Ground floor, 31 Spring Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9639 9500
Happy Chinese New Year, folks! May the year of the snake bring you good health, prosperity and love (unless I hate you, in which case I hope you choke and die – nah, jokes).
Because we don’t have family in Australia, my parents don’t make a huge song and dance when it comes to CNY celebrations. In a way, it’s good because it means I don’t have to bother with the rigours that come with CNY preparations. On the other hand, I miss being around relatives as they congregate around the dinner table, enjoying what Oma had prepared for dinner that night. My family in Australia might not have done much this year but we did enjoy noodles of various kinds over the weekend (I cooked Shanghai noodles last night while mum cooked chicken noodles this evening) – because that’s what we’re supposed to eat on CNY if we want to live a long life.
I’m going to continue on with this noodles theme by posting a quick review of Nama Nama’s famous udon soups before I go to bed tonight. Yes, I’m aware that they’re Japanese but who cares. Noodles are noodles and they all rock, thankyouverymuch.
I remember going to the gym that very Saturday morning and despite it being really hot, walking all the way from one end to the city to the other. And despite sweat dripping down my brow, I decided that I wanted a hot bowl of steaming udon from Nama Nama, Simon Denton’s latest venture.
I started my lunch off with a prawn nama katsu bun ($7.50).
It was delicious. The slightly toasty steamed bun was filled with a delicious crumbed prawn pattie and steamed egg filling, which was tied together by a tonkatsu sauce. I especially liked that the egg yolk was still runny when it was served so it blended quite nicely with the sweet tonkatsu sauce.
After a 15-minute wait, my hot, hot bowl of udon arrived. Although Nama Nama’s selling point are their bento boxes (which the customer gets to choose what goes in them from a selection of dishes displayed at the counter), their udon bowls seem to have received more thumbs up from just about everyone I know. Forgoing my usual tempura prawn udon, I went for the decidedly less conventional wagyu beef, onion and spinach udon ($15).
The noodles were served piping hot in a Kanto-style broth, which means that it not only looks darker than the Kansai broths but is also bolder in taste thanks to all the kelp and soy they use. I thought the udon was delicious; the beef was tender and although I’m not used to having spinach in my broth but I thought the flavour combinations worked well. I think I do prefer the more complex Kansai-style broth they serve at my favourite Japanese restaurants on the Gold Coast, though. That said, I give double props to Nama Nama for the beautiful hand-made noodles that were springy and chewy and aaargh, just so damn good!
Nama Nama is a neat little café that serves such beautiful food. Although I did find the udon on the slightly pricey side (it wasn’t a big bowl), I did enjoy it. At present, I still think Heiroku Sushi and Maruya (both on the Gold Coast) still make the best udons but Nama Nama is definitely one of Melbourne’s finest. I’ve hears that they now open for dinner so definitely stop by if you feel like a bowl of post-work udon!