The Nanban menu offers a selection of small and large plates along with a vast drinks selection. Anderson has collaborated with a number independent Japanese and British breweries to produce a drinks list with a strong emphasis on lager and beer, but for the traditionalists there is also Sake on offer, and for those in the need of a stiff drink, a selection of Shochu – a strong, potato-based spirit with a mighty kick.
To start with, we'd recommend the Horumon Yaki: twice-cooked pig tripe served in a medley of spicy miso sauce, nira, cabbage, bean sprouts, crunchy brown rice and pickled radish, this is the menu's best offering and pays testament to Anderson's culinary talents. Other nibbles of deep-fried smoked electric eel, pickled in a ginger-vinegar sauce with sanshō, onions, and red peppers: it's slippery, moreish and packed with flavour.
Less thrilling are the ackee and saltfish korokke with katsu sauce: we can see Anderson engaging playfully with his Brixton venue but somehow the novelty doesn't salvage them from being slightly bland, lacking in sufficient crunch. The Pink and white Grapefruit Shichimi Salad dressed in honey-mirin with shichimi, cucumber and served with crunchy brown rice is, however, delightful and definitely worth ordering.
The mains are less of a success: an intriguing sounding 'dipping ramen', Curry Goat Tsukemen, doesn't quite make the cut. A separate bowl of egg noodles is rather inelegantly served in a side bowl for dipping in the curry, which arrives thick and oily, served with half a tea-pickled egg, seafood sawdust and some Scotch bonnet-pickled bamboo shoots that sadly don't pack much of a punch.
More traditional bowls of Ramen are as expected, hearty and filling. The Mentaiko Pasta – wheat spaghetti tumbled in chilli-cured cod roe sauce and stirred in with onsen egg, Parmesan, pancetta, aonori, and black pepper is thick and warming, comfort food indeed, but doesn't really harp back to its Japanese origins.
The main problem with Anderson's restaurant is that the light, fresh flavours traditionally associated with Japanese food are lost in favour of a 'heartier' menu: yet comfort food, if in this context, needs to be done to higher standards and as far as mains go, we aren't convinced. Nonetheless, for small plates, drinks and atmosphere, you can do a lot worse than at the new Tim Anderson restaurant. For more information about Nanban London visit their website.
|What||Nanban restaurant review|
|Where||Nanban, 426 Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8LF | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Brixton (underground)|
16 Sep 15 – 01 Oct 16, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM