A visit to Nami is inevitably marked by grandeur. There’s the gorgeous lobby of the Shangri-La Hotel and the lush flora of its feature wall. There’s the view from the restaurant’s 24th storey top perch, offering a rare panorama of residential Orchard.
There’s also the expansive feel from the restaurant’s lofty pitched roof and the way natural light floods the space. For all that, you might expect to pay through the nose for a meal but prices are surprisingly reasonable, starting at $110 for the eight-course Nami omakase set at lunch.
Helming the new fine-dine destination is Head Chef Shigeo Akiba, who once served Japan’s Emperor Akihito. Like many of his Japanese culinary peers, chef Akiba strives to give a sense of seasonality through his food. Take for instance a tofu starter that has been suffused with the vegetal sweetness of the white asparagus ─ a unique yet thoroughly Japanese way of cherishing the white asparagus season. For textural play, he adds a fat lobe of uni for creaminess and barely cooked leeks for a snap.
Nor does chef Akiba shy away from painting bold strokes. His Pan-Fried Tuna Head makes a strong case for venturing beyond your comfortable routine of sticking to beef for the main course.
Because that unctuous slab of tuna cheek, beautifully crisp outside from a flash in the pan, and gloriously unctuous and supple and buttery within, will give wagyu steaks a good run for the money. All you’ll need is a squirt of lemon, or better yet, a bubbly glass of mikan (a Japanese citrus) aragoshi ─ that’s sake laced with fresh fruit puree ─ to rejuvenate the palate.
Nami Restaurant and Bar, Level 24 Tower Wing, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road, tel: 6213-4398