I recently had the pleasure of dining at Nanam Eatery in Takapuna.
Having walked past the restaurant many times since it opened in March I was a bit sceptical of Filipino food. I have no idea why as I enjoy all types of Asian food. In the 1990’s when we lived in Singapore and our amah, Nelly, was from the Philippines and cooked delicious food for us on many occasions.
What got me across the lines was when I saw the METRO 50 RESTAURANT AWARDS article in their window box, proudly displaying they were a finalist in the Best Neighbourhood Bistro. So, I immediately made a booking for the following evening.
The place was already buzzing by 7 pm when we arrived. I learnt from our waiter they were fully book. I bumped into an old friend from Remuera. She had been a regular at their restaurant in Royal Oak before it moved to Takapuna. She’s so keen on Nanam’s food she was happy to make the pilgrimage across the bridge to get a’ fix’ of this great cuisine.
Co-owner and executive chef at Nanam, Jess Granada with partner Andrew Soriano started their business in Royal Oak several years ago. While the restaurant was small, it had a strong following of Filipinos and locals.
By chance they spotted the French restaurant Le Desir had closed down on Hurstmere Road. Being locals living in Milford, having their business nearby was appealing. They set about renovating the space then moved their business to the other side of town…Takapuna.
A few steps into the restaurant, the bar is hard to miss. Decked out with Filipino and Maori kete bags (a blending of two cultures) provides a warm and casual atmosphere to the restaurant. The walls are painted in green and gold marbling – a symbol of Islam, the Philippines’ second most popular religion after Roman Catholicism.
A guitarist sits casually playing Filipino music adding much to the ambiance.
A private room at the back of the restaurant pays homage to Spain’s colonisation of the Philippines from 1565-1898 with a low-hanging drape ceiling and decorative wicker baskets.
Filipino cuisine draws on many influence from the Americas, Spain, India, Malaysia, China and Indonesia. While we thoroughly enjoyed the Taco Bar (beetroot bar with sticky pork belly), Wagyu beef and lemongrass sausage and Roast Chicken ‘Sinigang’, we didn’t have the lamb Adobo… a cooking style that has never left me since Nelly made ‘Chicken Adobo’ for our son James. It’s a cooking process that involves either meat, seafood, or vegetables being marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic. The food is browned in oil and then simmered in the marinade and served with rice.
Next time, that’s what I’m going to have. It will be interesting to see if the ‘real’ adobo way of cooking, is as I remember it.
Nanam is great. We’ll be back.
178 Hurstmere Rd