Tucked away on a discreet street in West London, Nama is one of the capital’s up and coming raw vegan restaurants – a hot spot for the health conscious. It’s unassuming exterior gives little away about the treasure trove inside, serving everything from raw sweet treats and juices, to vegan breakfasts and main meals.
My visit took place in late August, the 27th to be precise, or as other food fanatics may know it: National Burger Day. I am not one to pass up on a burger, the trendiest food craze going at the moment, and if I was going to be eating out on National Burger Day it would not be to eat raw healthy food…
So what was I doing in Nama? My sister and I had done our research, we had scoured through the pages and pages of burger joints participating in Mr Hyde’s 25% off National Burger Day celebrations, we had chosen our desired restaurant (Boom Burger), and we had saved our discount codes. Bringing my mum along too, we arrived on Portobello Road and found Boom Burger, only to be greeted with a closed restaurant – taking a deserved day off after the success of Notting Hill Carnival. Gutted, I frantically scrolled through My List (the infamous list of restaurants I have stored on a note in my phone that I consider to be must-go-places). Nama jumped out when I realised it was only a 10 minute walk from where we were, so, starving, the three of us scurried the backstreets to our new lunch spot.
Now, understandably raw vegan food will never replace the short-term joy a sloppy, cheesy, meat fest of a burger will bring me, but I can safely say I was not disappointed with Nama’s alternative.
Simply furnished: clean, white, and quaint – Nama is the perfect setting for a quiet catch-up and some good food with friends. Starving by this time, we quickly ordered: cheese and crackers to share for starters, consisting of probiotic nut cheeses and sprouted crackers; followed by zucchini pasta for myself; a sushi platter for my sister, made from kohlrabi ‘rice’; and chilli for my mum, made from, of course, vegetables. Although the menu seems quite small, there was plenty of variety to choose from and I struggled making my final decision – nothing worse that food envy when you’re hungry!
The cheeseboard arrived first and the three of us dived straight in to the array of soft nut cheeses and chutneys served with dehydrated crackers. Having never tried nut cheese before, we were all pleasantly surprised – even my hesitant mum loved it – but best of all it was easy to forget it was vegan! The sprouted crackers are definitely worth a mention as well, completely raw yet completely the same as ordinary crackers! The cheeseboard was creamy, tasty, and perfect to fill a small hole whilst we waited for our mains.
My zucchini pasta – which was served in a Pomodoro sauce with sundried tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, caramelised onions, and olives – was divine! A towering heap of deliciousness! Having been absolutely starving by the time we sat down for our meal, by the time I was three quarters of my way through I was getting pretty full. Somewhat unexpected of what was primarily just a plate vegetables, and the same could be said for my mum and sister with their meals. Not only satisfyingly yummy but totally filling as well!
My sister’s sushi platter was very impressive and just as delectable as my own meal – that’s what I gathered from the small taste I was granted of it. Filled with Asian mushrooms, pea shoots, carrots, spinach, cucumber, and avocado, rolled in a nori sheet and served with a sesame dipping sauce – who said vegans can’t love sushi! The only complaint I heard from my sister were a few moans about the slate it was served on – made it a bit messy when bits fell out the sushi rolls after one bite.
But, it was my mum’s chilli that stole the show (annoyingly enough I didn’t get a good picture of it, but you get a glimpse of it in the feature image). The main chilli was made up of mushrooms, walnuts, carrot, and peppers, served with guacamole, probiotic sour cream, and corn chips. Doesn’t sound very chilli-esque, but trust me when I say the dish was packed with the flavours of Mexico and the three of us were honestly baffled as to how it tasted so akin to regular chilli.
The three of us left wholly satisfied with our stomachs full – which unfortunately also meant no room to try the array of raw desserts they offer, but no fear I shall be returning!
Nama: definitely worth a lunch time visit!