Something really unusual happened last weekend. Rather than having an exact plan for where I wanted to go for dinner on Friday night, Marc stepped in and presented a viable option. This is rare because he's usually so 'meh, whatever'. We were planning to meet friends for drinks on Eagle Street Pier so a restaurant (preferrably with bar) close by made perfect sense. His pick was Nagomi and as a lover of Japanese food, I was all for it.
Nagomi Bento is located near Grill'd and I expect that it mainly targets the working stock. It doesn't open on the weekends but is now doing Thursday and Friday night. I suppose that covers CBD workers for lunch and after work boozing. There is a specific menu for Friday nights.
We headed there on Friday sort of lateish (maybe after 9pm)? It wasn't very busy but it wasn't creepily dead quiet either. The restaurant is entirely open on the sides but covered on the top so fear not of rain. The staff were extremely friendly and gave the place a good vibe.
We started ordering food/drinks right away. You get a laminated menu sheet that you can draw on to indicate what you want. I don't mean LITERALLY drawing like, cartoons of dumplings and sushi (although that would be entertaining to all); just write the quantity of what you want in the boxes provided.
Strawberry and pineapple-coconut chu hai
For drinks to start, we chose a couple of chu hai, which they describe as Japanese cocktails. Mine was the strawberry one, which I liked and Marc's was the pineapple-coconut flavored one, which he didn't like but drank anyway.
Variety of sushi rolls
The first food item to arrive was the selection of sushi rolls. Even though it was near the end of the day, they weren't horrible and stale in the way that sushi rolls often get if left for too long. The selection changes each week. We had a couple of salmon and chicken ones. Very conventional. They weren't bad but weren't amazing either.
Next came the karaage chicken. I try to avoid oily food because it makes my skin go lumpy almost instantly. With these, I threw all caution to the wind. They were piping hot, fresh out of the frier and delicious. Karaage chicken is rarely bad but these were really crunchy and perfectly complimented by the fresh lemon and Japanese mayo.
Okonomiyaki - Japanese savory pancake
The okonomiyaki was something I really wanted because it's one of my favorite Japanese street food dishes. Contrary to what I was expecting, they came out as logs on a stick, rather than in the tradtional pancake form. How genius! It saved us mucking around with utensils. I think food on a stick is always a winning idea. They were really tasty too.
Pan-fried pork gyoza
The gyoza was a bit too oily for me. I'm not just being health-conscious here (see how I devoured the karaage chicken) but the oiliness leaves an icky mouthfeel. Still, I wouldn't say this was a disaster. I'm sure I ate at least one or two.
Nasu dengaku - grilled eggplant with sweet miso
We finished off with something a bit different - the grilled eggplant. Marc remembered how much I love Asian-style eggplant and chose this for me. It was delicious. My idea of well-cooked eggplant is all about the texture. It needs to be soft and giving and slightly mushy but not to the extent of being baby food. The sauce was sweet and salty and just thick enough to bring the whole dish together. Yum!
House sake - jyuohkura tokubestsu junmai
Alright I fibbed. We didn't finish with the eggplant. Nagomi was starting to close up (last food orders, last drink orders etc) so we finished with a mini bottle of the house sake each. I know next to nothing about sake and I'm not sure why we chose to drink this but I don't think I'll be doing it again! I'm sure it's just a personal thing and might be an acquired taste but my tastebuds/stomach did not find the sake very agreeable.
We had a great time at Nagomi. It was a nice environment for eating and drinking sort of in the open but still sheltered. The staff were friendly beyond words and so happy to assist us. The food was tasty and fresh (hot dishes were all HOT) so together with the wide selection and affordable prices (very cheap considering the location), that's an A+ combination. I don't know what Nagomi is like during the day but I can vouche that it's great for Friday nights. It wasn't too busy so I think it's perfect for unwinding after the working week or as a starting point before heading out in town.