I reviewed, reposted and drooled over the Nama Food Instagram account daily for two months thanks to a work partnership. Intrigued by their organic, vegan raw food concept and finding myself on an errand in Notting Hill, I stopped in to see if their food tastes as good as their snapshots look.
The Nama Artisan Raw Foods restaurant was bright and clean with a small café-type feel. Most of the patrons cadged the tables out in front, and we grabbed one of the few tables inside. Once the rain started, the inside instantly became filled nearly to capacity – and felt crowded because the small tables were placed so close together, but I suppose that is typical of tiny “downtown” establishments.
Our orders were taken quickly, and we were served water with a long thin slice of cucumber floating in each glass. The waitress up-sold a special type of milk for my co-worker’s matcha green tea, without telling her about the extra charge, and my order took a while to come up. Finally, a male server emerged to lovingly place my meal on the table very lovingly. His pride in their service was apparent, as he looked at me expectantly. I smiled back…
But my heart dropped and my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw how small the wrap sat on my dark slate platter. The Instagram photos made the portion look satisfying, if not hefty. Amazing how the photographers pulled off that illusion… £9.50 with an additional service charge sounds reasonable for a single lunch main, but not for a few bites of decent food.
The Mexican Wrap – described on the menu as “spicy Mexican mince, layered with guacamole, pico de gallo, cultured cashew sour cream, shredded lettuce & carrot all rolled up in a courgette and flax seed wrap,” was comprised of nice ingredients, but I was not wow-ed by the preparation.
The wrap itself was light and delicate, which to me, mostly served to emphasize how little substance made up my lunch. The meat substitute lacked heartiness, and although seasoned well, it also lacked depth as can be common of vegetarian dishes. (However, compared to vegan food in Taiwan, this cuisine was quite plain.) The guacamole was okay, and the sour cream substance was certainly sour – but definitely no substitute for real sour cream. (At least not for a Wisconsin girl!) The side salad was a nice pile of mixed greens tossed in vinaigrette, but nothing special.
Perhaps it was my high expectations, thanks to Instagram, but eating at Nama Foods, chewing many times to make each baby bite last longer at a tiny table with a mini platter of lunch, was just an okay experience. But hey, some people love it – or pretend they do on social media.