Nam Nam Noodle Bar is a casual Vietnamese restaurant by the people who own the highly regarded fine dining restaurant Les Amis (see here - a perennial entry in The World's 50 Best Restaurants lists) and the excellent Aoki Sushi (here).
Since opening late in 2012, Nam Nam has gained a solid reputation for authentic, fuss free food with good service and affordable prices.
Housed in Wheelock Place on Orchard Road (with another branch at Raffles City) it is popular with the lunchtime crowd and those craving the joys of Vietnamese cuisine – particularly Banh Mi and Pho, which make up the majority of the simple menu.
I have not yet travelled to Vietnam (something I hope to have changed by next year) and my knowledge of the country’s cuisine is limited to a few UK places; some on my travels in other Asian countries and at weddings and parties of some Vietnamese friends.
Due to thick (double wrapped) skins, the Fresh Southern Rolls (Goi Cuon) with sweet shrimp, egg and fresh herbs were not the best I’ve eaten* but it was the garlic and chicken liver rich peanut sauce (Nuoc Leo) that was really the star of the show. (*The best I’ve had were at Nuoc in Singapore and those made freshly at my friend’s house.)
I was not so keen on the Fried Prawn & Pork Rolls – I found these too oily and the filling was lost.
I’ve not eaten many Banh Mi in my life but this was excellent (I can’t wait until I travel to Vietnam next year as I’m in for a treat if I can find some as good or better than these!).
Having been chided previously by my foodie pal Thom Hetherington (@ThomHetheringto on Twitter) for not having the ‘pate’ at my local place ‘I am Pho’ (see here), I made sure I ordered the Cold Cuts with Char Siew & Pork Pate. What was great here was the light texture of the bun and the balance of the chilli – well rounded but not overpowering.
The Beef Pho with an extra topping of sliced Wagyu beef was pretty good as far as I remember. Unusually, I didn’t make any notes and can’t recall much about it apart from the fact that I enjoyed it more once I had pepped it up with a squeeze of lime and the fact that I slurped it down with wild abandon – certainly a good sign.
Service was swift and friendly and the drinks were good – especially the Vietnamese Coffee with Condensed Milk. Definitely the sort of place I’d return to if shopping on Orchard Road and in need of a quick, hearty snack.