Nama Restaurant Update 31 March
Oh cruel fates! Nama closed permanently as of 31 March 2018 very shortly after this review was published. First the reasons to be sorrowful.
- Nama was possibly *the* destination restaurant for gluten-free, vegan, raw foods in London and beyond. Big loss!
- No more Truffle Pasta! No more Blueberry Cheesecake!
Now the reasons to be hopeful and joyous!
- Both co-founders, Irene and Richard, intend to return with supper clubs, catering and maybe even a new restaurant
- I *did* get to try the Truffle Pasta & Blueberry Cheesecake. Just in time!
The review will be left up as a testimony for the talent of these two people. Thank you Irene and Richard.
Nama Restaurant Retrospective Review
The cuisine at Nama Restaurant in Westbourne Grove was gluten free, vegan, organic and raw. Did it rely on these credentials? No! Can it compete with nearby eateries with great gluten free and vegan food such as Bodyism Cafe and Farmacy? Oh definitely. Would anyone not following a diet with those features enjoy dining here? A confident yes.
On my second visit to Nama I discovered a dish that was just so incredibly good that the only thing I wanted to do was replicate it faithfully at home and devour it over and over. What was it? Read on. I aim to convince you to eat here at least once. The marvellous menu, food and friendly service will take care of all the future occasions.
Nama Restaurant Free From Credentials
On my first visit I was without any request given a very capable briefing on the gluten free status of Nama. This was prompted by the notice I had given of a coeliac diner when making a reservation. It is so wonderfully reassuring to receive this kind of reception and begin with certainty that the needs are understood and confidently met.
With the sole exception of a bottled beer and a single Barleycup beverage all food and drink at Nama is gluten free, dairy free, meat free and vegan. Nama is therefore included within my 100% Gluten Free UK map.
Several of the hot drinks use a gluten-free oat milk. This be replaced by a different milk on request. One of seven different plant milks. After explaining I avoid even gluten free oats staff were quick and happy to offer to prepare hot drinks for me using jugs that had not been in contact with oat milk. Excellent awareness, excellent care. Having safety so well assured sets the scene for a free from diner to relax and enjoy everything to follow.
Nama Restaurant Food, Glorious Food
For anyone interested in gluten free, vegan, raw foods there is no better place I know to subject yourself to the tyranny of choice. No matter what you pick there will surely be some buyers remorse. Look at that wonderful tasty dish over on the next table! Should you have chosen that instead?!
Solutions are needed. Maybe go for that 10k run then visit Nama. Practice fasting and then break that fast at Nama. Whilst you are deciding what to order, find your next opportunity to visit in your calendar and pre-order your second choice dish mentally. Bring a friend or two and share dishes between you. Come with a plan.
Several dishes within the Nama menu playfully recreate popular cooked dishes containing meat, dairy and gluten. Chief amongt these is a potential world exclusive raw vegan ‘Full English’ breakfast. Cashew “scrambled eggs”, portabello mushroom “sausage”, eggplant “bacon” and almond and walnut bread “toast”. Another is a Vegan “Cheeseboard’ of fermented cashew cheeses & dehydrated crackers.
Nama co-founder Irene told me that when Nama designs dishes that resemble their cooked counterparts they aim to appeal to a larger audience. This includes those that might miss the experience of eating certain cooked food taste, texture or looks. These dishes tend to be very successful with newcomers into raw food eating and also with those that have been raw for a long time as they offer a new exciting experience.
I do not care very much for vegan mock meats. Quorn, Tofurky, no objection, but not for me. Raw foods can sometimes lack flavour which is unlocked by cooking. They can lack texture. Take away gluten, meat, dairy and cooking and you can be left with something not very appetising. These Nama dishes though? They wowed me! Fun, unique, creative and delicious just as they are! Everything I sampled was world class. For raw foods go the only venue I would compare it to in London is Wild Food Cafe.
Nama Restaurant Drinks, Delicious Drinks
Drinks rarely interest me. Give me great food on a plate and water to palette cleanse and I am happy. This mindset is challenged only by a handful of cafes and restaurants. Here is a way of doing so.
Step 1: Put drinks with names like Holy Mayan Cacao, The Magician and Luscious Lacuma on the menu
Step 2: Have the ingredients be things like this for the Holy Mayan Cacao, Hazelnut Milk, Cacao, White Carob, Cinnamon, Chilli, Macadamia Oil
Step 3: Have a huge blackboard on display with this menu right above the main counter
This is what Nama does. Quite unfair. I need to have space for one of these, main course and dessert!? I was not warned in advance. Now you are.
Nama Restaurant Signature Dishes
Before my second visit I asked Irene what she recommended as the ‘signature’ Nama dishes. She suggested the Mexican Wrap, Truffle Pasta and Blueberry Cheesecake. I hesitated to order these. Surely things like the raw vegan “No Meat Feast” Pizza would be more exciting? I trusted the expert however and went ahead with an order for the Truffle Pasta and Blueberry Cheesecake.
So about the Truffle Zucchini Pasta. Behold it. When something looks this great on the plate the dining experience has a wonderful beginning. Then the aroma. I felt almost intoxicated by the potent umami rich combination of mushroom, truffle oil and cashew cream cheese. This is a dish to sample if you love umami or want to know what it is at its very best. Despite knowing I was in a fully vegan restaurant I had to ask what the shavings were that decorated the pasta. They were so very similar to aged Parmesan cheese I could not quite believe they came from a cashew nut cheese. It was confirmed. I am quite sure they would fool any man, woman or mouse!
Did the Blueberry Cheesecake rate as highly? I am becoming something of a connoisseur of gluten free cheesecakes. I think I might need to dedicate an entire ‘best of’ article to them. This one would appear. Lusciously light but still tongue tantalisingly creamy. Bright blueberry sweetness with just a little tartness.
Fair notice however. I am returning for the Pizza. I am returning for the Pad Thai. The Lasagne too. All these dishes, take note, be ready. Desserts, fear not, I will somehow find it in my heart and stomach to accommodate you too!
Nama Restaurant Comfort, Style & Service
Food is fantastic, staff are super, but what about the venue? Here I feature the one caveat. The clean white interior is bright and uplifting but tables are tiny. Chairs are plastic. Space is constrained. There is a downstairs area with a little more room to swing a zucchini but it is sited next to an open kitchen which can get very noisy.
Dining with one friend our table for two literally could not accommodate a sharing plate at the same time as our separate mains. Credit to the staff who provided a solution by allowing us to commandeer a second table. However if we had been dining at a busier time that option would not have been available. Despite these reservations, places with a comparable menu, flavour and service offer to Nama are exceedingly rare. Do visit.
If you like or love the food at Nama, and you will, you might want to try making it at home. Nama offer a range of Raw Food workshops that run on evenings including Raw Food Pastry and Fermentation. Want it at home without the work? Nama also offer delivered meal subscription packages and Deliveroo
Google, Take us to Nama!
Nama is featured within my very own 100% Gluten Free UK map. Know of any places I have missed? Tell me! I will verify, add and try to visit for review.
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