Nama Nama is run by Simon Denton, Miyuki Nakahara and Takashi Omi, the co-owners at Izakaya Den, so they clearly know their stuff. It specialises in the thick, wriggly noodles alongside bento boxes but we stuck to the noodles on this visit. The noodles come in a Kanto style broth which is rich and salty but refined and have to be eaten fast so the liquid stays hot and the noodles retain their koshi, or toothsome bite. The udon noodles are like bouncy little snakes, wiggling away from my chopsticks totally slurpy and supple.
|The very tiny street side dining|
The pork noodles ($15) featured two big juicy, fatty pieces of pork alongside spinach and a tiny golden centred quail egg. Tempura noodles ($15) were topped with two massive prawns coated in frilly and light tempura. There’s also the option to tart up your noodles with extra toppings, such as wakame (edible seaweed) or an egg. I didn’t see any cold udon on the menu (udon in Japan are eaten in seasonal ways, hot in winter, cold in summer) but maybe that’s something Nama Nama will do in summer time.
There are nori rolls as well which are fat and fresh although the subtle flavours of the yuzu kingfish and zucchini ($4) was overwhelmed by the tartness of the sushi rice. Next time I might try the wasabi tuna tataki which is a stronger flavour and probably has more chance of competing. Also on the next time list are the bento boxes. If you visit often enough you can be a bento member which allows you to get a reusable bento box for each time you eat at Nama Nama.
|Nori roll with kingfish|
I’m a big udon noodle fan so I really loved this place. It’s the sort of food I like to eat and soon it will be a fun place to drink as well since there’s going to be an upstairs bar called Hihou which will have sensational views over Treasury gardens.
|Bento box action at Nama Nama|
|Warning: the Katsu buns at Nama Nama are addictive.|
But the dish that has really won my heart is the katsu bun ($8.50) which is made with a crumbed pork pattie with Tonkatsu sauce and a steamed egg. It’s like a whole breakfast in one little package. Seriously addictive.
Details: Nama Nama, 31 Spring Street, Melbourne (Ph 03 9639 9500) Open: Mon to Sat 7am–5pm
Damage: Reasonable. Our bill came to $40 for two.