Chef Him Uy de Baron's culinary mission is simple and straightforward. Bold flavors using the very best ingredients, and an inventive flair combining Asian flavors to create unique dishes. And this is what you see and taste in every dish at Nomama Artisanal Ramen. And that's why its one of Esquire's Best New Restaurants last year.
The name "Nomama" is a cool play on "not your mama's ramen" and immediately one can sense a creative vibe from Nomama's kitchen down to each dish. The playful fusion of flavors and detailed, almost "art-directed" like plating sets the tone with every meal at Nomama. But the starring role in every dish belong to the freshest ingredients used in creating each plated masterpiece. True to Chef Him's mission, all the items in Nomama's menu are made from the very best ingredients: prime Wagyu beef from Kitayama Meatshop, fresh mushrooms from Ministry of Mushrooms, authentic Japanese flavors from Kikkoman and the latest in kitchen equipment from Cusinart. And for the months of February and March, Chef Him is joined by Nomama's suppliers who share the same passion and commitment to simple yet bold flavors...
As you enter Nomama Artisanal Ramen's cool, stark and almost zen-like interiors, you immediately know it's different. The clean lines, modern and contemporary look provides a dramatic backdrop for the dishes.
A cool pig sculpture greets you as you enter Nomama, as the friendly and courteous staff lead you to your table. A wooden box containing utensils and chop sticks is conveniently placed on the table. Nice touch.
And as more diners arrive for dinner, the kitchen is fired up. Part of the kitchen layout is open where diners can see the final plating of the dishes, as you restrain yourself from diving right into the assembly line for a quick bite.
In each dish, one can see the quality of ingredients reflecting Nomama's commitment for the best and freshest locally sourced ingredients. Once plated, the orders are picked up and delivered to the tables.
The new menu reflects Nomama Artisanal Ramen's inventive playfulness, combining Asian flavors that are new yet comfortingly familiar. Our dinner begins with Nomama's Beef Tataki with Uni and Chips, a blend of Kitayama Wagyu beef tenderloin tips and Ribeye seasoned with Uni butter and lime, with a side of fresh micro greens, tomato confit and roasted shiitake. Chef Him uses a traditional Japanese cooking technique, searing the Kitayama Wagyu tenderloin tips and ribeye, then chopping it and served raw. The butterlike mouth feel of the premium beef is further enhanced with Chef Him's fresh Uni butter delivering a delicate richness. The addition of Kikkoman Roasted Garlic Teriyaki Marinade, tomato confit and Ministry of Mushrooms' fresh roasted shiitake rounds out the flavors. Add a spoonful of the beef tataki and some micro greens to a crisp sweet potato chip for a unique blend of flavors and textures. And this is just the first dish...
Next up, the Soy Prawn Teppan with Uni Cream Sauce, jumbo prawns cooked teppan style with butter, soy sake and mirin with fresh roasted garlic and served with Uni and prawn bisque.
The freshness of the plump prawns give it a subtle sweetness, nicely complemented by the sauce made from rich uni and prawn bisque. The battered and deep-fried mushrooms also add a unique flavor and texture. And the sauce is just awesome. One bite tells you almost immediately that the best ingredients really do make a difference.
Then, a beautifully plated dish came next.The Thai Spiced Tri-Tip with Jasmine Rice and Pineapple Salad, Herbs and Red Curry Dressing, thinly sliced seared tri-tip crusted with cilantro, coriander seeds, with rice salad tossed with cashews, glazed pineapple, tomatoes and cucumber drizzled with spicy red curry dressing and pickled onions. Drawing heavily from Thai flavors and influences, Chef Him combines bold and spicy flavors with one of the best cuts of meat, the tri-tip from Kitayama. The Thai red curry adds a cool kick with some comforting heat, another dish blending distinct flavors.
Nomama serves some of the best ramens in the metro, and the new menu includes some seriously good ramens, like the Wagyu Beef Cheeks Ramen, braised Wagyu beef in milk broth, poached eggs and nori. The rich broth, the tender, almost butter-like Kitayama Wagyu beef combine with the smooth al dente noodles for an excellent bowl of noodles. Hearty and comforting, I go for a second bowl. Seriously. It's that good.
Thai Green Curry Ramen, homemade green curry paste in coconut broth topped with seared chicken fillet, bokchoy and green peas, a popular item in Nomama's repertoire of ramens. The curry gives this a unique and different flavor, consistent with the playful inventiveness of Nomama's kitchen.
Next, dry Japanese noodles with a Korean twist. The Spicy Tongue Dry Noodles, tender ox tounge in Korean spicy sauce, with black tofu and garlic stuffed tomato and noodles in garlic oil, a fusion of bold flavors. The heat from the Korean spices add a tasty layer of flavor to the subtle notes of the ox tongue and noodles. Nice.
Next up, the Ribeye Teppanyaki with Tendon, teppanyaki style Kitayama Ribeye seared with rich tendon, soy, mirin and sake, with Ministry of Mushrooms' Oyster mushrooms teppan cooked in miso butter and braising jus, topped with fried onions. The dish is completed with three unique sauces, a roasted garlic miso paste, Kikkoman caramel and Japanese mustard, each giving the ribeye a different and savory profile. This one's another winner, trust me.
Each slice of ribeye comes with a delicate marbling of fat that just gives it so much more flavor on its own, but combining it with one of the three sauces just completes the dish. Bold flavors and the best ingredients, in one dish.
A cool vegetarian option is the Milky Mushroom Steak, seared and oven roasted mushrooms from Ministry of Mushrooms, served with a trio of sauces: Japanese mustard, roasted garlic miso paste and Kikkoman caramel. The quality of the mushrooms is immediately evident in the first bite, as you go for seconds and thirds.
And for dessert, Fresh Fruit Teppanyaki with Yuzu and Lemon Gellato, fresh strawberries and other in-season fruits cookede teppan style, with homemade gellato made with Cusinart's ice cream maker, topped with sesame brittle and Kaffir lime syrup. Consistent with the new menu's teppanyaki theme, the dessert is a perfect way to cap an awesome dinner. Other items in the new menu include the Ribeye Teppanyaki with roasted garlic-miso paste, Kikkoman caramel and Japanese mustard, and the Pork Loin Kurobuta glazed with guava and miso and a side of pickled mushrooms, kubocha puree and edemame. An impressive new menu from Nomama Artisanal Ramen, and just one of many reasons to visit Nomama. Simple bold flavors and the best local ingredients. Now that's a winning formula. Check out Nomama Artisanal Ramen's new menu for February, definitely not your mama's ramen.
Special thanks to Chef Him and Nomama Artisanal Ramen, Kitayama Meatshop, and Ministry of Mushrooms for a truly awesome dinner. Can't wait to go back...
Nomama Artisanal Ramen is located at the ground Floor, 18 FSS Building, Scout Tuason corner Scout Castor, Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City or call 921-4913 for inquiries. You can also visit their FB Page at http://facebook.com/nomamaramen for updates.
Kitayama Meatshop is located at 2292 Chino Roces Avenue (formerly Pasong Tamo), Makati or call 887-5848 for orders and inquiries. You can also check out their FB Page at http://facebook.com/Kitayama-Meatshop for more info.
Ministry of Mushrooms can be reached at 0917-500-6874 for orders and inquiries. You can also visit their website at http://www,ministryofmushrooms.com.
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