Restaurant Review: ‘NAMO Artisanal Pizzeria

Discover gourmet Italian cuisine in the heart of downtown Saigon

On March 28th, ‘NAMO Artisanal Pizzeria (74/6 Hai Ba Trung, D1) marked its first anniversary by launching a new menu that draws on the seafood cuisine of the Mediterranean coast. Oi Vietnam was there to explore the venue’s new tastes of Italy.

‘NAMO’s corporate chef Ivan Barone is brimming with enthusiasm over his new menu—which effects a coming of age for a restaurant that continues to distinguish itself for prime dining a notch above what’s normally expected of an ordinary pizzeria. Updating the already finely-balanced menu has been an energizing exercise for Barone, a chef so dedicated to his craft that he regularly wakes in the middle of the night to scrawl down fresh recipe ideas for development at the venue.

Oi Vietnam-April2017_namopiza_DSC0115_NT

“We don’t want to be the classic Italian restaurant stuck with one menu for 20 years,” he emphasizes. “As the ‘NAMO brand, we don’t want our guests to get bored, so we want to follow the seasons of Italy—even though Saigon is always hot—and our chefs will also be motivated by preparing fresh menu items, so the team is more excited and willing to cook better.

The new menu represents something of a statement for ‘NAMO—a demonstration of the maturity of the brand. While artisanal pizza still counts as an emerging food fashion that has only really started to take off in the past decade—even in Italy—Barone’s reworking of the dishes on offer here is a passionate homage to modern trends in his national cuisine that suggests there remains much to be explored. It is an attempt to couch the more casual, comfortable elements of ‘NAMO’s fine dining experience in the complex subtleties of its more remarkable menu options.

Oi Vietnam-April2017_namopiza_DSC0112_NT

What’s important is Barone’s balancing act between the familiar and the more exotic new items. NAMO’s corporate chef is a composer of his recipes, and his new menu is an orchestral work best enjoyed for its subtleties, with a concentrated effort on the part of the diner to appreciate the delicate balance of tastes on the tongue.

In fact, our overall impression of the menu was one of intrigued surprise—nothing tasted quite as we expected. This was immediately evident in the Selection of Hot & Cold Seafood Appetizers (VND390,000) served as an eclectic range of bite-sized portions with capsicum and green bean sauces. The swordfish and salmon carpaccios were prepared in a simple overnight marinade to bring out hidden nuances; the moreish crab gratin was uncharacteristically warm in flavor. Perhaps the most interesting taster was the fried zucchini stuffed with swordfish with its perfectly understated body and freshness on the palate.

Oi Vietnam-April2017_namopiza_Mixed seafoodDSC0076_NT

‘NAMO’s Crab Tagliolini al Nero (VND390,000) is a classic of Barone’s signature style, with its homemade pasta infused with squid ink to enhance the intensity of the spicy crab ragout. The pasta is made from scratch, every feature bearing the craftsmanship and balancing of extremes of its creator.

Oi Vietnam-April2017_namopiza_noodle_DSC0036_NT

One of the more impressive-looking dishes is the free-range Baby Chicken (also VND390,000) folded origami- style with a crisp, golden skin and thin layer of Pommery mustard seeds pressed into the moist flesh. The marination process infuses the meat with fine herbal flavors before the fowl is grilled and served with roasted potatoes.

Oi Vietnam-April2017_namopiza_chicken_DSC0040_NT

‘NAMO’s food is art—whether you enjoy it casually or attentively is up to the individual diner. This principle extended into the desserts—we tried the deliciously moist Tiramisu (VND150,000) drenched with espresso and ultra-fresh mascarpone cream, as well as the Triple Chocolate Mousse (VND150,000), crafted to reveal contrasting dimensions in the chocolate for those who enjoy complex desserts not overwhelmed by their sugars.

Oi Vietnam-April2017_namopiza_desertDSC0086_NT

We barely scratched the surface of ‘NAMO’s new creations—intrigued diners should investigate some of the venue’s other premium dishes, which include the cherry tomato-infused Linguine with Spicy Lobster (VND450,000) and the Pizza Tasting Platter (VND490,000) featuring a mini-trio of authentic Stefano Ferrara wood-fired pizzas. If you do dine at ‘NAMO this month and drop off your name card, you’ll be in the draw to win a round-trip ticket to Rome or Milan from Thai Airways. Just remember, no matter when you experience this venue, be prepared to take your time with every mouthful—the restaurant’s careful attention to the poetry of its flavors are designed to reward the astute diner.

IMAGES BY NGOC TRAN

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Top 10 Indian Foods That Are Must Try

India is a country that can impress you at every step of the way. Whether it is the culture, scenic view, geography, history, and even foot – every thing of the nation will mesmerize you and overwhelm you. If you are a foodie and love to explore different cuisines of India, then the country welcomes

Read More »

7 Different things You Can Pair with Your Coffee

Coffee is a must-have drink for most people. But having it plain with no side snack or dish can affect your stomach lining. Fortunately, you can pair coffee with all kinds of food, from spicy dishes to pastries. Also, you can use different healthy oils, such as MCT oil, and gain all the benefits of MCT

Read More »

Eat Your Way Through Hong Kong in a Day

Taste Hong Kong: One-day journey through culinary diversity Want to eat like a Hong Konger? Hong Kong is one of the world’s great food cities and its cuisine is world-renowned for being incredibly rich, influenced by Cantonese, European, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian flavors. There’s literally something for everyone, at any time of day. Morning

Read More »

Make Ordering Cake Online A Good Experience In 5 Easy Steps

Introduction A party without cake is incomplete. Cakes are the highlight of every big and small event. Be it a birthday, wedding anniversary, annual day, cakes make the celebration elegant and delightful. Since there are varieties of cakes available, you will find a cake for every occasion. Do you want to buy cake online? With

Read More »

Buy caviar online at affordable fixed rates from Caspian Monarque.

Caspian Monarque is the best online store where we can buy caviar at affordable fixed rates. Caviar is fish eggs that are found in the Caspian Sea. Here we find fishes like salmon, steelhead, trout, lumpfish, and whitefish. They vary in shapes, sizes, colors, and physical features. However, their eggs are small and almost similar. They differ

Read More »