Nanban

Address: 426 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8LF

Telephone: 020 7346 0098

Websitehttp://www.nanban.co.uk/

Opening times:
Mon – Thurs 5pm-11pm, Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 12 noon-12 midnight, Sun 12 – 11pm

We visited Nanban a little time ago, but put off posting this review, in case it interfered with the recent voting for Brixton’s best restaurant. We have been before, of course, and the previous review is here, and we have been since. This is undoubtedly one of Brixton’s top places to eat, if not the best. We ate in the add-on part of the restaurant in a booth and it was quiet for a meal with friends we had not seen for many years.

There is now a longer menu with summer specials and an added glossary, so you can understand the naming of dishes. The four of us chose from different sections. One went for a selection of starters: edamame with black sesame salt, some crispy fried marinated jackfruit with a honey miso-mayo  and finally Nasu Dengaku, which was roasted aubergine topped with almonds and a sweet miso sauce. I chose the Lazy Goat Ramen, which had slow-cooked boneless goat leg, thick noodles in a rich Indo-Caribbean curry sauce, topped with seafood sawdust, fried shallots and a tea-pickled egg. I asked for no scotchbonnet pickled bamboo shoots as I know it is spicy-hot enough. The other two ordered  – the spicy sesame udon salad with crab (spicy sesame-lime dressing with cucumber, red cabbage, cherry
tomatoes, fresh mint and chilli oil – only 3 chilis) and the Yuzo-sesame salmon – both on what was then the summer specials menu.

The goat was, as usual, exactly as described -soft, full of layers of flavour and I really love the tea-pickled egg – cooling when sweat starts to break out. The photograph (below) shows a part eaten version.

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The crab and the salmon dishes were both well received, with the appropriate level of palette-tingling heat in the spicy noodles. At first glance the portions look on the small side but, in reality, there’s well enough to keep you satisfied.

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nanban24Warming edamame beans and jackfuit fritters were easy finger food. The aubergine though was a little harder to tackle with chopsticks. All were pronounced exactly right by the person in our midst who has an allergy to too much chili.nanban26

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The bill with service came to £94.61 and included fizzy water and four beers. We were full and contented but when we got home we had Brixton apple crumble for dessert.

Lunchtime Ramen

Ramen is trendy and I’m a great fan. Particularly at lunchtime. But despite Brixton’s ‘foodie’ reputation, it’s not so easy to find, particularly on weekdays. So, for those who share my addiction, here’s a brief guide of what’s available.

Ramen is seen as a classic Japanese dish, although I’ve been surprised to discover that it originated in China and has only become dominant since the second world war, when cheap wheat imports became available. Named for the eponymous type of noodles, it’s served invariably with a tasty stock plus garnishes, usually meat and vegetables.

Here’s four places in Brixton that I considered for my Ramen fix, but you will see that early in the week there’s only one or two of them that are actually open. I might have missed somewhere so don’t hesitate to let me know. Continue reading

Donburi & Co

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Brixton Station Road

This is a really useful addition to what Brixton has to offer, with simple but tasty Korean and Japanese food from a short menu. It’s aimed mainly at the takeaway market but there’s space at a couple of counters with high stools for those who can’t  wait to taste the food. It’s housed in a small shop front that’s had a chequered history. The planned burger bar failed to open because of problems with the ventilation.

You can choose between donburi (Japanese rice bowl dish); bibimbap (Korean mixed rice); or hirata buns (Japanese steamed buns), and all come with a variety of meat or vegetables.

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Iz Sakeya Sushi

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address: Pop Brixton far aisle ground floor

website: in course of preparation

On a bleak Saturday we took the family to Pop Brixton to try some of their new offerings. Sakeya Sushi is definitely new, so with most of us being sushi fans, we settled on that. We do like Pop Brixton but most of the restaurants have only limited places to sit and on Saturday afternoon the place was heaving, with no space at either end in the general seating areas. Iz Sakeya has been creative and provided a ledge to balance the sushi on, but we had to stand, with the result that it was inevitably a quick meal.

