ASIAN FUSION MADE WITH CARE BY TALENTED CHEFS
Care and attention from hands-on owners, authentic flavours and a delicate touch in the kitchen made for a dining experience beyond what was expected from this small-sized suburban eatery. Namory Eatery, owned by chef Van Nam Do, showed its class with an interesting menu full of depth and balance, while still encompassing the relaxed feel of its Cotton Tree location. The Asian fusion restaurant was the latest to be mystery reviewed in the Sunshine Coast Daily Restaurant of the Year Awards and stood out as an authentic venue with plenty to offer.
Ambience and appeal
A recent refurbishment, including the new umbrella-covered deck at the front, has given this space a new lease. Inside is a kind of eclectic, industrial feel with exposed walls, mixed with organic-feel timber tables and chairs. There are minimal but personal decorations inside – some new and some from the owners’ previous restaurant they ran in Palmwoods for 14 years. The outlook is across the street to Cotton Tree Park. There are plenty of eating options in this precinct and the neighbourhood has a relaxed holiday feel to it.
The newly fitted-out kitchen is open to the restaurant and spotlessly clean, as is the dining room and bar area. It was a little windy on this visit, so outside there was an inevitable few bits of dust on tables, but the owner quickly gave the table a wipe as we sat down. Communal toilets used by the other shops in the building were neat and tidy on this visit.
Staff are dressed casually, all in black – slightly stereotypical but at the same time appropriate for the venue and the setting. Authentic crockery and cutlery add to the modern Asian feel. The glassware is a bit basic but does the job. Overall, this venue has a good feel inside, with high ceilings and open shopfront and the outdoor deck area is designed to take advantage of the Sunshine Coast’s great climate. We sat against the wall inside and there was quite a draught coming through the back door which was distracting at first and was closed promptly when asked.
On this visit, my companion and I had one of the owners look after us and we were unable to fault her service. We did ask for recommendations and it was interesting that the most popular dishes were suggested, not necessarily their personal favourites or perhaps the chefs’ wildest creations. Secretly, I was hoping for something adventurous and a bit whacky, but was happy to take any advice on the good-looking menu.
After finding out that the the chef/owner had a long cooking career, it was no surprise that the menu was so interesting. The food lives up to the reputation, notably for balance and depth of flavours. Our entrée was char calamari – tender scored calamari flashed on the chargrill, tender and well-seasoned, served with “Namory Sauce” – the absolute highlight.
The sauce had an explosion of kaffir lime, lime and lemon with a myriad of background flavours that lingered on the palate. Duck spring rolls filled with juicy duck breast were very tasty and served with a tasty, if not a little thin, dipping sauce. The Penang curry with duck was light on its feet, not too sweet and generously proportioned. We ordered coconut rice to accompany this – a rich indulgence and recommended. Crispy Humpty Doo barramundi served with a light, fresh slaw of apple and coriander dressed with a zingy “Viet” dressing was moist and tender, with the richness of the fish balanced perfectly with the crunchy salad.
It’s a small list of local and international offerings here and a good mix of safe and adventurous offerings which are well-suited to the cuisine. Most are by the glass. Extending the list to cover a few more regions and styles wouldn’t go astray. BYO wine is offered on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The cocktail list has three traditional cocktails – all with their own house twist on them. It is hard to pass up a Tsing Tao or Tiger beer when eating Asian food and there are a few other Asian-brewed beers to choose from here.
Value at the Namory Eatery is really good. The concise menu is full of interesting meals. Good-quality, locally-sourced ingredients are well-prepared and served with care and attention. Prices are reasonable. Friendly staff and good food are a great start to a good dining experience.
FRIENDLY PLACE: Namory Eatery owner and head chef Van Nam Do..