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Nama Nama - Raw and Chic Japanese on Spring

Posted by on in Cheap Eats
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Nama Nama is a brilliant new Japanese restaurant on Spring St next to Flinders Lane. It delivers in terms of cuisine but the location is so brilliant on Spring St with views to the gardens across the road as well as the vibe of Flinders Lane. Nama Nama is run by the owners of Izakaya Den, an extremely popular Japanese restaurant on Russell St.

Nama Nama is cool, modern and spacious and run by enthusiastic young staff. They get it so right as reflected in the lunch time crowds, as well as a steady stream of breakfast devotees.

The only thing cooler than the vibe and fit out is the fact these guys kneed udon noodles with their feet. Apparently they do wear socks and its all very hygenic. 

The chic fit out includes yellow counter, timber stools, fabulous timber roof, and split levels with cool little dining areas. There is also a great little area with benches on Spring Street along with gas heaters.

The word "nama" in Japanese I understand to mean "raw". Obviously the rawness of the food fits the name, but I also wonder if there is another meaning? Nama nama is more casual and less formal that Izakaya Den. There is a glorious raw simplicity (as reflected in the cardboard simple menu) of Nama Nama. 

Having come here for the breakfast I had fond memories of breakfasts in Japan. Nama Nama has an authentic touch. I was thrilled with the Breakfast Bento. The menu is understated and just gives the description as "fish". The fish is in fact the grilled ocean trout, very traditional. I also noticed the rest of the menu seemed very understated with generic terms.

This traditional Japanese breakfast also includes exceptional fruit including grapefruit and orange. The presentation is sensational. Of course I mess up Bento boxes extremely quickly by mixing and mashing up stuff. Is that allowed?

With Adele playing in the background (not literally) and a great ambience around this location, I felt it is one of the cafe sweet spots of Melbourne. It felt like I was in Japan in Melbourne if that makes sense. It seemed authentic.

As the Japanese house made cake came out of the oven I felt this would also be a great option.

As would be the Nama Katsu buns for breakfast.

I returned to try the Udon noodles with pork, spinach and quail egg. What a triumph! One of the best lunches I can think of around that price in Melbourne. The noodles are allegedly prepared using feet in Japanese tradition. I fell in love with those noodles.


The broth in the Udon noodle dish was also sublime - I kept spooning and savouring. And the pork was unbelivably tender and falling off the chopsticks (not fork).

Try the house made udon noodles. These udon noodles are quickly becoming famous and rocked my world. 

Or try the popular lunch bento boxes. The lunch bento boxes come in five categories of salad, raw, rice n roll, specialty and main. At around $16 they are slightly more expensive than some, but the quality is definitely there.

I noticed nice little touches like the cute bear on the water glass.

The coffee is from Market Lane, this being a serious coffee destination with pour overs and the like.


They have a deal by which you can join a membership to get $1 off your bento if you return the bamboo bento within 24 hours. An attractive and sustainable option.

I sat at the bar watching and admiring the staff at work. And the couple by the window having a deep and meaningful. For a newish restaurant everything seems to be working and going so well. When the sun is out they open up the window on to Spring St and you feel the refreshing breeze.

Speaking of refreshing, Nama Nama is such a refreshing addition to the Melbourne restaurant/cafe scene.


Nama Nama on Urbanspoon

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David Hagger is a bald headed man with a penchant for finery, convivial dining, and festive culture. He honestly believes Melbourne is an impressive global city.


  • Guest
    Libby @ Sunday, 05 August 2012

    I love the 'sorry no skim and decaf' - that is the reason why I'll be going there for breakfast tomorrow morning. Can't wait to try some katsu buns!

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Guest Wednesday, 27 May 2015