Namoo on the Park at Publika

Hello peeps! What do you say to taking a break from prancing around Gangnam Style, and coming for a refreshing respite at Namoo on the Park?

Located in Publika, Solaris Dutamas this warm and inviting cafe and bistro serves healthy yet delicious Korean fusion fare.

While many know it as a Korean dessert cafe, Namoo actually serves main courses too. Take for instance the Bulgogi Taco — a dish where Korea meets Mexico! Then, there is the Bibi Rice Burger, an unexpected best-seller where East meets West.

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HAPPY ONE MONTH, NAMOO!: Opened on July 18, 2012

For those with a sweet tooth, Namoo does not disappoint. Not only does it serve the usual bingsoo (shaved ice) but it also offers Mat Tang (sweet potato glazed with honey) and sweet potato & pumpkin cakes (just to name a few).

Inception

Namoo (나무) which means tree in Korean, grew from a collaboration of four friends — three Koreans, and one Malaysian. It is an effort to bring modern Korean food culture to the masses in Malaysia. Yup, Korean cuisine is not only about BBQs and bibimbaps.

“BBQ — (basically the) same thing in every restaurant,” says Namoo managing director Kim Sung Yong when we met him on a Saturday afternoon.

“People have asked me whether that is only what Korea has to offer. They also complain…after eat, smelly, cannot go cinema!”

Noticing an opportunity to introduce not-so conventional Korean grub, Sung Yong decided to introduce a fusion menu for the young and chic crowd.

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KIM SUNG YONG: The Managing Director of Namoo on the Park talks about the menu

He invited his lady friend — a dessert chef — from Korea to supervise the kitchen; hooked up with a CPA from Malaysia, and collaborated with another Korean (who provides creative dish ideas) and voila, Namoo on the Park was established.

The cafe and bistro opened its doors on July 18, 2012 and judging by the steady stream of customers it had while we were there, it seems to be doing well.

Concept

At Namoo, dessert is at the forefront. The reason is simple: to showcase a more modern type of Korean fare.

“We take the various foods in Korea, modify them and come up with our own desserts,” says Sung Yong.

The 33-year-old explained that while tteok (rice cake) and mattang (caramel coated sweet potato) are street food in Korea, the cafe has combined and modified these two dishes to come up with their own version of Mat Tang.

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BUSY, BUSY: Enjoying brisk business on a Saturday afternoon

As for ambiance, wood panels cover the walls of Namoo, giving it a stylish and cozy elegance. Sung Yong revealed that a “sheltered” and warm theme was chosen for the cafe as it reflects its name. K-pop music is pipped into the restaurant, creating a very relaxing and comfortable atmosphere where one can just sit back while catching up with friends.

Another plus point for Namoo is that the corner unit opens out into a snug little park.

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PLAYTIME: The cafe overlooks a park

Pork -free

Namoo has had many Muslim customers as it is a pork-free cafe. Only chicken and beef are used in its ingredients, and the meats are supplied by the usual commercial restaurant suppliers in Malaysia.

“Most (ingredients) are sourced within Malaysia. Certain things like ginseng and yuza (a citrus fruit), we cannot find them here. These special ingredients…we have to import from Korea. That’s why we cannot get the halal certificate,” explained Sung Yong.

Special consideration and care is taken to ensure that Namoo’s cuisine can be consumed by our Muslim friends. After all, the cafe has been birthed out of the ambition to make Korean food accessible to all communities in Malaysia.

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NAMOO GETS K-POPPED!: The crew with the Namoo folks. From left: Valerie, Sung Yong, Liz (me!), Michelle & Orchid

The K-popped! crew tasted some of the recommended dishes at Namoo. Hit this link for our take on the offerings at the cafe!

Do you have a comment on Namoo? Leave it below! We’d love to hear what you have to say about it :).

Also read: Refreshing Korean desserts at Namoo on the Park

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