Frill-Free Food for the Soul
By Hiranmayii Awli Mohanan
Set amidst the food haven that is The Sphere at Bangsar South is the latest addition to Kuala Lumpur’s F&B landscape, known as Humble Nana by Bansan. This is a frill-free, Japanese-fusion restaurant that emits fun from the get-go. It derives its inspiration from the land of great food, Penang, and the Land of the Rising Sun. Humble Nana has a playful yet relaxed feel. Morphing easily from a breezy, al fresco seating area to the interior, an eye-catching neon light bar with Japanese letters greets you. As you tread further in, an intriguing mural is seen throughout the restaurant, while the seating area is neatly tucked away to reveal a clean, humble space. Comfort is found not only in the setting but is also the focus of the menu here. A mix of Japanese and local, Penang dishes is very approachable and its value-for-money prices prove a good reason to return repeatedly.
Food alone, is not the only reason to visit Humble Nana. It offers a growing selection of cocktails to complement the fare which serves well as a weekend indulgence too. Humble Nana’s signature beverage is made of pink grapefruit gin with coconut oil, pineapple juice and gula Melaka – a refreshing and zesty drink.Hottest Nana, on the other hand, uses white rum as its base, amalgamated with chocolate sauce and chilli syrup. Finally, it’s garnished with a dehydrated chilli sprinkled with popping candy. This is an indulgent drink that you want to take your time and truly savour the play of flavours.
SOFT SHELL CRAB ROJAK
We started off the culinary adventure with the soft-shell crab rojak which saw a medley of local fruits. Peppered atop the fruits were tofu and softshell crab, bathed in a lip-smacking peanut rojak sauce. The rojak saw a composition of brininess from the soft-shell crab, sweetness from the peanut sauce and sourness from the fruits, only to present a well-balanced dish. This rojak painted a smile on our faces because its robust flavours made us reminisce about our escapade to Penang many years ago.
It may look like an ordinary gyoza, but don’t underestimate its underlying power. Dip the fried gyoza in the homemade kam heong sauce and allow its magic to wash over your palate. It was our first hearing of a kam heong sauce as a dip so naturally, we were skeptical. But as our hands approached our mouth and the aroma of the kam heong teased our nose, we knew we were going to be pleasantly surprised. We need to tip our hats to the creative mastermind who concocted a simple dish that is as comforting as it’s piquant.
DRY KUEY TEOW
Oh, such a comforting feeling it exuded. This humble dish is one that is familiar and speaks to the soul. While it may be found at other eateries, Humble Nana’s interpretation of the dry kuey teow is an intriguing hybrid recipe. It has a slight kick of spice and crunch from the chicken karaage to tantalise your taste buds, while the ebiko grants the kuey teow added texture and creaminess.
RAMEN PRAWN MEE
The Ramen Prawn Mee is a derivative of the Penang prawn mee. Springy, ramen noodle is used as the base and drowned with a flavour-packed broth that comes from stir-frying prawn shells in oil and blending it with water. This uplifting, soupy bowl is a sumptuous one, brimming with prawns, fish cakes and egg.
JAPANESE CURRY RICE
The Japanese Curry Rice is a crowdpleaser at Humble Nana and it didn’t take much to distinguish why. It’s a simple dish that is comforting at mere sight. A generous portion of rice is topped with fried egg, accompanied by Japanese curry and crisp chicken karaage. For those who are unfamiliar which Japanese curry, don’t expect the robust flavours of an Indian curry; the Japanese curry is milder and sweeter, as well as thicker in consistency. Overall, it’s a feel-good item that is worth returning for.
Address: UG-08, The Sphere, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, 59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2242 0898