I feel quite lucky that I’m spoilt for choice for places to eat in my neighbourhood. The latest exciting place that opened in Takapuna is Nanam Eatery. Nanam is not your traditional Filipino restaurant and that’s what intrigued me and my family so we decided to finally check it out.
As I mentioned above, Nanam is not your typical Filipino restaurant and they don’t serve traditional Filipino food. If you’ve been to a traditional one, don’t compare Nanam to them because it’s different. My family and I don’t tend to go to Filipino restaurants because if I want traditional food, I’ll just go to my parents because their home-cooked meals would satisfy that. Nanam’s food is inspired by Filipino cuisine and each dish we tried definitely reflects that.
The menu fits in one page and is split into four parts (excluding desserts): Pica-Pica which means finger food like tapas/snack portions, Starters, Single Mains and Sharing Menu.
There were four of us so we ordered 5 things.
Binagoongan is one of my mum’s favourite Filipino dishes so she couldn’t resist getting this from the Pica-Pica part of the menu. Binagoongan if you’re not familiar with Filipino food is typically pork sautéed with tomato and shrimp paste (called bagoong). Nanam’s version of binagoongan is Crispy herb-marinated fresh fish, witloof and caramel “bagoong”. It’s a fresh take to this dish and it was a great start to our meal.
Next up was Ukoy from the Starters and this is Grilled tiger prawns, crispy “hibe”, mixed banana heart salad and pineapple dressing. Hibe are dried shrimps. Ukoy is usually a deep fried fritter so Nanam’s version is more deconstructed. This was so tasty. The crispy bits were great and it’s has a great balance of savoury flavours.
INIHAW NA TUNA
Inihaw means grilled in English so this is basically Grilled tuna loin with green tomatoes , cucumber, pickled fennel and summer mix salad. The tuna was cooked to perfection and we all gushed the moment we tasted this. It was beautiful and I can’t remember eating tuna like this growing up so this was a winner of a dish to me. I think it was all our favourite.
Pata is pork knuckles in Tagalog so this dish is Crispy pork hock with chili calamansi dip and Kelmarna organic salad. If you don’t like crispy things, don’t order this but if you do, you will highly enjoy it as much as my whole family did. I love pork crackling so this was great. The salad that came with it was also a nice balance. We usually don’t have salads with traditional Filipino meals so I think that was a great addition.
ROAST CHICKEN SINIGANG
Now this is probably the most different to its traditional dish. Sinigang is a Filipino soup known for its sour and savoury taste because of tamarind. Sinigang is one of my absolute favourite Filipino dishes and the more sour it is, the better for me. Nanam’s take on Sinigang is something I’ve never tried before because the chicken is roasted and there is no soup! Their version is free range half chicken with tamarind spice rub, watercress and tomato salsa. You still get the sourness from the tamarind spice rub which is permeated within the chicken and balanced by the salsa. This was definitely different for me but I also liked it.
If you thought we were going to leave this place without dessert, you’re wrong. We ordered two out of the three desserts they had on the menu.
Ovaltine is a brand of milk powder made from malt. I don’t think it’s available in NZ but back in the Philippines, it was a big contender of Milo. I grew up eating ovaltinees so if you’re after a more chocolate-y dessert, this one is for you. This is a warm chocolate doughnut and rhubarb with hazelnut crumbs and Milk chocolate crisps paired with signature Hazelnut ice cream. This was plated beautifully and tasted great as well. It all worked together without it being too sweet. I do wish there was more doughnut but that’s just me being greedy. Haha
Halo Halo is probably the most popular Filipino dessert. In english, it translates to mix-mix because it’s a dessert that you basically mix all together and combined, you have this amazing cold sweet goodness. Nanam’s description of this is: Filipino Summer dessert inspired by one of Philippines famous highland called “Baguio City” Ube Panacotta, Pandan jelly, Strawberry Sorbet, coconut granite, dehydrated milk foam, and cane sugar streusel. We all loved this so much. I’m usually picky with my traditional halo halo toppings so I loved Nanam’s version because it’s not the norm. We had strawberries on ours which you don’t find in usual halo halo dessert.
Besides the yummy food, the restaurant itself is quite nice and the service we got was terrific. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember the man that served us but he explained all the dishes to us and also how the restaurant works and it’s history.
So it’s fair to say my family and I highly enjoyed our dining experience in Nanam. Every dish we tried was good and we all raved about it. The food was cooked and presented really well. The different components went well together and the flavours are strong but balanced. I’m not just raving about this place because it’s a Filipino restaurant. In all honestly, we’re actually more critical of Filipino restaurants and that’s why we don’t usually go to them.
Nanam is different though. If you’re expecting a traditional Filipino dish, you’ll be disappointed but if you have an open mind and just enjoy the food without thinking about how the traditional dishes were cooked then I think you’ll enjoy it as much as my family did. Nanam Eatery is more of a Filipino-fusion restaurant. It’s not the cheapest but it’s also won’t break the bank. If you want a cheap Filipino meal, go to the night markets because Nanam is something else and on a league of its own when it comes to Filipino food here in NZ.
Next time I’m coming for the crispy adobo, ensaymada and longganisa.