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Nama, Notting Hill review: A raw food gem

"The two greatest types of food," someone told me recently, "are the food you don't have to cook, and the food you don't have to pay for."

I realised how right they were when I paid a visit to Nama, a raw foods restaurant in Notting Hill. Being as it's raw foods, no one technically had to cook, and thanks to the donation of a 50 percent off voucher from a kindly work colleague of Mr FtVs, we didn't really have to pay for it. (Well, we didn't have to pay for all of it, which is still really rather good to this cash-strapped student.)

I should have hated Nama. It's all a bit hippy-dippy zen, white-and-grey decor that looks like it was designed for Instagram, and cups of tea that cost more than bottles of beer. (There's a reason I don't stray into west London too often. There be dragons. And £7.50 smoothies.)

The first thing that caught my A raw vegan full English? Anywhere that's got the swag to put a raw vegan full English on their menu has either got to be deluded, or genius. I was fully prepared to not love Nama, only turns out it was genius, and so I couldn't not be really rather impressed.

This is my full English:

There were all the ingredients you'd expect from a full English -  mushrooms, tomatoes, sausages, toast, eggs, and bacon - but remixed into a delicious and creative raw vegan reimagining. The bacon was smoky aubergine, the toast was raw crackers, and the tomatoes and mushrooms were, erm, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Those eggs were something else though. Nothing like eggs from my hazy recollection, but it's utterly gorgeous - creamy, light, and with the consistency of a great pâté. It wasn't the eggiest thing I've ever eaten, but I thought there was some black salt to give a sulphurous nod to its non-vegan equivalent.

Mr Flicking the Vs had a Mexican bowl, a mixture of spicy Mexican mix, cashew chipotle cheese, activated pumpkin seed and paprika crackers, smashed avocado, pico de Gallo, sour cream, shredded lettuce, activated seeds.

I'd love to be able to tell you what that Mexican bowl was like, but he threatened to stab me with his fork if I so much as looked at his chipotle cheese, so I'm thinking he liked it very much. (I did manage to distract him long enough by shouting "look, it's the Goodyear blimp!" to grab a forkful of spicy Mexican mix, and pronounce it very good indeed.)

Then, there was dessert. There are four desserts on the menu at Nama, or rather cunningly, you can also order a selection of all of them, in Liliputian portions. Being decisive sorts, we settled on the salted chocolate caramel cake.

Another hat tip to Nama for turning out a dessert that was raw and still rich and indulgent. The cake was a great solid block of thick chocolate, more like a mousse that's been down the gym more than a traditional cake, and no worse for that.

Bonus points, too, for Nama's glorious inconsistency in serving beer and coffee, both of which would seem an affront to the raw ethos, but one I'm very happy to see nonetheless.

But that seems to be Nama's modus operandi all over - surprising, smart, and delicious. Despite my ambivalence towards raw food, Nama was so good, I'm planning my next visit, 50 percent off or or no 50 percent off. If you want proof that the best food is the food you didn't have to cook, Nama's it. The food you don't have to pay for? Don't believe it. Nama's worth getting your wallet out for.

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  1. Sounds like an interesting outing - I am not a huge fan of raw food but I do love the look of your meals - and that they serve beer and coffee so they are not purists. As for 50% discount - definitely a win.

  2. Thanks for this review. It sounds like the sort of place to visit when you can get 50% off, but the fact you're willing to return for full prices says a lot. Your pictures and descriptions say a lot too, and I love the option of a dessert platter. I'm indecisive when it comes to dessert (or just greedy, and want it all) ;)

  3. Great review! My edition of raw food tends to be an apple or a banana from the bowl on the counter. Or raw salad greens. But I do appreciate a well constructed raw meal. I've encountered both the horrible and the sublime in raw dining, and Nama definitely looks to fit in the later category. Wish I could eat there!

  4. This sounds like quite the place! All of it looks delicious.

  5. Color me impressed! Raw foods can be really hit or miss, but this is a definite hit. Gorgeous, tempting plates and seriously, you can't beat a deal like that. If not for the cost of a plane ticket, I would be all over that. ;)

  6. Impressive indeed! I wouldn't mind waking up to that English breakfast or the Mexican bowl or the cake. :-)


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