled diced Japanese wagyu beef sirloin that came well-done, when we had unfortunately asked for rare. Doneness aside, the beef is nicely marbled, and we imagine if taken off the grill five minutes earlier, would have been quite a treat.
The wine list at Nadaman is easy to navigate and in a welcome touch, provides recommendations and notes on which wines are compatible with which dishes in some detail. Chardonnay-based champagnes, for example, are recommended with sushi; while a separate pinot noir-based section is suggested for richer dishes. The sake list is similarly informative, with the sake metre value scale provided to give indications of sweetness or dryness.
While acceptable, the service at Nadaman borders on perfunctory. When we had placed our order, we asked for a recommendation of another popular dish, and the waitress suggested we try another wagyu dish, even if we had ordered one. When we asked for a dry sake recommendation, she pointed us towards one that was clearly not very dry. Teacups and sake glasses went mostly unfilled, and there was a very long wait for the beef. Although there was an apology, it did not do much to improve the experience of waiting nearly 20 minutes for our last dish to arrive.
A meal for two with a small bottle of sake comes to about HK$2,500. It’s not overly expensive for a Japanese meal, but the service needs some polishing to justify the price and the location within a five-star hotel.