Nama Nama

Nama Nama
31 Spring St, Melbourne, Australia
03 9639 9500

Twitter was abuzzed with tweets and food porn of Nama Nama in the recent weeks and that piqued my foodie radar, and although I work fairly far from Nama Nama, I had to get there and try it out myself.

I got there quite early the first time and parked myself at one of the benches overlooking Flinders Lane.  I was right next to where they had the EFTPOS /order machine and kept getting bumped everytime they opened the cabinet. :(

The menu is huge in size, but not huge in variety.  The menu is separated into 4 categories: udon, buns, bento and dessert.  I have heard a lot about their pork katsu buns but as it was a cold winter’s day, I decided to choose wagyu beef udon w extra egg ($15 + $2 for the egg).

My udon came pretty quickly, with a boiled egg with shell on a little plate.  I was immediately mystified: is this a hard boiled egg? Cos I would be disappointed if it is.  But if it’s a soft boiled egg it will go EVERYWHERE when I peel it!

I tentatively peeled a little bit of it.  It’s soft boiled.  OMG…what to do?  Then in the wasteland of my brain I remember eating kaya toast w egg in Singapore and was taught by a blog that you just crack the egg like u normally would, and it should just pop out perfectly.  My instincts are right- the egg did pop out perfectly, mega nom soft boiled style.

The udon was great, it was perfectly cooked so it’s al dente and the wagyu beef was tender and succulent, certainly better than then the Wagyu beef in the pho from Miss Chu.  The soup had a well balanced flavour, and didn’t make me skoll water for the rest of the afternoon.

One word of advice, if you eat at Nama Nama, do not stop eating your food if you haven’t finished! I was just blowing my nose when they thought I was done and almost whisked away my half eaten udon! WTF?

I also ordered a citrus tea cake ($5), which is actually made with yuzu!  You might know I am a huge fan of yuzu and was excited to try the cake.  Sadly, whilst the cake has a great yuzu flavour, it was quite dry.  There’s an option of this dessert to come with yoghurt which may help with the dryness if people want to try their cake.

For the purpose of doing research, I asked my friend Em to lunch with me at Nama Nama again- this time I wanted to try their Katsu buns or their bento boxes.  Sadly though, Nama Nama was fully by the time we came in (12:15pm) so we either have to wait 20 mins or sit outside. As we decided to sit outside in this windy, chilly environment, so we ordered udon noodles- again.

Feeling a bit repetitive about ordering udon again I decided that I need to shake things up and ordered a salmon hand roll ($4).  What’s so awesome about this hand roll?  You might wonder.  Well, it has my favorite- YUZU!  This handroll is a yuzu marinated salmon handroll with spinach.  I won’t say that it’s the best handroll ever, the flavours were good, but as the handroll was not freshly prepared and unlike Kenzan, you can’t roll it yourself, which meant the seaweed became slightly soggy.  At this price range, I guess I expected a little better than this.

Our udon noodles came and we gratefully slurped at the hot soup.  This time I ordered pork belly udon with an extra egg (same price as the wagyu udon).  The pork belly was so tender and it has a cute quail egg that comes with it.  The healthier me thinks that the Wagyu is better, but the unhealthy devil in me was rooting for this pork belly udon.

Overall I do like Nama Nama, it’s like the Japanese version of Miss Chu: higher price range, not fully authentic but very yummy food.  The service was a bit wobbly at times but their enthusiasm makes up for it.  Case to the point: we had to sit outside but the waiter use all his might to shuffle the heaters so it surrounds us, I thought that was pretty nice of him.  Will I eat there again? Well, I still gotta try those awesome katsu buns and bento, so if I am in that area, absolutely. 7.5/10

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