Nanam Eatery – Revisited
When we first visited Nanam last year, it was the highlight of our Cheapeats year. The fresh flavours, interesting food combinations and generous portions beautifully presented, all at reasonable prices, were memorable. We were curious to see how things were faring a year on.
Colleague May-Lee Wong and another friend joined me for dinner. We had learnt that we needed to book, and the staff advised us to arrive early at 6pm.
The menu has four types of dishes: Pica Pica (small); Mains; Sides and Dessert. Some of the dishes were familiar, while others were new. The main difference to last year is that the prices are now slightly more expensive. Many of the mains are suitable to share, so that you can still eat here on a Cheapeats budget.
I had remembered that the sticky pork buns ($14) were delicious, so we ordered those to start. Then we opted for the Roast Chicken Sinigang ($24) and the Salmon sa Bayabas ($26), plus sides of Adobo Green Beans ($11) and New Zealand Yam Wedges ($11), all to share.
The TacoPao (sticky pulled pork, Nanam buns and condiments ) were just as I remembered them. The freshly made taco-style buns were soft and warm. The sticky pulled pork was meltingly tender, and the condiments of chopped peanuts, pickled ginger, shredded carrot and pork crackling added flavour and texture enhancement.
The Roast Chicken Sinigang dish (which we enjoyed last year) was perfect for sharing. The tamarind spice rubbed pieces of half a chicken were grilled but still moist and served on a watercress puree with a fresh apple and onion salsa.
The salmon dish was rather a surprise. It was described as crispy skinned salmon in tamarind caramel served with guava sauce and tomato eggplant confit. When it was served the soup-like sauce was poured on the salmon. The flavour of the tamarind caramel eluded me. The others liked the pickled vegetables that gave the dish a flavour punch.
Nanam creates delicious unusual sides and we loved ours. The generous serving of green beans were on a bed of soy truffle mushroom sauce. If you like mushroom flavours, then this dish is for you. However, we were not keen on the rather excessive amount of oil used in the dish.
The yam wedges were a real hit – nothing like a little deep-fried crunchiness! Even better was dipping them in the thick coriander and shallot cream.
The descriptions of the desserts made them too good to pass up, so we ordered the Bibikina Cassava dessert, again to share. This visually stunning dessert consisted of warm cassava and coconut served with roasted pineapple pieces, white chocolate crumb, coconut tapioca and (coconut) ice cream. Absolutely divine and worth crossing town for – especially at the very reasonable price of $12. As May-Lee commented, it was amazing what Nanam did with typical Asian dessert ingredients.
Nanam may be slightly more expensive than previously, but if you share a few dishes you can still do it on a Cheapeats budget. Nanam is definitely worth a visit – there is nothing else like it in Auckland.