Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Nao Japanese Restaurant

Nao Japanese on Urbanspoon
A typical late night shopping expedition consists mostly of walking up and down every aisle at a supermarket, filling up our shopping baskets to fill up our cupboards to fill up our tummies.
"Gah, Danish butter cookies!" *Grab*
"Eeek Buenos for $1!" - "Is that even cheap?" - "Dunno. Don't care." *Grab*
"Omg, ___" *Grab*
"Hey, this is edible!" *Grab*

And then we head straight to the Twilight Hawker Markets that run in the heart of Perth City on Friday nights, abundant of a selection of food stalls serving up different cuisines attracting hoards of hungry hungry hippos. So what should you do after stuffing your face with eats like this?

Potato on a stick - $5
Maybe, get full and be satisfied and maybe, STOP EATING you say?

Oh no no no no way.
So what did we do instead?
We headed down Murray Street, for dinner. Straight from one food joint to another. HA!
Even with food in our bellies, food in our shopping bags, food in our minds, we want more food in our bellies...and so went straight to Nao for some RAHHH MENNN.

5 people: 7 mains, 3 sides - 5 insatiable pigs!

Japanese Green Tea Hot Pot - $2.50 (>4 cups) or $1/cup
Green tea is praised to bring much health benefits to the drinker, and this is exactly not the reason why we ordered this first. Shopping tires you out and makes you damn thirsty but since tea is always served scalding hot, it's impossible to drink.

It came out served in a teapot that reminded me of those magical Aladdin genie lamps, the type you can rub and suddenly I dunno, green tea magically pops out. The lack of tea leaves in green tea always makes me feel it's lacking flavour, but that's just green tea itself. Or...that's just me?

Grilled Gyoza - $4.50
Unfortunately this dish came out with 4 pieces which meant we had to share 4 pieces of gold among 5 gold diggers. Which was actually okay, because these weren't super duper fantastically good, just okay. Guess they do what Gyozas are meant to do.

Grilled pork dumplings served with chilli oil dipping with a chewy exterior but never really tasting porky or meaty enough for me. The fillings are usually too mushy to how I like it, probably cause I am used to war teep, the stuff that's pretty much identical to this but served at Dim Sim with a much prominent meaty textured fillings inside. Guess I will forever have a soft spot for Dim Sim <3

Chicken Cutlet Curry & Rice - $13
Didn't try this, but it looked a bit stingy for what it was worth. Some more, it looked distinctly different to its depiction in the menu, sporting a lot lot LOT less meat than what was shown. Initially I thought they had given so much sauce that it had drowned out the meat and that it had sunk to the bottom...of...the flat plate...I was wrong.

Disappointingly little serving of chicken cutlet Japanese style curry with rice. Taste? No idea.
I probably wouldn't bother trying it out judging from the serving size itself lol...

Chicken Ramen - $9.50
So this is the real reason why we ventured to Nao. It boasts fresh homemade noodles every single day, full of authenticity and flavour. Being spoilt for choice (sort of), you get to construct your own bowl of perfect Japanese ramen by choosing your own soup base out of 4 flavours, 3 noodles and various toppings. I've yet to try all the combinations, and I probably will, one sweet day.

This particular night saw me trying the Chicken Ramen with Miso flavour soup base, as Japanese as it can get. All Ramen bowls come with "simple toppings" including bean sprouts, spring onions, bamboo shoots, wakame, nori and a slice of chashu. And simple indeed they are, with only a few strands and pieces here and there. It had me begging for more, as it was just so sparsely seen and eaten.

2 pieces of chicken...small pieces and they take out the chashu too, because it is specifically CHICKEN ramen you ordered and technically, it is CHICKEN you should get only. It's like they take it out because pork is incompatible with chicken or something. But yeah, don't really like how they skimp on the ingredients.

Takoyaki - $6.50
Takoyaki is a word that will forever stick in my head, cause, everything delicious always sticks around in my head. Chopped up octopus deep fried in a seasoned batter til golden and served with Japanese BBQ sauce and mayonnaise is always delicious. But could have been hotter. I've painfully learnt through burning then cursing myself numerous times that these need blowing before eating.

I always find these vary in price around all the restaurants and takeout joints, and sometimes the quality varies largely with that price. I used to love buying 4 takoyaki balls for $2 until I eventually got sick at eating them lukewarm and soft. 6 balls here between 5 people meant 1 extra ball meant yes I was the one to have 2 balls.

Butter & Corn Ramen - $11.50
In my head, I being all over this Butter & Corn ramen. In reality, I was bitterly disappointed. As you can see, or probably can't even see, the butter and corn that was given here is that whole slab of unsalted butter plus sweetcorn, which seemed like 5 normal corn kernels. Nope, there weren't any more kernels underneath anything. I tried to dig too. And dug and dug and dug and found no more gold nuggets. Much more treasure would have been appreciated!

