29 February 2024

Five minutes with Hamon and Sky - Nomah, Milton

| Katrina Condie
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Couple standing

Hamon Shephard and Sky Hession have opened the doors of Nomah at Milton. Photo: Nomah Milton.

Who are you?

Hamon Shephard and Sky Hession, the owners of Nomah.

Hamon: I grew up in southeast England, in the small seaside town of Dymchurch which is the closest point to France – we could see Calais port on a clear day and visit in the camper van on weekends to eat baguettes and croissants!
I started work young, at 11 years old, washing dishes in a friend’s parent’s fish and chip shop. Loved every minute and learnt from a young age how to run a business. I bought a one-way ticket to Australia after my 20th birthday to explore the world, and ended up enjoying the sun and lifestyle. A few years later I gained permanent residency through work in Sydney and moved to the South Coast towards the end of COVID.

Sky: I grew up in Mollymook/Milton, went to St Mary’s primary school and studied and worked in marketing, social media and interior design.
I’m lucky enough to come from generations of business owners which is where I gained my passion to start my own label and pursue Nomah.

What does your business offer?

We offer an experience of Middle Eastern-inspired Meze dishes including charcoal skewers, classic dips, local halloumi and an abundance of vegetarian and vegan options.

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What’s a dish that you make that best sums up your venue and why?

Smashed cucumbers, peanut tahini, miso, chilli crunch. We (us and our amazing staff) are the smashed cucumbers … all from different places and backgrounds seasoned with a bunch of salty and sweetness. We lay on a foundation of peanut and miso tahini that’s smooth, creamy and well balanced with a bunch of hot and crunchy chilli thrown on top and finished with some citrus that keeps the heat mellow.

Hamon: We’ve come together to form something I couldn’t have ever imagined when I started Nomah but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We complement each other the best way possible and I’m so proud of what we’ve done as a team and what’s yet to come.

Favourite cuisine?

Tied between anything from South East Asia and Turkish. After visiting Turkey last year, we fell in love with the variety of offerings and different spices.

An ingredient you can’t live without?

Hamon: It honestly changes every few days. Right now I’d say garlic. It’s in or around almost every dish we serve. Sumac and Aleppo chilli are close behind.

Who is your biggest culinary influence?

Hamon: Matt Upson from Gwylo. Working alongside Matt for the years I worked at Gwylo has moulded me into who I am today. He’s influenced me like many others that have worked beside him to go in on something 110 per cent and do it well. You never get to thank someone in a kitchen for how much they’ve helped you as it’s always so chaotic and fast paced. So I guess in a way this is a thanks to Matt on behalf of anyone I know who’s had the luck to work with him.

What’s inspiring you right now?

Rumi restaurant in East Brunswick, Melbourne. We bought the Rumi cookbook at the start of the year and it’s influenced so many of the dishes we serve at Nomah. He mentions throughout the book “food of Middle Eastern appearance” which runs alongside what we are doing at Nomah. It’s our take on the Middle East. Some things might not be traditional, but that’s the beauty of food. No rules – you can make it your own with an appearance of whatever you choose.

Where do you dine out in the local area for comfort food?

Milkhaus for breakfast and lunch. Gwylo for dinner.

Where do you dine out for special occasions?

Jimmy’s falafel in the Sydney CBD, or something Middle Eastern in Surry Hills. I’m sure there’ll be a few trips to Melbourne this year also for extra influence.

What’s your go-to coffee?

Hamon: Anything strong with ice I’m happy with.
Sky: Ice latte.

Where would you take out-of-town visitors to show off the best of the South Coast?

To the top of Pigeon House Mountain (Didthul), followed by brunch at Milkhaus, then a swim at one of the 100 beaches we have to offer.

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Who do you admire in the local food scene?

Gwylo for levelling up the food scene in the area, and Bar Yuki for giving Milton some life again after 5 pm!

Where are you travelling to next?

Planning a trip to Japan in August with a few day trips to Melbourne in between. We are both keen travellers and make it a mission to escape every winter to somewhere different to keep us sane.

Where are you excited to eat next?

Rumi in Melbourne.

What are your top recipe tips?

At least double the garlic on any recipe that calls for it. Don’t underestimate the difference a little citrus can make.

Nomah is located at Unit 6 41 Wason Street, Milton and is open Wednesday to Sunday nights with seatings at 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Check out their Instagram and Facebook pages.

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