Nummy officially opens on May 8 at 1160 New Britain Ave. in the Elmwood section of West Hartford.
By Ronni Newton
The name of the new restaurant on the northeast corner of Mayflower Street and New Britain Avenue should be easy to remember if you combine noodles and yummy – and both of those are words that describe Nummy.
Ron Patel, one of four partners and longtime friends who has brought Nummy to West Hartford, said that they decided on the name while brainstorming, and it’s purposely a play on the word “yummy.”
Patel describes Nummy’s cuisine as Asian fusion – including Southern Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese flavors. “It’s a mix of ingredients from different Asian cuisines – authentic flavors fused together.” As an example, Patel said, ramen’s roots are Japanese, but the preparation at Nummy includes flavors from South China and Vietnam.
“We haven’t really seen much Chinese fusion in this area,” Patel said.
The recipes have been developed by one of Nummy’s partners, Weijia Bao, owner of the highly-acclaimed Bao Bao Cafe on Lexington Avenue in New York City, and have been well-tested in Manhattan. “They are special recipes from my friends and relatives, from visiting Asia, that I have modified,” Bao said.
The signature dishes are the “Nummy noodles” and the meat skewers. Nummy Noodles combine flour noodles cooked in meat broth with bok choy, cabbage, and minced pork ($12). The cabbage root – which looks like a flower – is a Taiwanese dish and cooked in a Chinese hot sauce, Bao said.
Pretty much everything on the menu is “customizable,” and additional toppings can be added, and include sliced meats, mini sausages, shrimp, a variety of fish, eggs, enoki or wood ear mushrooms, tofu, or cucumber. The base spice level is fairly spicy, but diners can choose the level based on their taste.
There is also an even more a la carte option, with the ability to select a ramen noodle or Vietnamese rice noodle and toppings, as well as mega ($26, and intended to serve two) and little pots ($8) that offer a variety of ingredients served with glass noodles.
The tasty grilled skewers ($2.50 each, with a minimum of four per order) include squares of beef or chicken as well as fish balls or fish cakes. The “bacon bouquet” is a bacon-wrapped enoki mushroom, and a bit of American cuisine is included in the fusion with the mini sausage and hot dog skewers.
Appetizers ($3-$8) include soup dumplings (steamed pork buns served hot in bamboo baskets), sesame-seed topped and specially-sauced “chicalicious” wings, gyoza (Japanese dumplings), and jumbo tea eggs.
A variety of rice bowls featuring meats and vegetables are also on the menu.
“We can also prepare dishes vegetarian or vegan,” Patel said. It’s not specifically noted on the menu, but they have a special clear broth made from vegetables only.
Nummy does not yet have a liquor license, but offers a selection of special drinks like Hong Kong milk tea, and others with names like “Cloudy Melon” and “Arctic Avocado,” as well as soda.
Nummy is located in the former New Asia space at 1160 New Britain Ave. (the Chinese restaurant moved across the street last March), but unlike New Asia is primarily focused on a full-service dine-in experience with recipes that lend themselves to being eaten immediately. There is seating for 32 inside the completely renovated dining room, and plans for outdoor seating to be added as well.
Even though the space was formerly a restaurant, “we gutted it down to the 2×4’s, just the bones,” Patel said, other than one beam and a piece of ductwork that add to the industrial feel. The floors, walls, and ceilings have all been redone, with tile floors, brick walls accented with hardwood sections, and gleaming stainless steel visible in the open kitchen. Edison lights in fixtures accented with rope illuminate the dining room.
The tables and chairs have a rustic look. “It’s elm wood,” Patel said. Perfect for Elmwood.
The chopsticks are handmade, and include Nummy’s logo.
“We wanted to have a sort of earthy, vintage feel, but at the same time make it cozy and homey,” Patel said. Even the banner – which hangs in front of the restaurant while the permanent sign is still on order – looks like reclaimed wood.
This is the first ground-up restaurant for Patel as well as his partners Bao, Na Jiang (aka Anna) who previously owned a sushi/Chinese restaurant in Pennsylvania and now lives in Farmington, and Baiyao Zheng (aka Bernice), who lives in Unionville. Patel still works in IT for UConn, and said the four will split the management duties.
Nummy is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday from noon-9 p.m. For more information, call 860-880-1985. The website, nummy.com, is still under construction.
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