35 Great Portland Street
London W1W 8QQ
0207 631 2099http://www.nuocmam.co.uk/
It was the last day of the academic year, and it was the day we all handed in our summer project reports and gave our final presentations to the lecturers in our department. After a whole year of hard work a celebration was definitely called for. Nuocmam was chosen because it was running a 50% offer on toptable. For some reason we (read: the powers that be) negotiated for a different deal instead: 25% off food and 50% off bottles of wine – which might seem like a fantastic offer if you’re a huge wine drinker, but considering the demographic: poor college students, many of whom don’t even drink in the first place (for various reasons), this deal sucked. But the rest of us (read: those with less say in the way things are run around here) went ahead with the sucky deal anyway, since everything had already been arranged and it was too late to make alternate plans.
The above was just a rant, and has nothing to do with the restaurant, but everything to do with the undemocratic decisions, but I should move on now.
Nuocmam is a rather new Vietnamese/Japanese fusion restaurant near Great Portland Street Tube Station, and it trying very hard to establish itself it seems. Restaurants like Noucmam are a dime a dozen in London nowadays, and to be honest, it’s becoming quite a tired concept now. The selection of food items is what you would come to expect in a restaurant like this, so we didn’t find anything too exciting in the menu. Since we were there to hang out with our coursemates, food was secondary in the whole experience, so we weren’t bothered at all by the uninspiring choices or the quality of the food, which we’ll come to in a minute.
Anyway, we had to order an appetizer and a main in order to enjoy the 25% offer (oh don’t get me started again), so we went with the Dynamite Roll and the Yuzu Squid. The Dynamite Roll was basically a soft shelled crab maki roll, which was nice, but that’s about all we can say about it. It was definitely not as dynamite-ish as its name would suggest. The Yuzu Squid fared a little better. The squid was nice and crispy and the yuzu sauce gave a good tangy burst with each bite.
For our mains we had the Kimchi Miso Lamb and the Slow Braised Pork Belly Broth, with a Stir Fried Egg Noodles as a side (personally we don’t think Asian restaurants should charge extra for serving staples like rice and noodles. They should come included in the meal). The lamb was quite tasty, but nothing special. I suppose with the 50% offer (that we should have got dammit) it could be considered quite good value for money, but on the other hand I think for a truly ‘wow’ experience, go to Roka, or even Tsunami.
The pork belly on the other hand was outstanding. Visually, it got major envious looks from everyone – it was served perched on top of its own little fireplace, and just looked amazing. Tastewise it hit the spot as well – the pork belly was beautifully tender and the broth was very flavourful. Definitely something we would order again. The egg noodles were nice, but oily.
One of our coursemates had the Pan Fried Fillet of Seabass, which was quite delicious as well, the fish very nicely cooked with good flavours, and something worth a try if you ever find yourself in Nuocmam.