When Fran gauged our interest on trying out a resto’s soft opening sampling menu (P750), details were a little vague but there was a mention of Japanese, so Irene and I immediately agreed. We love to try out new places even more so Japanese restaurants. After a few days Fran shared some details like the name, Nomama Artisanal Ramen, and at the helm is Chef Him Uy de Baron of East fame.
It was raining quite hard on our way to the restaurant, both of us hoping our trek to Quezon City would be worthwhile. After shaking off our umbrellas and getting settled into our table, I browsed thru the menu for the night and my interest was piqued. I also then noticed the interesting and aesthetically pleasing decor consisting mostly of wood, metal and concrete. It was quite minimalist, and exudes somewhat of a zen meets warehouse look.
Beef Tataki with Sweet Potato Chips. Tataki is a Japanese way of preparing meat by searing it on the outside, leaving it rare inside, pounding and slicing it into small pieces and adding citrus before serving. The meat was soft and tasted just right for me, the cooked seared portions mixing with the rare parts, but the redness might turn off some. It seems the sweet potato is quickly gaining popularity with more and more places using it, the chips were well seasoned but some pieces were a little cold already. I mixed a little of the tataki with the alfalfa sprouts and a piece of the sweet potato chip, a wonderful mix of texture and taste from crunchy to soft to earthy and sweet. Wish I had more crunchy pieces of chips.
Soft Shell Crab Salad with Nonoma Dairy Dressing. The star of the plate are the two pieces of deep fried soft shelled crab. Irene commented that the soft shelled crab was very flavorful, coming from someone who dislikes them is high praise.After having a bite, I would have to agree with Irene’s verdict, it was so good I barely paid attention to the salad.
Duo of Gyoza Classic Pork and Mushroom. At first glance, it looks quite like any ordinary gyoza but the flour covering hides a surprise. A dip on the soy and vinegar sauce then a bite was all it took for me to love Nomama’s version. I was expecting the usual pork and leek filling maybe mixed in with some mushroom but it was not to be, the mushrooms took center stage. Abundant and making the pork a side player, making the whole gyoza quite light.
Snapper with Orange Gastrique. I knew just from spotting this on the menu that I would probably love it owing to the citrus sauce.The plate was very pleasing with its array of colors, red, yellow and green. It looked fresh and light and tasted the same. The fish meat was soft with crispy skin and matched very well with the sweet orange sauce.
We had informed Chef Him when we made the reservations that Irene did not eat beef so he prepared something else which turned out to be a roasted free range chicken dish, whose name I did not get. Irene gave me a piece to try and it was very good.
Short Rib Curry with Roasted Kabocha. I love Japanese curry which has a sweeter taste compared to Indian or Thai curries. This curry was actually not what I was expecting, it did not have any spicy taste at all. The ribs were fork tender but full of flavor courtesy of the fatty parts which I removed and cast to the side.
Nomama Ramen. We were given asked to choice among three ramen options, Irene and I settled on 2 different ones to try more. The first thing you will notice when this bowl of ramen is laid down is that glorious looking egg on top. The ajitsuke tamago was quite different from the ones I’ve seen before, its gooey yellow center like a beacon, beckoning you to devour it. The chasyu meat was very tender but the noodles were not as good as out favorite from Ukokkei. The soup was hot and tasty, hinting of a mix of shoyu (soy)and pork. That egg had me ruing the decision to order another ramen.
Green Curry Ramen. The chicken on top was a mite similar to the one Irene had for her main course minus the sauce. The soup base tasted strongly of coconut milk and was almost too spicy for me. The green veggies provided a nice contrast in color as well as taste, offering a respite to the spicy broth. I finished off my bowl of ramen sans the green peas swimming around in the remaining broth.
KitKat Bar. Our dessert took quite a while before coming out and we were speculating why it was taking so long and I joked that I saw a waiter going out probably to buy at the nearest convenience store. Once we saw the dessert, it seems out thoughts about it being an ordinary KitKat bar was dead wrong. The dessert is some what of a mix of chocolate crisp on the bottom with an ice cream like top half. I loved it but Irene found it a little sweet.
|Chef Him hard at work plating but still chic|
|photo from www.frannywanny.com|
We definitely enjoyed our tasty peek inside some of Nomama’s offerings and will definitely be back to try out other stuff on their menu once they formally open of September 8. The place has a nice sleek atmosphere that readily matches the food on the table. The place is still new and I’m hopeful they’ll work out the kinks as they go along. The trip was definitely worth even with the weather throwing a fit.
Nonoma Artisanal Ramen