We tasted an authentic ingredient not reflected on Shangri-La Tokyo’s Menu
18 July 2013
This Hana sushi speciality, meticulously placed on my table during my first meal on the streets of Tokyo, impressed me as it resembled the famous Torii gate, symbolic of the Japanese shrine. I knew I just had to share this unique travel experience with you! This is the sumptuous spread by Nadaman Restaurant in Shangri-La Tokyo, which was also what warmed up my family’s first night in the heartland of Japan.
It was a late night, and we had just come from our 3 days’ stay at Tokyo Disneyland. Japan had entered the rainy season, & it was our first visit to Japan, where we were hunting for a good authentic Japanese meal near Tokyo train station. As it was peak hour at 8pm, it was hard to venture against the bustling traffic, plus it had rained the whole evening. Like lost travellers unfamiliar & famished, however, our adventurous spirit was not lost in translation, as we had brought a valuable map from our hometown!
That’s right, we pulled out the concise map printed from Shangri-La Tokyo website. True enough, Shangri-La was just a 2 min’s walk from Yaesu North Exit at metro station. A private elevator at the entrance of the hotel with crystal chandelier lights brought us to Nadaman at doorstep of 29th floor.
It was truly elevated fine Japanese dining at its best: warm ambience of sakura illuminated lights at the entrance, traditional kimono staff & our table overlooking the panoramic view of Tokyo City Skyline. That, to me, was a tribute to the spring season in Japan, in the heart of the Japanese culture not to be missed.
The special ingredient that truly shaped my vacation? It was none other than Shangri-La’s authentic Japanese Hospitality! My family had ordered the speciality “9 pieces of assorted Hana sushi”, but we expressed our concerns of eating raw fish sushi, as we were not used to it. As testament to the Japanese hospitality embedded in Shangri-La’s culture, their thoughtful consideration was expressed in asking us what we would like to substitute it with, & the chef also recommended that he grill the belly tuna & mackerel sushi, which he said was very tasty and we should not give a miss. To top it off, it was an eye opener tasting the Sea Urchin Nigiri Sushi, something not commonly found at Japanese sushi corners or in my hometown in Singapore. It was a good challenge for my taste buds!
With just a picture here, it is truly not enough for me to recount vividly... ... if you can, you must add a few more pages to yours too, by heading to Nadaman when you visit Japan! The delectable red bean brûlée, charcoal-grilled chicken, garlic fried rice, inaniwa udon noodles are a must-try!
We met chief chef, Takehiko Yoshida, as we left Nadaman. He bowed deeply when we thanked him for the delightful meal. I wished I could extend my stay for a few more days, so that I would not miss the exclusive Nadaman Japanese cooking class! This was a rare event only organised at certain occasions, & I'm proud to be a member of Shangri-La, as it is one of the very few hotels which organise culinary events with its world class chefs to share with its hotel patrons. Such a world-class dining experience could only be recreated in Shangri-La.
The next day, my family were treated to the once-in-a-lifetime celebratory Japanese folk song performance at Mount Fuji, only specially put up that day to commemorate Japan's success in making it to the World Heritage Site. We were just in time for this announcement of great news!
One unforgettable feast for the ears was when our tour bus stopped at the Mount Fuji Musical Road, where the Japanese used rumble strips spaced at certain road positions to play a traditional folktune which we could hear without getting off the bus! Along the way, the thick fog miraculously cleared & we could take close up shots of the peak of Mount Fuji.
After a trip around its breathtaking landscape & Lake Ashi River cruise, & the Railway Gondolas that brought us to the Shrines & famous Torii gate, I was left in awe of Japan's geographical splendour & cultural heritage.
Thank you, Shangri-La Tokyo, for making my first impression upon reaching Tokyo streets a pleasant & memorable one!
Count me in for Shangri-La’s Enchanting Excursions to Hakone next round!