Fresh Japanese at Nomenu (Taipei)
Tucked away in a small alley in New Taipei’s Banqiao district, just across the road from the city hall, lies Nomenu, a new Japanese sushi and sashimi bar that offers delicate and fresh cuisine prepared by chefs right in front of you.
It’s called Nomenu, but having absolutely no guidance would pose a bit of a problem for customers, so…there actually is a menu — albeit one that just lays out some basic parameters of meal sets and prices and some grilled ala carte options. This contradiction aside, Nomenu turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience, an intriguing joint I would recommend to people who like their fresh fish and don’t mind leaving the fate of their meal to the chefs. Of course, you can tell them in advance what you like and don’t like, and they will try their best to accommodate, though I have to admit it made me a little nervous because the Japanese are known to be quite adventurous in their choice of ingredients.
For our visit, we were presented with several set options, two of which were NT$280, one for NT$380, and two special “no menu” sets valued at NT$800 and NT$1600. The cheapest sets, to be honest, probably don’t offer enough for most average people, as they only include an appetizer, six sushi pieces or sashimi don, a soup and panna cotta dessert. The NT$380 set is a little better with both the sushi and sashimi don (with less suishi pieces), but you’ll probably have to order some side dishes to feel completely satisfied.
I have no idea what the NT$800 and NT$1600 sets provide, but I’m assuming it’s high quality produce. All prices are subject to a 10% service fee.
The chilled appetizer that day was a three-pronged attack, with potato mash and fish roe, that slimy green thing I don’t really like with sesame sauce, and a skinned tomato with a vinaigrette dressing. They were not exactly the type of things I like, but then again it tasted pretty good for stuff I don’t like.
The sushi set was the highlight for me. It came with an assortment of fresh fish, some lightly seared and others completely raw. You can tell it’s fresh and the wasabi is also freshly made, not like the packeted stuff you get at sushi trains. The sashimi don was good too, though I felt there was not enough sashimi pieces for the amount of rice you get. We also ordered a chicken with sea urchin sauce from the ala carte menu (mostly skewers and grilled items), which was wonderful and went well with the leftover rice.
The soup was not miso as expected, but a light seafood broth, and the panna cotta dessert was fairly good, creamy but not too heavy, with a dash of sugary syrup on top. On the whole it was a very light but tasty meal, which I was happy with but unfamiliar with as most Taiwan restaurants like to stuff you to the brim with low-quality food so you feel like you go value for money.
The best part about it, however, is that you are likely to be presented with a slightly different experience every time you go there given the chef-designed sets and depending on the produce available. From other food blogs I have visited it seems the food I had — or at least the appetizer and soup — was different to theirs. If the opportunity presents itself I will be back.
Address: No. 160-11, Section 1 Zhongshan Road, Banqiao District, New Taipei City (it’s actually on Min-an Street which is perpendicular to Zhongshan Road, across the road from the front entrance of New Taipei City Hall)
Phone: 0930 300 616
Hours: 11am-3pm, 5pm-9pm; closed Mondays
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alwaysnigiri