Kaiseki is a meal obsessed with etiquette as timing, presentation, and tableware are as highly regarded as the food itself. The Japanese haute cuisine usually has stiff criteria to adhere to but I guess this being lunch, it was a fairly casual affair.
The 7-course lineup was incredibly light; save for one dish, the other dishes were simply prepared, perhaps to reflect the fuss free nature of summer.
To get things started, we worked our way up the flavour continuum slowly with two appetizers, a mini cube of peanut mousse and kinjisou vegetables lightly boiled with dashi sauce.
Seemingly innocuous at first, the curd-like peanut mousse bore an unmistakable nutty earthy flavour that lingered over the kinjisou vegetables.
A bowl of clear soup arrived shortly thereafter, filled with 2 incredibly chewy prawn balls and vegetables.
Sashimi was included within the menu and I was given two kinds of sashimi -maguro and hamachi; though they weren’t my favourite fish (salmon and meikajiki), both were sufficiently fresh.
I was all ready for our simmered dish when it arrived. A deep fried pumpkin cake stuffed with minced chicken, partially submerged in brown starchy sauce. I loved this dish as the cake felt delicately bread crumbed and fried, and sweetness of the pumpkin was plain outstanding.
My sister's weekend special menu included tempura and I stole a bite of her prawn tempura that had a light wispy fritter coating.
After the delectable pumpkin cake, a teriyaki-glazed grilled yellow jack was served, accompanied by a thumb-sized grilled eggplant that had been smeared with miso paste. The yellow jack was a very meaty white fish but when it comes to the grill, I like my oily-omegea-filled fish like cod and mackerel.
Almost towards the end, I was given a rice dish. Simmered baby sardines stirred through steamed rice, served with sancho soya sauce, miso soup and pickles; by then, I was started to get really hungry and I wolfed the rice down in mere minutes.
For dessert, the pleasantly light and savory cheese mousse was teased silly by the tangy raspberry sauce.
If you are looking for something more substantial, go for the Weekend Special Menu, which has chawanmushi, sushi, assorted tempura, teppenyaki, a rice/ noodle dish and fruits. The service at Nadaman was competent though short of the attentiveness and refinement kaiseki calls for. While this mini kaiseki felt like a prelude to real lunch, kaiseki is an experience I’m keen to replicate- as long as I have a cheeseburger waiting for me at the end.