If you've ever been disappointed by the sequel of something, be it your favourite movie, book or iPhone upgrade, you'll be relieved to know Nanam 2.0 does not fall into this category.
What was once a humble restaurant in Royal Oak is now all grown up, and like many yo-pros it's found its home near Takapuna Beach (the only difference being it doesn't still live with its parents).
The feel is different from before: good different. The Takapuna edition has experienced something of a growth spurt and a little polishing around the edges. Walls have sprouted into large canvases for sophisticated artwork, and the offering of tables has multiplied a few times over. But while its limbs have grown and voice has broken, to say Nanam has gotten too big for its boots would be doing this little/big gem a total disservice. It still maintains its authentic Filipino charm; the wait staff make you feel like an old friend and the food is insanely delicious.
Great attention should be paid to the collision of cultures, like the embrace of two good friends (who reunited over the best meal of their lives). As soon as you enter the space your eyes are drawn to the cluster of Filipino and Maori kete hanging from the ceiling. Literally woven together, these two cultural artefacts speak a powerful statement of unity.
Continuing the theme of fusion, this Filipino food is a blend of many different cuisines from Spain, India, the Americas, China and Indonesia. The combination of flavours on the menu are married so perfectly that any other food will taste utterly bland in comparison. Nanam's taco pao ($9) is up there with the best bao you will ever taste and the colours of its DIY contents are definitely worth a gram. Imagine a fancy version of popcorn lamb shank and you basically have their crispy adobo ($3), and don't forget the offering of mains; the roast chicken sinigang a particularly irresistible option ($31). Chase the cocktail of flavours with a real cocktail and/or one of their decadent desserts.
Nanam is fine dining without being over indulgent. It's controlled and well balanced, without holding anything back. Although its interior suggests a more formal approach, don't be too fooled by appearances. Its Takapuna location makes it the perfect full stop to a day at the beach and its doors are likely to flung wide open, joining you in maximising the sunshine hours.
Instead of going to the movies to watch High School Musical 5 dine at Nanam and experience a sequel that will live up to your stupidly high expectations and not make you want to punch a wall. New AND improved might actually be a thing after all.