Nada Budaya is a restaurant I’ve long heard praise of but had never visited myself. Well, I finally managed to change that last night. The brainchild of Maziah Omar, it offers authentic Malaysian cuisine inspired by her personal heritage, right in the Lace Market area of Nottingham. Perfect!
Nestled rather unusually beneath a BrewDog branch, you descend the stairs to a relatively small and pretty un-atmospheric restaurant. Perhaps this was due to the fact that it wasn’t very busy while we were there, but it regardless paved the way for the food to take centre stage, which is what we were hoping for.
Greeted by a seemingly nervous but otherwise lovely waitress we were shown to our table, and we ordered a bottle of New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Whether this goes particularly well with Malaysian cuisine or not I’m unsure, but it’s personally my favourite wine and it didn’t disappoint on this occasion!
The menu is plentiful without being overwhelming, with numerous veggie options too. I decided on the Gulai with prawns – a traditional dish with potatoes, peppers and greens covered in a rich, spicy sauce, along with a side of coconut rice.
Thick, creamy but not at all heavy, this had a beautifully understated spice to it that was incredibly moreish. The rice was much lighter than expected and favourably so, the perfect accompaniment to dunk into that delicious sauce (I’m not sure what it was topped with but the crunchy contrast to the rice itself was brilliant)
What I really loved about this dish was the fact that every ingredient was delivered in small form – the potatoes diced into cubes, the prawns just little babies – ensuring that each mouthful incorporated all aspects of the dish, working together to create wonderful textures and flavours.
My friend went for two vegetarian side dishes: the Dalca (a vegetable curry cooked in coconut milk) and the Tahu Goreng (tofu with green beans, onion and peppers).
The tofu was advertised as being spicy, but it really could have done with some added oomph – the flavours were lovely but all kind of blended into one, whereas some extra chilli would have set it apart. I must mention that the tofu was cooked really well, not at all sloppy like you can often find it, but this couldn’t really be fully appreciated.
The Dalca was fairly similar to my Gulai, maybe with the added presence of pulses. Creamy and coconutty, it was hearty and went down very well.
Before we came I’d been told that it wasn’t necessarily the cheapest food so I was expecting to pay a little more, but at £22 a head for a main course and wine I didn’t think it was bad at all, especially when the quality of food was so high. Service was great throughout our visit, ever attentive and making us feel welcome, even if the atmosphere was a little muted.
So if you’re after something that goes against the grain but still delivers on flavour, Nada Budaya is the perfect dinner spot!
robyn’s review: 8.5/10
Find Nada Budaya at 20-22 Broad Street, Nottingham NG1 3AL