Nama Nama

Update: Nama Nama has now closed
There’s a new noodle place in town and it’s name is Nama Nama.  Right at the top end of Flinders lane, Nama Nama is housed is where Verge used to be but the place has been given a clean, understated and Japanese looking makeover.  There’s lots of blonde wood, bright yellow counters and tables supported by Asahi beer crates.  But the place is already so popular that Joyce and I found ourselves perched on the very low and very small tables and benches outside on the footpath as it was completely full indoors.

Pork noodles

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.

Tempura noodles

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
I’ve been back to Nama Nama a few times since my visit with Joyce and tried out the bento box.  The great thing about the bento box is that you can customise it, with a whole range of options for each different compartment in the box. 
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.

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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.

Nama Nama on Urbanspoon


  1. Looks like a great quick lunch place. I’m a udon fan too!

  2. Those pork noodles look amazing – love the yellowness of the yolks, nice photo.

  3. You’re really hitting the noodle trail! Out of curiosity, how does the udon at Nama Nama compare to London’s Koya?

  4. I like the minimalist feel of the place and its dishes…! If it’s from the people of “The Den”, then I think it’ll be great. Looking forward to a visit.

  5. I really want to try Izakaya Den when we visit Melbourne. It’s supposed to be great and I’m craving Japanese food after reading this post and another one on Japanese food.

  6. Do you think they would take bookings? Man it’s too far up the other end for me but I want to go!

  7. It’s so new I haven’t even heard of it!! Looks fantastic! I’m craving Japanese food too!!

  8. VintageMacaroon – Pop it on your Melbourne list.

    Katy Salter – I know how good to those quail eggs look!

    Mr Noodles – I am indeed, quite similar to Koya although unlike Koya they actually do bento boxes as well here and are not just noodles only.

    Fatboo – It has a great design, and I agree the people behind Izakaya Den have it all worked out.

    Lorraine – Yes I just went to Izakaya Den the other week and loved it.

    MsIHua – I’m not sure – it’s a pretty tiny place. The wrong end of the city for me too but managed to make it there and back in a lunch break.

    Iron Chef Shellie – Yes it is very new indeed.

  9. Wonderful looking noodles! And in this weather, a nice warm noodly soup wouldn’t go too wrong, can’t wait to pop by!

  10. Ashley – yes perfect for winter and in summer the sushi, bento boxes and outdoor seating will all be winners

  11. OMG Katsu bunssssss!!!!!!! And Ramen Nooooddddddllleeesss!!! I wish I work over that end of town… then I would be able to make that as my favourite lunchtime haunt!

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