Nama Nama

31 Spring St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Hand-made udon is so last year. How about some lovely foot-made udon instead?
Nama Nama is a new venture on the corner of Flinders Land and Spring Street by the brains behind the highly popular Izakaya Den, so we expected some good nosh. Some good, pricey nosh. They specialise in foot-made udon, which may sound gross but is actually perfectly hygienic (I hope). The dough is wrapped in plastic, and the foot-kneader washes their feet, puts on some thick, clean cotton socks, before actually stepping onto the dough. And the udon that results from it is a revelation, but more on that later.
Nama Nama also offers build-your-own bento boxes, as well as a small selection of sweet treats, breakfast items, and the obligatory sushi. The pictures of the bento creations I’ve seen floating around look absolutely delectable, but contrary to appearances, there’s been account after account of cold, pre-made food sitting in the cabinet for way too long. So despite some of the bento options sounding absolutely mouth-watering, we stuck to the soupy, slurpy, udon bowls instead.
It was a beautiful Melbourne day just on the cusp of summer, so instead of squeezing into bench seating inside, we sat outside by the street. I really appreciated the extra light for my photos, and Chris and I both enjoyed the warm sun and light breeze. And the adorable water glasses that are a signature of Izakaya Den’s re-awakened my carefully contained impulse to steal cutlery.
Wagyu Beef Udon ($15)
Chris opted for the Wagyu Beef Udon ($15), which was simply done up with onions, shallots, and pink slices of wagyu. The soup had a depth of flavour that’s rarely encountered, with a prominent wild beefiness to it that was balanced out by a civilised degree of sweetness. The slices of beef were fatty and tender, and you could really taste the marbelling that’s characteristic of good wagyu, regardless of it being so thinly sliced.
Wagyu Beef Udon ($15)
There are so many good things about this bowl of noodles, but the highlight was definitely the udon. As wide as new shoelaces and as thick as… new shoelaces, the chunky, slippery noodles reached the holy grail where every strand was a perfect toothsome al dente, without the least hint of doughiness.
Pork Udon ($15)
It was remarkable how different the Pork Udon ($15) was to the beef. Instead of clean, grassy beef flavours, this soup was infused with the fatty essence of braised pork belly, and a slight hint of vinegar to balance out the richness. Four thick slabs of pork belly melted unctuously on the tongue. The vegetable garnishes on top were faultlessly fresh, and the gooey quail egg is something you don’t see nearly enough in noodle dishes in Melbourne. This was even better than the already delicious beef udon. 
I don’t know how the bento boxes here are, but you will definitely never be disappointed with the udon options. They’ve taken a simple, every-day dish and made it with so much care and love that it’s become something really quite special. It’s well worth every cent, and we drank the soup right down to its dregs.
Rating: 14.5/20 – nama nama nama nama batman!

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  • Reply Anonymous 02/12/2012 at 1:16 pm

    Hi good review..just saw yr blog :)

    However the prices are way to high at nama nama for what you get.

    But I think nama nama is trying to be cool by copying design stuff from places like Purple peanuts (yummo cakes btw)and Brim CC.

    And the cold bentos are not that bad, but i wont pay that much!!

    Don Don bentos are half the price.

    ps…you shoot great photos!!

    • Reply ming 08/12/2012 at 9:00 am

      Hola, thanks for dropping by!

      I do think nama nama is a bit pricey, but I do like their udon quite a lot, and I’m willing to pay $15 for them. The bentos however I can agree with you on – $18 could get you two meals at purple peanuts, or a massive serve of food at BrimCC! And of course, good old don don <3

  • Reply Sally Li 02/12/2012 at 11:04 pm

    I know about the pricing- but the rent is quite high in that area, that’s why the prices are high

    • Reply ming 08/12/2012 at 9:01 am

      Yeah that seems to be the thing with city rent, though I still think $18 for a cold bento is way too much – just my two cents!

  • Reply Libby 07/12/2012 at 12:45 pm

    I was planning to head down there tomorrow afternoon so I was glad to see you post this blog. Definitely going to go for an udon dish over a bento box – maybe the prawn one! Mmmmm…

    • Reply ming 08/12/2012 at 9:02 am

      I really hope you like the udon, can’t wait to see your review on it! Chris wanted to order the prawn tempura udon but I felt like beef :p

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