The menu is short – Iz Sakeya specialises in two sakes (sparkling (£10) and premium (£45)) and mainly salmon and rice sushi.  In fact they say they have head-to-tail salmon cuisine but they do say they can also cater for vegetarians. We had sushi (2), sashimi (2) and what was called a Poke Don salad, with more salmon. The salmon and avocado rolls were lovely. The three pieces of sashimi (a Ngiri set, with salmon, sea bass and tuna) were great, with two being delicately seared via a blow torch. The Poke Don salad had avocado, edamame, salmon, rocket and rice. The rice in all the dishes was really good with the right consistency; far from the mush you get from some of the chains.img_0115img_0116img_0117

We did enjoy what turned out to be a snack, although when one of our party saw the size of the plates, he chose instead to visit the burger bar next door for a rather good looking burger plus a portion of chips, which we all were happy to share. Those of us who had the sushi (without the sake) were pleased with the meal, although don’t go there hungry – just think of it as a potential first course. The bill came to £31 for 4 people, without any drinks.

Afterwards we went off to Parissi in Atlantic Road for coffee and cakes.

Okan Ramen

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338 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8QH

Email: Okanbrixtonvillage@gmail.com   

www.okanramen.com

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday: 6PM-11PM, Sat-Sun: 12Noon-11PM

There is now plenty of choice for Brixton fans of ramen – basically Japanese style noodles in soup. Oken Ramen, situated in Coldharbour Lane right next to Shrub & Shutter, is a new initiative from the more longstanding Okan Okonomiyaki, which serves Japanese style savoury pancakes in Brixton Village – see our review here. Continue reading

Ichiban – A Revisit

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Address: 58a Atlantic Rd, Brixton, London, SW9 8PY

Telephone: 020 7738 7006

Having visited Ichiban for over 10 years now it is still very clear why it is our favourite for sushi in Brixton. It has had a recent facelift in the kitchen, perhaps a sign of the involvement from the younger members of the family owners.

We visited on a Monday evening after sampling some of the wine from next door at Chix and Bux (which by the way are opening another outlet in Herne Hill later this year!). Monday in Brixton is always tricky and this is one of the few restaurants which is open, so it was a little busier than usual.

Continue reading

Nanban

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Address: 426 Coldharbour Ln, London SW9 8LF

Telephone: 020 7346 0098

Website: http://www.nanban.co.uk/

This is the first restaurant opened by 2011 MasterChef champion Tim Anderson and … it is in Brixton. This is in the revamped Gyoza (RIP – many an enjoyable evening spent there!) restaurant after some large changes to the décor but keeping some nostalgia from a building that used to be the eel and pie shop. There are regular tables and some “carriages” for lots of people to sit together. There are also long cork low bench-like tables which are OK for two people but any more and you get a crick in your neck as it’s like playing tennis. There was a bit of space when we arrived on a Monday evening but by the time we left it was full and really humming.

The long menu is on their website so we won’t repeat it here but just to say that there are certainly adaptations to Brixton cuisine and we couldn’t find much like the menu we enjoyed when Tim visited Market House last summer  – see our review here. You choose from small plates and big plates. We decided to wait for another trip to try the twice cooked pig tripe, and anyway, we thought our choices daring enough.

There were three of us so one of us chose three small plates: the Ackee and Saltfish Korokke (Potato, ackee, and saltfish croquettes with katsu sauce), Brixton Market Salad (“Whatever looks good in Brixton Market”, which turned out to be avocado with a Japanese dressing) and Chicken Karaage (Deep-fried marinated chicken thighs). All three were fantastic. The chicken was succulent and had the perfect amount of chilli. We couldn’t taste the ackee so much in the croquettes but the saltfish definitely made an impact.nab04

We also went for a big plate of Curry Goat Tsukemen (Curry goat dipping ramen with ½ tea-pickled egg, seafood sawdust, and Scotch bonnet-pickled bamboo shoots). I was warned about the pickled bamboo and was very glad I was. My tentative first bite turned my mouth on fire and I carefully shifted them to the side of the plate – too much of an adventure for me and I hadn’t brought enough tissues. The goat was succulent, with little bone and not to much fat. A really great dish with more to it than West indian curry goat – if only the cardamom pods. It had a real depth of flavour and I would definitely order it again.

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The last guest ordered Mentaiko Pasta (Spaghetti in chilli-cured cod roe sauce with onsen egg, Parmesan, pancetta, aonori, and black pepper). This was a bit like a spaghetti carbonara but with extra umami from the cod roe – unexpected but excellent..

We washed this down with tap water, a Camden Lager and a glass of Sanglier white wine. This is one to add to our list of where to eat on Mondays. The bill came to  £44.15 including service and the drinks.