Intricate, subtle yet sophisticated. These words not only describe the beautiful traditional dishes of Shirogane Nishida but the character of the master chef himself. With a passion to present the best of Fukuoka with an impressive culinary resume, Chef Shingo Nishida brings the region’s seasonal flavors to life.
After years of training with top kitchens, Nishida opened his small little restaurant in the center of his hometown of Fukuoka, just by the bustling Nakasu district. As you turn onto the quiet street, you spot a building with a cream yellow wall with no windows or signs. By the open entryway, you notice a little foot lamp with the restaurant’s name, and a small bamboo window that leads you to the hidden door. Beautifully minimalist, you are quietly drawn into to the still space.
A long counter made of smooth gingko wood stretches across the room. The interior appears simple but is full of intricate details like strips of bamboo mounted on the corner of the ceiling. There is a lovely private room in the back for families or groups to enjoy their time together. To extend a warm welcome, the chef himself arranges all the vases of fresh flowers you can find around the restaurant.
“I try to put myself in the guest’s shoes,” Nishida says. “It helps me to come up with ideas that make their experience special.”
Intricate, subtle yet sophisticated.
Shirogane Nishida’s cuisine is authentic Japanese, focusing on seasonal delicacies found around Kyushu Island.
The very first dish is symbolic of what the restaurant is all about. Placed in front of each guest is a ceramic sake grail, decorated with the chef’s family crest. Into the flat grails, he gently pours freshly-brewed ichiban dashi—the first broth being the most important component of Japanese cooking. The broth is infused with umami of kombu seaweed and two kinds of bonito flakes. The aromatic liquid fills up your nose with a deep scent of the seas, slowly warming your empty stomach.
Each of the nine courses that follow is created with aroma and balance in mind. The simple rules, such as how the hot dishes should be served quickly while the cold dishes should be chilled to the very end, guarantee the quality of the cuisine at Shirogane Nishida. To make sure every guest receives the attention they deserve, Nishida chose to keep his restaurant small.
At centerstage of the menu are local Kyushu produce, which he serves with great pride, especially to international guests who have traveled so far to the region. For every ingredient, he thinks about the cut, temperature and many other variables to make sure he can bring out the best of its flavor.
We start with a beautiful appetizer that is both cooling to the eye and the tongue. Served in a thin glass bowl are colorful summer vegetables, kuruma shrimp and sea urchin. They sit on top of a bed of dashi jelly and crushed ice. Next comes an assortment of fresh local sashimi, served on a plate with gorgeous paintings of green maple leaves. The day’s catch were flatfish, aori squid and sea urchin, each bursting with fresh flavors. They are served with two kinds of sauces, one made of Jokyu soy sauce, wasabi and bonito broth, and the other is called Irisake, an old Edo-period dipping sauce recipe.
Served in a classic black lacquer bowl, the soup is an orchestra of different seasonal aromas with crab cake, fried hakata aubergine, jellyfish and green yuzu citrus. The black abalone from Karatsu is simply divine. The pieces of abalone are so soft after they’ve been steamed over 5 hours in sake and water. Drizzled with dark kimo-joyu (soy sauce with guts), every bite is creamy, aromatic and full of umami.
The main grill dish is an unusual but delicious combination of two ingredients. On the right are strips of charcoal grilled Amakusa beef, served with some fresh wasabi and a small chilled tomato. On the left are pieces of wild Japanese eel, drizzled with sweetened soy sauce. Both are cooked to perfection. Even simple white rice becomes an unforgettable dish at Shirogane Nishda. The rice is slow cooked in Arita yaki donabe, a ceramic Japanese tagine, that keeps a perfect balance of moisture and heat inside. Nishida uses couple of selected brands such as Koshihikari grains from Uonuma or Hinohikari from Saga. Rice is served with a trio of toppings: mentaiko (spicy pollock roe), salted kombu seaweed, and dried white baits with sansho berries.
For seafood such as abalone, sea urchin and shrimp, Nishida buys directly from local ports around the Kyushu Island. The homemade mentaiko, spicy pollock roe, is marinated with local seaweed and yuzu citrus for an elegant flavor. You can buy them as gift to take home from the restaurant.
The chef insists that his staff tastes the food that will be served to the guests every day. Every piece of fish or vegetable is different so knowing the day’s flavor is important. He makes sure that his apprentice understand how important ingredients are. Without good ingredients, there is no good cuisine.
To reflect the wide clientele, including those from overseas, the restaurant collects a range of sake, both famous brands as well as new and rare finds. A local favorite, Kuroryu, or Black Dragon, has a sharp and clean note that complements with Nishida’s delicate cuisine. The wine list is also diverse, starting with famous Champagnes to some boutique vineyards. Among their favorites are wines from Kenzo Estate in Napa, California, offering a series of unique wines such as Rindo, Asuka and Asatsuyu.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000