If you're still racking your brain for where to take your significant other for this much-anticipated (or apprehensive) Valentine's Day, think no further. Namo is the new Japanese restaurant with a head chef who has a low-key celebrity status. Hailing from the infamous Nobu in Tokyo (that Robert De Niro co-owns) with his traditional training in his knife skills, Takashi Shitamoto has more than enough credentials to create dishes that will sweep your date and yourself off the floor.
Post-refurbishment, Namo seemed almost too minimalistic in its décor with its simple wooden slats and white walls. However, the food is such a show-stealer that you need a modest and unembellished background to give it all the attention that it deserves. The utter finesse of the execution in preparing such gorgeous food had me a bit suspicious. Usually, pretty-on-the-outside follows a not-so-pretty-inside. In this case, the taste of the production measured up to its physical beauty – despite looking like a piece of art, it tasted so darn good.
Every dish we ordered and witnessed being served at our neighbouring tables were simply beautiful. The composition and presentation of the food was graceful, elegant, artistic and most definitely exceeded my expectations. The crispy battered large shelled black tiger prawn with spring onion and spicy creamy sauce (4 pieces $14) arrived on wooden stilts, pegged into a block of wood – like a mini-stage for prawn puppets.
The Sashimi Carpaccio ($24) was what blew me away. The arrangement and decoration of the sashimi was pure eye candy. Its exquisite aesthetic will warrant a "don't eat, I need to take a picture!" moment. Apologies to all the Instagram husbands – God forbid you don't let her log this splendid artwork for everyone to see. To complement the sashimi platter, we tried the Hakushika Gin Nama ($15 for 180ml bottle) – a dry sake that really took to my fancy.
I highly recommend the Chicken Nanban ($20) – it was deep-fried chicken like I had never tasted before. The panko free-range chicken topped with a tartare-like "white sweet and sour sauce" was simply divine. It tasted like an extra thick yet tender katsu-don. To wash it all down, we opted for the Hakutsuru Rokko ($15 for 180ml) and a cold glass of Sapporo ($8). There's no other match that can rival the perfect union between deep-fried chicken and beer, am I right? It's totally a "thing" in Korea.
After you're done feeding your lover bits of raw fish, head over to Mekong Baby and finish off your Valentine's outing with four cocktails each. With each concoction, you'll fall in love a little bit more…I swear, they're pretty much love potions.