Crabmeat masala with grapefruit; best of east meets west
Tandoori chicken and paneerthat were too dry
Naan with eggplant curry
Available daily till end of this month, Nirvana New York in Midtown is offering a one and a half hour of all-you-can-drink champagne happy hour. Be sure to book early as all that free-flowing effervescence is best enjoyed on their outdoor terrace which offers unblocked view of the vast Hinoki Machi Park.
Was there over the weekend, nibbling and drinking to my heart's content as I sat watching the daylight fading. I enjoy this particular time of the day very much as the city seemed to recover from the searing heat, with people once again filling up the pavements, hurrying to get to their next destination.
With the night moving in and us getting more and more tipsy by the minute, we decided to go for some proper food. First up was an appetiser of crabmeat masala. Was uncertain with this choice initially as I was afraid that the spices would be overpowering. Turned out my fears were unfounded. The dish was nicely presented with the sweetness of the crabmeat coming through beautifully. The addition of grapefruit segments was ingenious as it gave the whole dish a tangy twist. The tandoori chicken and paneer on the otherhand were most disappointing, dry and tasteless. The last dish of naan and eggplant curry was decent enough though nothing to go ga-ga over.
To be honest, I think the pull factors for Nirvana are in their cushy outdoor terrace and happy hour. If judged purely on their food, I would say nay...
Nirvana New York
Address: 9-7-4 Akasaka, 1F Garden Terrace Tokyo Midtown, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan Telephone: 03-5647-8305 Michelin: None
Very pleasing combo of lettuce with smelts and fried garlic bits
Cold corn potage
Sashimiso fresh and succulent
Flavourful fish soup with loads of exotic veges
Meltingly tender Wagyu steak accompanied by pickled red cabbage which serves as a palate cleanser
Refreshing thin noodles in sesame ごま sauce
Tucked almost at the very end of a back alley, Ichii turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. As with most Japanese restaurants, the decor was very minimalist with lots of bamboo and lacquer accent. And save for a couple of soupy dishes, it was almost a one-man show with everything painstakingly prepared at the counter by that one chef whom we were speculating the whole evening if he was wearing a toupee. Poor chap.
Address: 7-18-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan Telephone: 03-3423-8260 Michelin: None
Sure, they come as perfect as any photoshopped celeb but am still a little apprehensive about paying an arm and leg for fruits in Japan. Take for instance, this watermelon. It is as puny as my stretched hand but still command a jaw dropping 700 yen or S$11 which is considered cheap by Japanese standards.