The saying goes… it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We forgot how we came across Nomada, but by the time we walked out the door, we realised that we have had one of the best Spanish meals ever! Nomada has a strong team of the Melbourne culinary world backing them, think Kettle Black, Bomba and Anada. Luckily I wasn’t equipped with this knowledge prior to writing this review, because it allowed me to enjoy the food as it is, and not to form any comparisons with the other restaurants.
Walking in, we were greeted straight away by a very friendly waiter. He ended up being our exclusive waiter for the night. No complaints from our end, he was extremely personable and knew the menu inside out. Wooden furniture, fancy lamp shades and green plants are scattered across the restaurant. It’s a safe and proven formula, and we felt very much at home. It did smell of heavy smoke inside, like I was next to a giant camp fire. By the end of the night, I was fully marinated and it resulted in the minor inconvenience of a second shower for the day. I’m not a huge fan of washing my hair twice in a day, gotta let those natural oils build up a bit before being stripped again! In saying this, the food did more than make up for the smoky smell…
We started off with some tapas – oysters with seaweed jelly and finger lime, slow cooked egg with spanner crab and Yarra Valley caviar, and Cape Grim steak tartare with black garlic and pulled beef tendon. If these menu items sound delicious to you, imagine the agony we went through with picking what we wanted… it was not a huge menu, but we just wanted to order everything! The steak tartare was a standout dish. Cape Grim is one of my favourite cattle producers, their meat quality is second to none. This quality translates directly across to this steak tartare. The flavour is clean and beefy, tribute to the cattle being grass fed and free of growth hormones. I’ve never had black garlic with steak tartare and I’m happy to say IT WORKS! The sweetness of the black garlic works beautifully with the steak. Steak tartare has come a long way since I’ve started eating it, and this style makes me excited for the future of this dish.
For the mains we got the hanger steak with parsnip, queso valdeon & bone marrow sauce and the coal grilled calamari, potato puree, chorizo & green pea. The hanger steak was cook perfectly, and the bone marrow sauce acted as a flavour booster. The texture was tender enough, but I did try to cut against the grain to help it along also. Calamari is something I love to eat but rarely order outside, because to be honest, most places overcook the hell out of it. This was not the case at Nomada. The potato puree was fluffy like clouds, and the chorizo and peas together were just a match made in heaven! It’s best eaten all together as the chorizo provides the salt for this dish.
We got two complimentary ports with our Creme Catalan dessert. Not my drink of choice generally but boy were these delicious! One thing I will say however is that I found the portions of some dishes a bit small. For example, the pipis cost $9 but I would have only got around 11-12 pipis. So if I divide 9/12, that means each pipi cost 75c each! I would have expected double the amount of pipis for the price? I am a little conflicted because it seems this is the price/quantity ratio of most Spanish restaurants in Australia though. Portion sizes and a smoky dining room are minor problems we can overcome together. I have always liked the Spanish food here more than in Spain. Nomada has further reinforced this view for me, and I’m happy to have another Spanish restaurant to go to. Seriously one of the best Spanish restaurants in Melbourne and I cannot wait to dine here again!
Approx $70 AUD per person
Address: 412A Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Phone: +61 3 9416 4102