Monday, 17 November 2014

A raw brunch at NAMA, Notting Hill, and a raw rice pudding recipe.

Healthy, organic, vegan and raw food restaurants have been springing up all over London recently. They’re the trendy eateries of the moment, and I’m hoping this is a trend that will continue to grow.

NAMA is one such restaurant, and having read lots of fab reviews and practically drooled all over their website, I was super keen to visit and try them out on my latest visit to London.

Conveniently, I was staying with ma best gal pal, Georgie, who is also totally into healthy, ethical eating.

Located in the divine Notting Hill, NAMA is perfectly positioned for all the yummy mummies and yoga bunnies who live there.

NAMA was created, in their own words, “to enrich, inspire and nurture”, which sounds pretty fab to me. One of their aims in setting up NAMA was to introduce people to an alternative lifestyle choice, one of nutrition, health and wellbeing. And I’m all for that.

NAMA is a raw food café, which basically means the food hasn't been cooked, treated or processed in any way at temperatures above around 45C. They say:
“Above this temperature the enzymes in the food begin to degrade, losing a great part of their nutritional value. These enzymes play a number of vital roles, including supporting the digestive process, maintaining cell functioning and helping to transport nutrients around the body. Therefore adding a greater percentage of raw foods into your diet can have amazing health benefits. Whether you eat 100 % raw food, high raw with some cooked or just some raw, no matter where you stand, is an excellent way to reach or maintain your optimal health.”
I’ve read a lot about raw food but had always been slightly wary of it to be honest with you – surely raw food basically means carrot sticks all.the.time? But I loved the sound of NAMA’s food philosophy and so was super interested in paying them a visit and finding out how raw food can be delicious.

Over-excitedly strolling through Notting Hill
Georgie and I arrived for a Saturday morning brunch and excitedly sat down (seriously, we’d been excited about this for days.) The interior fits perfectly with the vibe of the café – simple, clean and natural. There was also wonderfully chilled out music playing.

At 10am, we were the first ones there (keen beans), but by the time we left it was packed!

We were brought some cucumber-infused water as soon as we sat down which not only looked really cool but was also tastier than expected. I also generally just love it when water is brought without you having to ask.

First up, Georgie and I ordered a few beverages: I went for a Chai latte and mango lassi smoothie...

Of course, when ordering my latte I was offered a choice of milks: coconut, almond, hazelnut, rice, hemp or bonsoy (nope, I've got no clue what bonsoy is either.) I chose almond and it was delish - didn't really taste any different to a regular latte with normal cow's milk.

My smoothie was also insanely delicious. Super thick and tasty, and the friendly waitress even told me she thinks the others on the menu are all better! Crazy.

Georgie went down the très healthy green route with a green tea and green juice:

She thought her juice was delish. I was less of a fan. But that's probably just because I'm yet to try a green juice and actually like it.

Moving on to the food, it was a tricky decision. The walnut pancakes and buckwheat granola were extremely tempting, but in the end Georgie and I both ordered the porridge:

It's called porridge but is actually made from fresh mature coconut, dates, almond, apple, vanilla and spices, topped with cacao nibs, hemp seeds and blueberries. How's that for a bowl of health?

I liked that it was served with individual milk jugs too.

Of course, unlike classic porridge, it was cold, so in my opinion more like bircher muesli than porridge. Whatever you call it, it was blimmin' delicious. Like, seriously delicious, and really cleverly made - the texture was just like muesli/porridge!

We both absolutely adored it and agreed we'd eat like this all the time if we could. The porridge was filling, flavoursome and made me feel super awesome as it was so full of goodness.

As I looked around the café, it appeared most of our fellow diners were on the porridge too... We must have made a good choice.

Brunch was not over yet though, oh no.

It was pudding time, of course. (Brunch pudding is totally a thing, right?)

NAMA have a selection of puddings, but I think the best offering is the sharing plate of mini ones - who can choose just one pudding!?

Beautifully presented, much!?

Despite being somewhat full, we managed to chomp our way through blueberry and lime cheesecakes, maca energy bars and white chocolate crunchy squares.

They all tasted so indulgent I could barely believe they were all so healthy! The white chocolate squares were my favourites.

Georgie and I left NAMA feeling energised, awesome, happy and full. I was also extremely taken by the lunchtime menu so am pretty desperate to go back and give that a try too. I just wish there were more places like NAMA around!

Realistically, it's the prices of all the ingredients that make eating the NAMA way all the time slightly challenging, but I certainly left feeling inspired to try.

And if you fancy having a go at some raw eating yourself and can't get yourself to NAMA, they've kindly shared one of their recipes with me: Arroz con Leche (Spanish rice pudding).

Arroz con Leche is a creamy rice pudding delicately flavoured with cinnamon. It is one of Spain’s favourites and we have decided to recreate the flavour in this delicious raw recipe. The traditional rice and milk are replaced with coconut, one of our favourite nuts.   
To serve 4, you need: 
1 cup young coconut meat (from 2 coconuts)
3/4 cup coconut water
1/4 cup maple or date syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Put the coconut meat, coconut water, and syrup in a blender and process until very smooth. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender jar with a rubber spatula. Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl and add the dried coconut and the cinnamon and stir well to mix. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours. To serve, sprinkle some cinnamon powder on top and decorate with half a cinnamon stick. 
Stored in a sealed container in the fridge, the Arroz con Leche will keep for three days.
I certainly think it looks and sounds delicious so am keen to have a go myself - do let me know if you do too!

What do you think of raw food?

NAMA kindly invited me and Georgie to try out their café but the opinions in this blog post are entirely honest and 100% my own. Thanks, NAMA!


  1. oh wow that food just looks so amazing! Probably not a good idea to be looking at this when I'm starving haha! x

  2. Omg this looks like a dream come true! Those cheesecake slices look divine!


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