Think I was driving somewhere and reminiscing how this blog is gonna be two years old in a couple of months’ time. I mused “maybe I should blog about instant noodles for that anniversary”. Fakegf gave me a sizzling stare, then promptly said “Foodie Fail”. Ha ha ha!
Anyway, that thought thread is on a completely different tangent from this post. This lunch catch up between a bunch of bloggers happened on a Saturday, thanks to lovely chairman I-Hua who organised it.
Nama Nama is an offshoot of the hugely popular Izakaya Den in the city, but they do lunches here… bentos and homemade udons (kneaded by foot!). Plus in the evenings, you can hang out and have drinks at the bar upstairs – Hihou.
Piccolo $4 | Flat white $4 (by Market Lane seasonal espresso blend)
We gathered at 11am and I was quite excited to discover that they served Market Lane coffees here. But… *koff*… remind me to stick to drinking coffees in real brunch cafés rather than at non-cafe lunch spots.
Nama katsu buns: pork $7.5 / prawn $8.5
We started with a few of these interesting buns. Fluffy bao-like bread on the outside filled with a crumbed meat patty, a steamed egg, and a sweetish tonkatsu sauce. Very different and unusual, some of us liked it. The prawn bun could’ve been served a little warmer.
Udon noodles are available from 11.30am onwards. And those of you who got a little worried by the ‘foot kneading’ business I mentioned earlier, don’t worry. It’s the traditional Japanese way, but the dough is wrapped in plastic and clean socks are worn kneading it.
House made udon noodles w Kanto style broth $15
Pork, spinach, quail egg | Tempura prawn and vegetable
General consensus around the table was the udon’s excellent. Wonderful tasting broth and the noodles held a good bite to them. The individual ingredients were also sourced and cooked well, and they tasted good.
I think this illustrates how much we enjoyed the udon here, with I-Hua happily engulfing every last drop of soup! We also thought the deep, tall bowls the udon were served in looked like dinosaur eggs!
Build your own Bento $18:
Green leaf, crispy vermicelli and sesame salad + Ox Tongue rice paper roll + Ocean trout sashimi
+ Crumbed scallops, mustard mayonnaise + Pork Char-siew
Some of us got a bento set for lunch rather than udon. The menu had about three options for each of the 5 bento compartments, so you just pick and build it up to your liking, and the price sticks at $18. If you can’t think for yourself, you can opt for a ‘surprise bento’ and they’ll pick everything for you.
The above selection was for my own bento box. I liked the soft, succulent and tasty char siew and the crispy vermicelli salad. But I’ll have to niggle that the rice served was long grain rice, and the whole bento box in general was served at room temperature rather than served warm. Not sure whether that’s how it’s like in Japan. But what disappointed me most were the crumbed scallops and ox tongue rice paper roll – they were actually out-of-fridge cold. Unacceptable.
Miso soup $2 cup | Miso Marinated kingfish
I also tagged on a miso soup with my bento. It tasted o-kay, but nowhere near as wonderful as Gypsy and Pig’s, where you could actually taste a real dashi (bonito and kelp) stock base.
Winston got almost the same bento setup as myself, with the exception of my char siew being replaced with kingfish. He held the same sentiments as myself, so-so components, of which some were refrigerator cold.
Clockwise from left: Wagashi (Mochi flower treats) $4, Japanese pudding (Schultz Organic milk and caramel) $6, Yuzu tea cake (with Meredith Sheeps Milk Yoghurt) $8, Chocolate shochu brulee $9, Japanese pudding (Bonsoy Soy Milk) $5
We shared every sweet item on the menu between the seven of us. When they arrived, the desserts went round robin around the table as we tasted through each of them.
I liked the puddings best. The soy version tasted really light and slightly floral while the milk version tasted eggy and a lot like creme caramel. The yuzu tea cake tasted good but it was very dry and we thought the brulee, while good, was pretty expensive at $9 for such a small serve.
I think we all generally liked the udons, were meh about the bentos, and found the sweets okay. I’m not in a hurry to come back, but might recommend this place for its udon to other people.
On a final note, one problem with a bloggers’ group outing is, it’s no longer a snapshot in time. For this place, it is four snapshots for that same point in time, with four reviews somewhat niggling about the same things. So bear that in mind if you read Agnes’, I-Hua’s and Winston’s post about Nama Nama – it’s still from the same one visit. Who’s to know that they’ve already fixed the problem with the cold bento boxes already?