Hip dining spots are sprouting up at the new extension wing of Plaza Singapura, one of which is Nana’s Green Tea, a Japanese restaurant and matcha (green tea) tea bar. While the brand started out in Tokyo ten years ago, Singapore is its second overseas launch after China.
The interior of this flagship outlet is designed by award-winning architecture firm Kamitopen, featuring modern wooden rectangular frames suspended from the ceiling in a warmly lit setting. It offers a contemporary twist to the traditional Japanese tea ceremony setting. This clever disposition encourages social gatherings, allowing customers to enjoy their meal in their own private space despite being in an open concept space.
Well known in Japan as the “Japanese Starbucks”, Nana’s Green Tea is tailored for the new generation of tea drinkers. An extensive list of Japanese beverages is the menu’s centrepiece, which includes matcha, azuki (red bean), hoji (roasted green tea) and coffee.
Matcha improves our overall well-being, with incredible health benefits to boot. For instance, it boosts the immune system, controls high blood pressure and cholesterol, reduces the risk of diabetes, reduces physical and psychological stress, reduces strokes, improves mood and alertness, reduces bad breath, improves metabolism, supports anti-ageing and more. The only people who are advised to avoid matcha are pregnant ladies, especially in the first trimester.
The matcha float is essentially matcha latte topped with matcha ice cream. The good quality matcha is evident in its rich flavour. It would be perfect with less ice, or if the ice cubes were replaced with frozen matcha, so that the drink doesn’t end up unduly diluted by the time you get to the last sip.
For a skinnier option, the thin matcha green tea has no milk or sugar.
The matcha soft cream slushy really belongs more to the desserts than beverages menu. It is topped with soft-serve vanilla ice cream, which is the only thing I enjoy in this beverage. The ice bits in the matcha are too coarse, thus making it less slurp-friendly.
Hoji-cha is a Japanese green tea that is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal, as opposed to the usual Japanese tea that’s steamed. The Hoji soft cream latte has a slightly caramelised and smoky flavour to it. I find that the beverages here tend to be less sweet.
Ala carte items
To further enhance the theme of the restaurant, Japanese cuisine is given a modern interpretation. There is a varied range of food items to complement the signature drinks.
The salmon carpaccio is highly recommended amongst the starters. Fresh salmon is accompanied by a fragrant sesame-soya salad dressing, sprinkled with fresh stalks of daikon sprouts.
If you prefer tuna, go for the maguro carpaccio which is done with the same dressing and topping.
The prawn & broccoli salad comprises boiled prawns, broccoli and corn in miso, drizzled with a peach-coloured mayonnaise dressing. The prawns would be lacklustre on their own if not for the dressing.
For the mains, there are udon noodles and rice options. For something healthful and lighter on the palate, go for the waka tama udon with fresh seaweed and perfectly poached eggs in a light broth, garnished with spring onion.
The mushi-dori goma dare udon boasts steamed chicken fillets in Nana’s special sesame sauce, topped with boiled broccoli and fresh cucumber. The secret sesame sauce makes this dish highly irresistible.
The salmon udon with cream sauce is a personal favourite. It comes with tender chunks of salmon, broccoli and corn kernels, doused in a sweet-savoury cream sauce speckled with hints of sesame. Highly appetising!
For something more flavourful, order the ebi fried curry udon. The curry broth is rich without being cloying. The prawns fare much better here — breaded and deep-fried.
Moving on to the rice options, every don is served with a side of miso soup. The chicken cutlet curry don is highly appetising.
For the health-conscious, the salmon & maguro don comprises soy marinated sashimi served atop Japanese rice, garnished with sesame, nori, Japanese pickled ginger, spring onion and daikon sprouts, and a final spatter of mayonnaise sauce on the side. This dish is not particularly outstanding, and there seems to be too much rice for the amount of fish included.
The unagi mabushi don comprises grilled soy-marinated eel served over warm Japanese rice, embellished with sesame, nori and spring onion. While the sweet-savoury flavour of the eel is exceptionally delectable, the only gripe would be the small portion. Given the portion, I feel the price is a tad on the high side. Again, there’s too much rice for the amount of eel served.
The chicken nanban don has crispy deep-fried chicken fillet laden on warm Japanese rice, accompanied by lettuce, tomato, corn, spring onion and tartar sauce. The chicken is nicely tender with a crisp coating. The bountiful ingredients make it more satisfying than the preceding dishes.
For dessert, the matcha “Gateaux Chocolat” parfait is highly recommended. It offers a medley of textures with complementing flavours. Starting at the bottom of the glass is a layer of kanten jelly and matcha syrup, followed by soft-serve vanilla ice cream, corn flakes for crunch, and finally a scoop of matcha ice cream, matcha gateaux chocolate cake, red bean paste, whipped cream and a drizzle of matcha syrup. The matcha gateaux chocolate cake is a highlight; it tastes good enough to stand on its own.
Lunch Set Giveaway!
Nana’s Green Tea is implementing a special lunch set in February 2013. For the price of S$13.90++, customers will get a matcha drink and a choice of main course.
To tie in with the promotion, Sparklette is giving away the Nana’s Green Tea lunch set to 5 lucky Facebook fans.
This giveaway ends on February 6, 2013 (2359 hours Singapore time). Good luck!
The Atrium @ Orchard, Plaza Singapura
60B Orchard Road #03-80/82
Tel: +65 6684 4312
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm daily