The first time I tried Nomama was when it had a pre-opening dinner many years ago at their old branch in Quezon City (now closed). Chef Him Uy de Baron served up some fusion Japanese that came out of his many travels in the Land of the Rising Sun. We were trying some new dishes Chef Him recently whipped as well as some secret off menu items. I thought the old branch was beautiful with all its zen and minimalist decor but this new branch is so much more attractive.
The free standing two story structure has an open kitchen bar, plentiful outdoor seating and high ceilings with a great view from the mezzanine. The interiors are an minimalist Japanese mix of finished concrete with light wood and splotches of color to give it a pop.
Edamame Hummus with Spiced Pita (P170). This uses the spiced pita in their previous mushroom duxelle appetizer but makes the dip a Mediterranian-Japanese fusion. The dip is smooth with earthy and nutty flavors heightened by a sprinkling of togarashi powder (Japanese 7 spice).
Next up was two slider boards, Tori Karaage Sliders and the Soft Shelled Crab Sliders.
Fried Onigiri Balls with Slow Cooked Pork and Sambal Aioli. At first glance, they kinda look like arancini but these have a more Asian leaning flavor. These are not your usual onigiri balls, a quick snack available almost everywhere in Japan. There’s a crunchy outer texture with a nice spicy-sweet glaze that progresses to a meaty and starchy filling. 1 order for me please and I’m not sharing so better get your own.
Half Cooked Tuna Steak (P390). A huge slab of tuna that is seared on one side only so you get two beautiful textures of the fish. Chef Him pairs this with some red pepper dashi sauce and kobabcha and bacon with edamame dressing. I did not expect to be wowed by a piece of fish but it really did, the bacon and kobacha on the side did nothing but help. This dish is also great value as the piece of tuna is quite generous.
Almond Crusted Lapu Lapu with Miso Brown Butter Vinaigrette (P470) . I can’t believe there’s two impressive fish dishes in one meal at Nomama. There’s a nice texture because of the almond with the firm yet juicy lapu lapu but it’s the savory brown butter miso sauce that elevates this dish. Look, I can eat healthy at Nomama with an order of this and the half cooked tuna steak.
Kitayama Wagyu Beef Cheek with Miso is another of the off menu dishes that is available at Nomama. I was expecting a bit of an effort in cutting the beef cheeks but it hardly needed any effort. Eating it was even easier as it was just melted in my mouth.
For ramen, we had their signature Nomama Ramen (P375/245), Thai Green Curry Ramen (P355/240) and the Korea Town Ramen (P450/270). The ramen noodles have improved tremendously since the first time I’ve tried them but the stars are still the fusion broth making them not the usual bowls of ramen. My favorite is still the Thai Green Curry ramen with a creamy and spicy broth that you would not think would work with ramen.
Want to try their quirky ramen creations, they have a P3 ramen promo during Monday to Friday lunch service. 10 different variants for you to choose from, all made from scratch.
For dessert, we had a duo of chocolate dishes, the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Miso Salted Caramel (P175) and the Warm Smitten Cookie with Vanilla Bean ice cream (P255).
Nomama has certainly settled down in it’s new home in Capitol Commons, giving the area a venue for a fun twist on Japanese food. Chef Him is also commendable for sourcing and using as much local produce and proteins as possible to use in Nomama’s wide range of dishes.