I love small, quirky places with character and good food. Nasi and Mee easily fits into this category. Serving Pan Asian cuisine with an emphasis on authentic flavours this new eatery has become a fast favourite in Koramnagala. Considering it is 200 meters from my house, I have been running across in my pajamas on days that I need a galangal and kaffir lime hit. The name is derived from the Malaysian word for Rice and Noodles – Nasi and Mee 🙂
It could have been a sidewalk café, but considering the traffic jams that 100ft road sees, it’s wise that they have a floor to ceiling glass façade. The seating is casual with wooden boards atop an adjustable wrought iron base. The chairs are fashioned in the same manner and are very comfortable. Wooden crates serve as lampshades small steel buckets hold cutlery and basic wooden cabinets showcase fizzy drinks and kinckacks reminiscent of small eateries in KL. To the fag end of the restaurant is a faux bar (they do not have a license for alcohol). Adjoining the bar is a large chalkboard that has a colourful rooster painted on it and a quote from Julia Child that seems to sum up the restaurant’s motto – “You don’t have to cook fancy, complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients”.
I am not partial to sugary flavored drinks, spiked with fizzy liquids, but it WAS a particularly hot day and in the absence of beer the Lemongrass Cooler seemed to suggest it would do the trick. The drinks section in N&M has a mélange of coolers with an Asian theme. (At least some marks for trying to stick with asian flavours). Lemon Ginger Spritzer, Lychee and Lime Spritzer, Peach and Basil Tea, Young Coconut Soda et all. I had the highly recommended Chendol Drink – which is the Asian equivalent of Pina Colada coupled with pandan flavored twizzlers. In Malaysia and Singapore it’s served as a dessert with shaved ice and red beans as well. Definitely an acquired taste and a hell a lot of calories. I suggest getting one to share – new experiences need to be welcomed with open arms. Even ones that feel like rubber worms in your mouth. Ha ha ha!
They have seven Dim Sums in all. And once you spot the Xiao Long Bao – I think everything else fades into the background. The Fatty Bao had it on their menu when they just opened, but three months later it was gone. Shame.
The Xiao Long Bao is no ordinary dim sum. Each dumpling wrapper contains piping hot soup within! The ones at N&M were quite flavorful and fun to eat. Mind your tongue though and be patient – lest the hot soup scald it! They give you a soup spoon to eat it, so that you can avoid a costly mistake. The easiest way to do this, with minimal embarrassment, is to gingerly pick up a dim sum from the bamboo box and place it in the soup spoon. You can either choose to bite the top frilly knot on the Bao, or poke it with a chop stick. The hot soup then gushes out of the dumpling into the soup spoon. I prefer to then dress the dumpling with some hot chilli oil and slurp the soup up whilst tipping the rest of the dumpling into my mouth. Super fun and super addictive! (The GM of a luxury hotel on MG Road, claimed he could eat 50 Xiao Long Bao’s in one setting, in an eatery in Hong Kong. After seeing how addictive they can be – I completely believe him!)
I love Asian salads. We tried the Glass Noodle Salad which was soothing and punchy at the same time. The lime-chilli dressing was bang on and coated the slippery cold glass noodles with the required heat. The crushed peanuts and colorful veggies added the needed crunch and bulk to it. Reminded me of the papaya salads on the streets of Bangkok. If only they were brave enough to use fish sauce and dried shrimp in the dressing, they would have nailed it!
As we waited four our main course orders we munched on some Thai Chilli Prawns. Crispy fried prawns tossed with chillies, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. If seafood doesn’t whet your appetite, you could always try the Honey Chilli Lotus Stem or the Chatuchak Fried Chicken Wings. Both sound very appetizing and I have saved another date on my calendar to try it!
Hawkers in Bangkok, KL or Singapore are experts at churning out the most delectable meat grills. The aromas of chargrilled chicken, beef and seafood fill the air post 6 PM and it’s a crime not to stop and pick up a couple of skewers of their wares. N&M has a section dedicated to Grills and I have tried quite a bit of it, owing to my various excursions to the restaurant. The Malaysian Chicken Satay is standard fare. Two robust skewers of cubed chicken marinated in shallots, garlic and spices – chargrilled. This is served with a lovely peanut dipping sauce. The Grilled Coconut Prawns that I tried on another occasion were a slight let down. The fresh turmeric, coconut milk and lime seemed to have burned out on the grill and all that remained was overcooked prawns on a skewer. The Char Siew Chicken however, was exemplary. Nowhere near awesome as a Char Siew Pork, but the sweet-spicy-smokey flavours are still a treat.
You have a large choice of mains and it is very easy to go around in circles trying to choose between curries, noodles, rice or complete meal platters. We’ve already had our exposure to a fair share of curry owing to the popping up of Asian restaurants across Bangalore. So I will ignore the Thai red Curry, the Laksa, the Rendang and the Massaman here. (Though on one occasion, I think the Rendang had marked Indian flavours 😦 )
An interesting stirfry we tried was the Wok Fried Sambal Okra with Prawns. The Sambal sauce adds a fiery element to the crunchy fresh Okra and the prawns. A light and simple dish that we paired with Nasi Lemak Istimewa. Coconut milk infused rice, served with sambal ikan belis (spicy red chilli paste), peanuts and cucumber slices. This rice dish goes extremely well with Rendang, Ayam Masak Mehrah or Massamam Curry as well.
If you’d rather have a meal in one – then the Nasi Goreng is a good bet. A Malaysian specialty, the fried rice is flavoured with sweet soya and chilli paste and served with a fried egg, satay, cucumber and keropok (prawn crackers). Completely soul satisfying! The Prawn Crackers are the real deal here and comparable to ones that I have eaten in KL. Pure joy!
They make a good N&M Curry Noodles as well that comes in coconut broth with veggies. I haven’t yet tried the Mee Goreng, but I’m sure I will have a pajama run soon enough.
You have desserts like Chocolate Dim Sum, Banana Spring Rolls and Ais Kacang on the menu. I have deliberately avoided them and gone home to dig into a bowl of Naturals Ice Cream. My alleged allergy to Asian desserts should not deter you from trying them though.
Nasi and Mee, has surprised me with their simple approach to food and their authentic flavours. Their pricing is competitive and their location a stone’s throw away from my house. My only qualm is the long waiting time from when you place the order to when you get your food on the table. Also the waitstaff, while competently serving tables of 2 and 4, still hasn’t learnt to nail orders from larger groups. But that is a small grouse and easily forgotten when you dig into a piping hot bowl of Laksa.
Nasi and Mee,
974, 80 Feet Road, Koramangala 4th Block, Bangalore 560034.
Phone: +91 80 41513456
Cost : INR 1250/++ for a meal for two.
Valet Parking available.