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Shiki at the InterContinental: Adelaide, Australia

By:
Joanna Hall
 

We’ve had the pleasure of travelling to Japan many times, enjoying a variety of experiences unique to this amazing country. Some of the most memorable, however, surround its fascinating cuisine. We’ve tried pretty much everything, from the freshest sashimi from a hole-in-the-wall at Tokyo’s legendary Tsukiji Fish Market, to the finest cuisine of sumo wrestlers, but a favourite remains classic teppanyaki, as much for the show in food production as the cuisine itself.

Finding a quality venue for this outside of Japan can be difficult, but if you’re in Adelaide you won’t be disappointed by Shiki at the luxury hotel, InterContinental. The hotel straddles the River Torrens in the heart of the city, complete with grand public areas, elegant bars, and is handy for the Adelaide Casino, Adelaide Festival Centre, the Adelaide Oval for cricket fans, and North Terrace’s many other attractions. In recent years it’s become famous for a number of things including High Coffee, a delectable coffee journey featuring a variety of savoury treats, sweets, and an indulgent Espresso Martini. Shiki’s award-winning authentic Japanese teppanyaki, however, is the stuff of legends, and one of Adelaide’s most acclaimed Japanese restaurants since it opened in 1988.

The Location And Decor

The restaurant is tucked away on the mezzanine level of the atrium, with a decor which fuses classic Japanese with the contemporary modern feel of the overall hotel. There’s a lovely mix of warm and dark wood, fine china and glassware, elegant Japanese style partitions, moody lighting without being too dark, and bags of attention to detail.

If you’re not familiar with teppanyaki, it’s a traditional Japanese cuisine with the name derived from the word “teppan” which means iron plate and “yaki” which means grilled, and covers a gamut of ingredients from vegetables and noodles to prawns and steak. It is not a dining experience that is rushed; part of the allure is watching your chef, his knife slicing and dicing, and his cooking skills, as your meal is prepared. It is also very much a personal and engaging dining experience, as well as one during which you are consulted and can be involved.

As a result of its unique style, diners sit around teppanyaki “stations”, which are shared with around 10-14 other people, rather than tables on their own. Between you and the chef in the middle of the “island” is a flat hot grill, so you have your very own open kitchen to watch all the action, and be served the freshest food. The staff are typically authentic - super polite, and attentive without being intrusive - and the chefs are characters who are not just skilled at cooking, but are also putting on a flamboyant show.

The Menu

Shiki recently won Best Japanese Restaurant at the 2014 Restaurant and Catering South Australia Awards for Excellence, and when you dine here it’s easy to see why. All of its chefs are trained by Chef de Cuisine, Kenny Trinh, from the preparation of the food to the visual showmanship that makes teppanyaki such a favourite. When it comes to what to eat, however, that’s the first problem; there is so much to choose from!

You have a choice of ordering à la carte, from a selection of appetisers, tempura, sushi, nigiri sushi, sashimi, and teppanyaki including seafood, fish and meat, or ordering from a range of set menus which offer multiple courses of signature dishes. We enjoyed a Hanabi set menu of seven courses plus tea or coffee at the end, which offered a combination of normal dishes and ones cooked teppanyaki style.

It began with a selection of mouthwateringly fresh local sashimi, including Tasmanian Atlantic salmon and South Australia kingfish with a sesame soy dressing, followed by lightly deep fried tempura prawns served with a dashi sauce. Next came delicate steamed bug tails in thyme, spruced up by a brief flip on the grill, and served with truffle infused butter, followed by the most tender Mt Gambier beef tenderloin steak cooked and served with green peppercorns. Following a short break - there is a lot of food so don’t forget to bring your appetite - we moved on to the freshest sautéed broccolini with a light soy butter sauce, and soft fried udon noodles with Clare Valley chicken leg meat served with sweet tonkatsu sauce.

Finally, after another short break, we managed to find a tiny space for a shared desert; a passionfruit and azuki bean crème brûlée, followed by coffee. As for the wine list, it featured an impressive lineup of options by the bottle and the glass, naturally with an emphasis on Australian wines, and in particular locally produced varieties from South Australia. There was also a healthy range of Sake from various regions of Japan including Kyoto and Hokkaido, ranging in price from moderate to more rare and expensive.

Leaving the restaurant with a pleasant combination of full stomachs and highly entertained, it is easy to see why Shiki has been such a big hit with culinary pundits in Adelaide and beyond for so long. And it’s also comforting to know that if you’re in town for a visit, whether to enjoy a long weekend, to watch the cricket or participate in the arts, if you’re also seeking an authentic Japanese teppanyaki experience, it’s here to be enjoyed.

Shiki is located at the InterContinental Hotel Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide,

South Australia, Tel: +61 (0)8 8238 2400, www.icadelaide.com.au/dining/shiki/

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