Noodles for breakfast? I don’t know what I find that strange given that on many a morning when I’m at home (at my parents’ place that is – strange that despite living by myself for more than a decade and being a homeowner I still think of that as home) I’ve been known to eat a bowl of curry and rice for breakfast – in fact last year at the family reunion I ate a different one for breakfast every day for a week!
Anyways, that’s not really the point. Katie B corralled a host of Yelpers and musicans to Naamyaa Café one Saturday morning for a noodle breakfast. Apparently this is all the rage in South East Asia so it proved to be a great choice for UYE Unconventional Breakfast 1.0. Naamyaa is done up in the traditional Bangkok look including lazily rotating ceiling fans which was an excellent touch. The seats are comfortable, the ceilings high and airy, and the kitchen open for all to see. It was starting off well!
Then we found out that the majority of the menu wouldn’t be served until 12pm. That meant we could either opt for the very limited breakfast menu (other than more Western offerings there was only a rice porridge and a noodle soup) or order the first round and wait until high noon to go for round 2. Now, my dear reader, just what did you expect? Of course we went for the latter option!
My group of four (Yee Gan O, Nida K, Grant T, and myself) opted to share a bowl of the rice porridge and one of the noodle soup. The rice porridge was a mix of soup and rice (more soup garnished with rice rather than a congee-type dish which is what I was expecting) and full of flavour. I really enjoyed the heavy spicy bite of the ginger in the broth and could have easily devoured a bowl to myself. The noodle soup was a bit flavourless by comparison but I think that’s more due to the fact my mouth was still reeling from that ginger attack that any fault of the noodles. Still, I prefer the texture and bold flavours of the rice porridge to the more delicate notes of the noodle soup. The pork in the porridge was also more tender and juicy than the slightly dry chicken in the soup.
Just as we finished licking our bowls clean, noon rolled around so we quickly went into round 2 which comprised of a seafood laksa, a papaya salad, and a stir fried beef salad. The laksa was rich and warming but not quite thick enough for my tastes. It still has a way to go to challenge the Hare & the Tortoise in Putney but for a second round it was perfect. The papaya salad was surprisingly spicy with a hefty dose of red chillies hidden among the crunchy julienned papaya. Absolutely fantastic! The beef salad felt disjointed by comparison and added nothing to the experience.
The rest of the table were gracious enough to let us taste some of their dishes including a curried soft shelled crab (definitely get this – its most excellent) and some stir-fried minced beef and chilli (good but yet not as spicy as the papaya salad!).
Finally, we got a chilli cheeseburger. Yes, I know that doesn’t make any sense but Katie B had pointed out the burger did look pretty damn good and being on a BurgerQuest I really didn’t’ have any choice. At first everyone though Grant T and I were crazy for ordering this, but hey you gotta just go for it sometimes. And then when it came, oh everyone wanted a bit. The burger wasn’t super special but simply a well executed item. The patty was juicy, the plain bun held together just long enough and did an admirable job of soaking up the chilli and juices, and the chilli itself added enough heat to make it interesting. It won’t make my top 3, but it’s a good effort and worthy of being called a burger (unlike you Joe Allen).
Oh, I should mention the hot chocolate which is thick, rich and creamy and can be ordered with a side of mini marshmallows (or Baileys if you want a kick!). That alone gives Naamyaa extra points in my book! The staff are also uber friendly and catered to our ridiculous demands for extra bowls to share and also our indecisiveness with drinks.
All in all, great place to start our breakfast adventure and worth keeping in mind for a slightly different take on brunch when those pancakes and fry ups get boring!