Here, Shoyu Ramen - Soy soup flavour paired with white noodles was chosen. White noodles are just the normal noodles, described at Nao as "plane egg noodles" :) With the exact same toppings too, I believe this cost $11.50 because it was dubbed Butter & Corn Ramen. Not worth it. Had me scooping...and scooping...and scooping towards the bottom hoping for a buried corn kernel that never appeared.

Fried Gyoza - $6.50
Golden, deep fried pork all I can say as I did not try this dish.

Deep fried = a no no. Definitely not out of my own choice. Stupid lack of gall bladder me!

Red Noodles
This was my bowl of Chicken Ramen once again, mixed through. Here you can catch a glimpse of what the Red noodles look like, and maybe try to vaguely imagine what red chilli infused noodles taste like, which is practically impossible. Just gotta go try it for yourself I guess ;)

If you do decide to be different, that will cost you an extra 50 cents when you choose noodles other than those plane egg noodles. I can take a certain amount of hotness with no sweat, and really these noodles didn't actually taste hot, AT ALL. I'm going to be an ass and say it seemed like just noodles dyed red but nah, they're probably not. A chilli wuss would probably find these hot while others would probably just find

Chashu Ramen - $12.50
The Chashu Ramen falls into the popular section of the menu, probably cause it's one of the ones that includes the most amount of meat at that higher price...but still not quite enough meat, with only 4 thin wobbly slices.

Think this was Shio Ramen - Salt flavoured soup, which leaves only one choice we didn't choose: Spycy Ramen, a spycy miso flavour costing $10.50. I guess turning up the heat burns up an extra $1 for them.

Green Noodles
Eating coloured foods is usually a bit weird if they're not the natural colour they are born with. It seems abit too artificial, only exception being candy, cause candy has always meant to be bright and multicoloured :)

So here, Nao's GREEN noodles are looking all eccentric in my eyes. Apparently the greenness comes about due to the mass amounts of spinach that have been infused into the noodles, which also costs an extra 50 cents, just like the red noodles.

Teriyaki Fish Plate - $9.50
And because the boys appetite isn't satisfied with JUST a whole bowl of ramen, they played it safe and doubled up their order with another plate of Teriyaki Fish. This looked a lot more appetising than the other black plate of curry...or maybe cause I could be bothered moving this plate to a location that had some light before I took the photo.

This was simply grilled fish with NAO's teriyaki sauce...which I didn't have a taste of. So can't comment on anything...besides the vegetables which I polished off, as boys will be boys and never really eat their vegetables. Just a bunch of meat eating machines...who probably are just because girls are probabbblyyy more health conscious.
Mmm not really, I take that back. Because I too, am a meat eating machine.


I'm not one of those who get excited at the thought of ramen, but if I was, Nao would probably suffice if I needed my ramen fix. Not really hidden as it has quite a central location in the city, but hidden in the sense that it is tiny and so easy to walk past and miss. A walk down the very busy Murray street but very hard-to-find-parking city in general. Increasingly hard everywhere else too, which helps me use the excuse of THERE WAS NO PARKING! whenever I am late which...if you know me, doesn't happen too often ;)
And if you know me, I know what your reaction to that would have been.

It is quite a small shop, with limited tables and seating, catering mostly to small dining groups with benchtop seating as well as outside. Outdoor seating wouldn't be too awesome on a Summer afternoon, especially on scorching 40 degree days that poor Perthians have endured for the whole past week! :( I've been melted, reheated numerous times switching from indoors to out and burnt to a crisp in the oven outside, time and time again.

Eating on the pavement outside is ok if you like eating with cars, pedestrians, fumes and general city sounds accompanying/interrupting your Ramen time. This was minimal as we got there and dined at 9pm. Staff were starting to stack chairs and as their closing time was 9pm meant Nao were closing, like, now. But nice enough to still welcome our business and we weren't turned away like many other restaurants do, even before closing time.

Their menu offers choices centred around ramen, non surprisingly, and gives you alot of choice in that area. Extras cost more than what they should, which would be okay if they gave a decent amount of it in your bowl. Yeah, think I'm just really bitter about that butter and corn ramen, and its lack of. A few other rice and soup dishes, but pretty safe to say most people would come here for their ramen.

Soupy meals are always stomachwarming on cold nights. But it is along with good company, good laughs and good friends that it will also become heartwarming :-)
Which is exactly what I remember this meal to be, and exactly how I want to remember the rest of my life to be.


  1. Yummmy Ramen!!!!! nice photos!

  2. i love jap food, but you should talk about other cuisines too =]

  3. Yes! I am hungry again! Thanks for asking!


So what did you eat today?

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