Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Lunch at Nom Nom, Somerset West

Nom Nom is the new identity of the restaurant on the corner of Main Road and Coronation Avenue in Somerset West which used to be Benguela on Main. Owned by Penny Streeter who also owns Benguela Cove winery in Hermanus, this opened in December and is a welcome addition to the dining selection in the area. They have swapped the fine dining of Benguela on Main, which did not suit the locals, for a concept that allows the customer lots of options all day. As the manager JC van der Merwe says, "If you want a steak early in the morning and breakfast at four you can have it." Or just sit and have tea, milkshakes and nibbles at lunchtime as some ladies at an adjoining table were doing when we were there. We were invited by Penny Streeter to sample the food and experience the restaurant
Open Monday to Saturday from 10 am till 8 pm, with a cocktail bar and function room above the restaurant, this versatile restaurant is already very popular. There is ample parking on site
Quirky decor with Louis XIV to ultra modern furniture including a pink velvet with acid yellow trim day bed; we found it light and airy and rather fun
We were looked after very well by manager JC van der Merwe 
and Sommelier Ndoshi Gumede, whom we have met before at an earlier visit to Benguela on Main and at the Cape Wine Academy. He certainly knows his wines. And our friendly servers Dorothy and Hazel were very solicitous and well trained. It's an open kitchen and different in that it is stepped down for the chefs, all of whom are young and professionally trained
It has a proper bar should you wish to order cocktails. The manager is a specialist
And a juice and pastry cart for those in need of a quick snack or breakfast on the run
Plating a dish under the heat lamps, you can see the difference in floor height
Lots of windows, lots of light, art; we love the floor tiles
There is also an outdoor terrace with lots of shade
The large menu. You may select any single item or a combination from any of the different areas Light, Breads, Brunch, Nibbles, Sweets and Hungry. They are not prescriptive and it’s an all day menu
On its reverse is the drinks menu with coffees, teas, smoothies, juices, beer, spirits and cocktails
The wine list is separate and they carry only the Benguela Cove range of wines, which are very good. You can order them by the carafe – enough for two glasses - or by the bottle
A nice touch at our table on the side of the restaurant, there are plugs for your computers and USB charging slots too
The back of the serving staff's T shirts!
Time for our lunch. We chose two 'starters" and shared them. We ordered a carafe of the Benguela Cove Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, which gave us a glass each and was a great pairing for the dishes. This one is from the Brunch menu. Stacked, light as air potato blinis, topped with a generous portion of smoked sea trout and crème fraiche topped with black and salmon caviar. The only thing the dish was missing was a slice of lemon which, on enquiry, was provided quickly by the kitchen. The dish was topped with what look like tiny Pride of the Cape Bauhinia galpinii leaves, which we didn't know were edible. They had a faint citrus flavour
The second starter came from the Light section of the menu. An attractive slice of Game terrine served with pickles and preserves. You could see the individual meats and some liver and macadamia nuts in this flavourful terrine. It was a little dry and could have done with a bit more of the aspic jelly that sometimes comes in a terrine. This came with an almost Hoisin fruity sauce and many dressed leaves, sliced pickled radishes, asparagus and shoots and a slice of good toasted ciabatta
Our main courses both came from the Hungry section and were irresistible. This is the Pork and Waffle combination. It's a dish from the American South barbecue belt. Two quarters of a waffle, one topped with a pork medallion which you could pull apart with your fork it was so tender, and the other topped with a poached egg from Angus farms. It was in a barbecue style sauce and was topped with bacon jam and popcorn crackling. There were small squares of compressed apple on the plate which did add a good fruity flavour to the dish
The other was the Confit Duck leg with very spicy and hot Mexican black bean and corn on the side. The duck, well caramelised, was topped with a warm and fresh salsa. Quite a strange mix of cultures, but it worked. The duck was a little dry, unexpected with confit poultry. Perhaps it stood for a while under the heat lamp. These are both large generous portions
Having been so well fed, we did not have any dessert, just two espressos. We may well return for the Churros on the menu after an upcoming trip to Spain and Portugal! We were taken upstairs to the function venue by Manager JC van der Merwe

This area is used as a wine bar and cocktail venue and is suitable for other functions
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