Historically, Admiralty has always been lacking in Japanese dining options – Pacific Place diners were forced to choose between the über expensive Nadaman and the very mediocre Kikuzen. However that is all changing, with the recent arrival of Roka, and now Shiro. Decked out in stylish black and white, Shiro’s combination of bar and table dining offers good seating choices for both groups and singletons on the go. Reservations made, we arrived at 1pm sharp to find customers spilling out all over the mall, many hovering over the overwhelmed hostess. Ready to throw a hissy fit if our table was not ready, we were surprised to be seated within five minutes, with plenty of (unnecessary) apologies for the delay by the staff.
While most think of Shiro as a sushi bar (they boast fish direct from Tsukiji), there are quite a few choices of cooked dishes, too. We started with a sashimi combination platter ($158), an excellent presentation of sake (salmon), meguro (tuna), hamachi (yellow tail), ama ebi (sweet shrimp), and kampachi, an ocean or farm raised type of yellowtail that is being touted by sushi chefs around the world as the next big thing. While we’ve certainly had tastier cuts at Tsukiji, the selection at Shiro is still extremely fresh, although the meguro was a bit bland. We also prefer kampachi that has been raised in Kona, Hawaii, as it has a sweeter taste and a softer texture.
In the mood for something more filling, we continued with some of the menu’s teishoku (set meals), opting for the teriyaki chicken ($138) and assorted tempura with udon ($168). Our expectations for the teriyaki were low, as this is traditionally a lazy dish for most chefs – broiling a piece of chicken thigh and drizzling sauce over it. But at Shiro it was prepared to perfection: succulent chunks of chicken had been marinated thoroughly in the house teriyaki sauce and then grilled, with their edges slightly burnt by the caramelised soy base sauce. And although it was served with just a miso shiro soup and very plain white rice (may we suggest using at least California calrose if Japanese imported rice is too expensive, but please don’t serve a plain, soggy variety), the chicken deserves full marks.
The tempura platter was solid too, with a mixture of large shrimps, green peppers, shitake with a light batter coating, and an appropriately warm ponchu dipping sauce. The accompanying udon had a thick, chewy texture, but for a classy place such as this we would’ve been more impressed with the Inaniwa variety.
The service was decent considering the wait staff were working non-stop. Requests were swiftly fulfilled and the impressive hostess addressed us by name. However, when the bill came, we were surprised that the tea and rice refills, which usually come complimentary at most fine Japanese restaurants, cost $10 and $20 per person respectively. Apart from that minor inconvenience, though, we will definitely be going back to Shiro. Leslie Chan
Level 1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2155 8066. Daily 11am-11pm. Meal for two without service: $500.
Level 1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty