Nunu was the last restaurant on a long strip of restaurants I had yet to try (simply because it is so tiny and cloistered you will routinely walk past without knowing it exists). As you peer inside, you will see an abundance of humans and very little space between them. This is about as compact as a functional space can be without being a training room for aspiring contortionists. More astonishing still is how many people are working in the kitchen – a space a couple of metres long, with perhaps a dozen of chefs and kitchen hands working like bees in a rather human hive.
This had all the makings for an experience that would be really, really cool.
The menu was sticky-taped haphazardly to the wood panels directly in front of our table. At the top of the menu was grilled eel (which looked quite appetising) and as you work your way down the menu you will find various rice, beef and lamb dishes.
We opted for the opulent rice dish – beef and rice with truffle. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we had asked the lady next to us what she was eating (it looked good), and she told us “M”. So we ordered M.
The food took next to no time arrive – less than 5 minutes. Probably too fast. On top of the rice was a runny egg, surrounded by chopped chives, adorned with fatty cold beef. The truffle had been unceremoniously scooped onto the top left of the plate – the quantity was disconcerting.
I had been advised by locals that with these types of dishes you should mix the egg with the rice, and then generally mix everything together so it is uniform throughout. I did exactly that (though not without some trepidation given the prodigious amount of truffle on my plate).
My first taste of the resulting concoction yielded a few impressions. Firstly, the meal was generally an awkward temperature. Some bits of it were barely warm (the beef), others were a bit warmer (the egg), and the rest quite cold. I enjoyed the runniness of the egg with the rice, but that was where my enjoyment ended.
The truffle completely dominated the dish, to the point that the only taste in your mouth is concentrated truffle (and from what I could discern, not the best truffle). The meat wasn’t very flavoursome, despite being loaded with fat, and generally felt incongruous with the rest of the dish. We had barely finished the meal before the bill was thrust in front of us (understandable, I guess, given the exceptionally limited seating).
Perhaps our experience would have been different had we not ordered the truffle. But at any rate, both me and my colleague mentioned the next morning we were still suffering paranoia after TruffleGate. The mere thought of the dish made us uneasy.