For us who live in the suburb, eating out in the Metro has become more and more rare. Too many disappointing experiences have made us very wary and the less instances when we feel like mouthing invectives while paying the bill, the better for us.
Two weeks ago, I was meeting a fellow writer to talk business. I suggested meeting at Capitol Commons which, according to a fellow lawyer, is home to food trucks on Sunday afternoons. Two days before the meeting, I discovered that the food trucks had moved to Marikina. I suggested Nomama at Capitol Commons instead. Sam was coming with us, Nomama has vegetarian items in its menu so it was a good choice.
Nomama is also closing shop by the end of the month so it was probably going to be the first and the last time that we would have a chance to experience the ramen that friends had been raving about.
Speedy ordered the house ramen (house pork stock, special mis-sesame blend, chashu and tamago) and wasn’t too happy. The pork tasted “old” he said although the rest of the ingredients in the bowl was good. A real pity because Speedy’s very much a ramen lover and he was more excited about going to Nomama than I was. He takes note of ramen houses that he passes, sees on TV or reads about on the web. And when we go out, we’d check out what ramen house on his list is nearby. Too bad that he didn’t enjoy his Nomama ramen all that much.
I, on the other hand, was very happy with my choice of ramen.
Braised wagyu beef cheek, milk broth, poached egg and nori. The milk broth was delightful. And that chunk of beef cheek was everything that I could ask for — tender and gelatinous with no congealed fat (“sebo”) mouth feel even when my ramen had gone cold because I talked more — and faster — than I ate. Speedy would tell me later how Sam laughed as they watched me holding a forkful of noodles in mid-air for thirty minutes while I talked and talked. Of course, that’s an exaggeration. I didn’t hold the fork for thirty minutes. More like three, perhaps, but definitely not thirty.
Sam, the vegetarian, skipped the ramen and ordered mixed vegetable tempura. She didn’t complain so I took that to mean that she liked the food. Much later, she would ask me to replicate the mixed vegetable tempura at home and I promptly made a mess. But, anyway…
What is it that makes a restaurant a hit or a miss? From what I’ve read, Nomama has legions of fans despite the rather pricey food (PHP550.00 for a bowl of ramen isn’t exactly cheap). And yet the owners have deemed it a better idea to close its doors.
We chatted up the food attendant and asked if the “closing” meant that Nomama was merely moving to another location. He wasn’t sure. He informed us though that the Nomama owners had already opened a Korean restaurant at Capitol Commons. We’ll go there one of these days.
Meanwhile, in its last week of operation, Nomama has a special promo for its customers — order a regular ramen and a second (smaller) bowl is only PHP1.00. Coming from S&R Shaw a few days ago, we went back to Nomama — this time, with Alex. But it was just after office hours, Capitol Commons was teeming with people and parking was impossible. Regretfully, we had to leave without enjoying Nomama one last time. I’ll miss the wagyu beef cheek, the milk broth and the perfectly poached egg.