During our recent stay at the newly renovated Tower Wing at Shangri-la Hotel Singapore, we were delighted to embark on a gastronomical odyssey at NAMI Restaurant and Bar, a brand new Japanese fine dining establishment with a view (located on level 24 of the same wing). Dinner was going to be a royal feast of authentic and traditional Japanese cuisine created with refinement and precision. The menu is a celebration of Japan’s four seasons, best savoured through gokan – the use of all five senses when dining.
The restaurant is designed to enhance the experience of guests at NAMI by incorporating the refined elegance and simplicity of Japanese design aesthetic with the five key elements of stone, wood, water, trees and wind. We recommend that you arrive before the last light to take in the gorgeous, unblock view of Singapore’s cityscape.
That would also allow you to appreciate the transition as the night falls. The entire restaurant will take on a cosy hue and you will be treated to yet another beautiful view of island’s night lights.
The cornerstone of NAMI is its Head Chef Shigeo Akiba, who hails from the Japanese city of Yokohama. With more than 30 years of culinary experience under his belt, he is first an artist and then an epicurean. Among the highlights of his career is preparing the wedding banquet of Japan’s Prince Akishinomiya and Princess Kiko, and later, their crowning ceremony. He has also had the honour of serving Emperor Akihito when he dined at the Nadaman restaurant in Tokyo.
Additionally, Mr Akiba has worked under Iron Chef Koumei Nakamura for five years as his executive chef. He managed the menus of all five restaurants owned by Nakamura, as well as developed the recipes for the dishes that the celebrity chef presented on the internationally popular cooking show on Fuji Television. Other famous personalities he has cooked for include Japan’s Princess Takamado Hisako, French movie star Sophie Marceau, Japanese-Chinese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh or Wang Chen-Chih and world-renowned Japanese symphony orchestra conductor Seiji Ozawa.
Under the recommendations of Mr Takezumi Ando, our friendly Restaurant Manager, we went for the Omakase ($190) and Sushi Omakase ($220) set. With such rosy credentials, of course, we will leave our dinner in the good hands of our chef. It would be a good idea to order a glass of umeshu while you savour your appetisers and take in the view.
At NAMI, Mr Akiba will bring to the table a recipe for dashi stock like no other – a culmination of his depth of experience, and the usage of superior quality ingredients. The backbone of Japanese cooking, dashi is as important as good knife skills are to sushi and sashimi hence earning its name as the “Broth of Life.” Under Mr Akiba’s direction, the dashi at NAMI will be made using the best kombu and katsuobushi. The former is sourced from the sea off northern Hokkaido, favoured for its sweet, deep, rich, savoury yet clear stock. The latter is from Kyushu, from a producer, Marufuji, that is so fastidious it only selects one piece out of 10,000 to be fermented and aged. The result is a more complex, sweeter flavour, intense fragrance and increased umami.
Under Mr Akiba’s direction, the dashi at NAMI will be made using the best kombu and katsuobushi. The former is sourced from the sea off northern Hokkaido, favoured for its sweet, deep, rich, savoury yet clear stock. The latter is from Kyushu, from a producer, Marufuji, that is so fastidious it only selects one piece out of 10,000 to be fermented and aged. The result is a more complex, sweeter flavour, intense fragrance and increased umami.
Mr Akiba also believes in creating seasonal regional specialities, made in-house from scratch, from ingredients that come air-flown not just from Tsukiji market in Tokyo, but also from Kyushu and Hokkaido – all courtesy of suppliers with whom he has built relationships with for over 30 years. Adopting a minimalist cooking style, he prefers to let the fresh produce weave their magic, instead of masking them with heavy sauces or seasoning. This means that the very sashimi we are tasting that evening were fresh from Tsukiji marketing on the same morning!
Some of NAMI’s signature dishes were served in our omakase sets, this includes Pan-Fried Tuna Head with Chef Akiba’s Sweet Soy Sauce ($60),
We truly enjoyed our dinner at NAMI Restaurant and Bar. If you are keen to pay them a visit as well, here are the full details:
NAMI Restaurant and Bar
Address: Level 24, Tower Wing, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 2.30pm (Lunch at Restaurant & Terrace), 6pm – 10.30pm (Restaurant) or 6pm – 12mn (Terrace) | Seating Capacity: 96 guests with two private rooms for 6 and 10 guests, respectively | Tel: (65) 6213 4398 | Email: [email protected]