Review on Nanban
Recently operating as a pop-up restaurant at the adjacent Market House bar, American born Masterchef 2011 winner Tim Anderson, opened his first solo venture called Nanban in Brixton in October 2015. An Izakaya and Ramen bar, Nanban means southern barbarian, once used to describe Europeans that first arrived in Japan via the South China Seas, but now it represents certain westernised Japanese dishes.
Occupying a two-storey building built in 1921 as a theatre dining room and more recently a pie 'n' mash shop, some of the original features have been restored including the marble flooring, brickwork and dark hardwood panelling. The ground floor features narrow counters with low cork-topped stools together with a bar and a semi-open kitchen. A brass trimmed staircase leads to the upstairs high ceilinged dining room, which has several booths inside converted wheeled carts, arched with metal frames and strung with dangling light bulbs.
Anderson's soul food takes its focus from the southern island of Kyushu where ramen, karaage, curry, and shochu are the mainstays of the cuisine. Fresh ingredients are sourced from nearby Brixton Market for his dishes of small and large plates, ideal for sharing. Why not snack on the Nanban mix of Wasabi peas, peanuts, crispy fried noodles, rice crackers and seaweed flakes with Japanese chilli powder, while you make your choices from the regularly changing menu. Kick off with salmon kake-ae, vinegar-cured salmon with daikon, carrot, and cucumber in a miso-sesame dressing or maybe chicken karaage, deep-fried marinated chicken thighs. To follow, there's curry goat tsukemen, curry goat dipping ramen with ½ tea-pickled egg, seafood sawdust, and Scotch bonnet-pickled bamboo shoots or mentaiko pasta, spaghetti in spicy cod roe sauce with onsen egg, parmesan, pancetta, aonori and black sesame.
To accompany the food there's a good selection of craft beers, Japanese lager and whiskies, shochu from Kyushu, sake and Japanese tea.
Restaurant Opening Times
Lunch: 12.00pm - 12.00am Sat & 12.00pm - 11.00pm Sun
Dinner: 5.00 - 11.00pm Mon-Thu (5.00pm - 12.00am Fri)
Accepted credit cards
Visa, Master Card