Tucked away in a charming shady spot on Notting Hill’s Talbot Road, Nama likes to think of itself as a “raw food nirvana”, offering raw food courses, catering, raw food cleanses, juice cleanses and an all round raw food “lifestyle”. Nama is also a raw food restaurant . Listed in so many guides to healthy eating in London, alongside the likes of the Wild Food Café, Pure Taste, Ethos and Maple & Fitz to name just a few, and as someone who loves an eatery that makes healthy foods appealing, fun and beautiful, I was keen on giving it a go.
Even for those not eating a 100% raw food diet (like myself and my friend), a high proportion of raw food or just a little bit here and there can have amazing health benefits. To get technical, the term “raw food” refers to food that hasn’t been cooked, treated or processed in any way, above 115°F; food cooked above this temperature starts to lose vital vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Although the prices are high, given Nama’s innovation on the restaurant scene and the health benefits that such foods provide, I was willing to fork out (quite literally). After dining at such a place, you leave feeling great and full of energy – a feeling which, to quote Mastercard, is “priceless”.
With a serene colour scheme of grey and cream, Nama’s interior immediately made me feel relaxed. And so did the behind-the-bar blackboard, which describes their range of drinks on offer – from cocktails, to cleansing juices and smoothies, and dairy-free hot drinks. The simple, white clean furnishings are also the perfect backdrop for the beautifully presented colourful dishes on their menu, many of which are served on slate.
For those suspicious of raw foods, Nama’s creative selection of dishes will revolutionise your preconceptions about these types of foods. All ingredients are vegan, organic, unprocessed and wheat, and dairy free: my idea of heaven. My friend chose their signature White Zucchini Pasta (£12.50), made with zucchini “spaghetti”, celeriac, white wine and herb sauce, wild mushrooms, dried apricots and pine parmesan. This dish, made famous by Helmsey and Helmsey and their jaunts with the spiraliser, is one I’ve recreated at home, opting for a pomodoro sauce, toasted pine nuts and a radicchio leaf garnish. And delicious it certainly is, capturing the essence of the raw food ethos: fresh, uninterfered with and incredibly tasty. With top quality produce, you’re truly able to enjoy all aspects of the ingredients – just as nature intended. The ingredients were also presented in a stunningly impressive tower-like construction.
In the mood for Asian cuisine, I opted for the Sushi Platter (£14.00) composed of kohlrabi “rice”, “roasted” Asian mushrooms, carrot, cucumber, cabbage, avocado and sprouts, encased in a nori wrapper and served with a delicious sesame dipping sauce and a Savoy cabbage-style slaw. The dressing didn’t disappoint, as evidenced by my request for more of the sauce! The sushi was beautifully presented on slate and the avocadoes provided a perfect creamy compliment to the other ingredients.
Although tempted by their deserts, particularly the Fermented Mocha Cheesecake (£6.00) or their Chocolate Ganache Tart (£6.00), I had no room. I was surprisingly full on raw vegetables. Although raw, the dishes are dense and generous in portioning. All I wanted was a cup of steaming date-sweetened almond milk cacao – which is high levels of iron, magnesium, and other anti-oxidants.
Although I’m not yet a convert to a fully raw food diet, it’s food that I will certainly be eating a lot more of – especially during Spring and Summer.
Nama Foods, 110 Talbot Road, London, W11 1JR