1) Hi Tim, tell us what you do!
2) We are huge fans of your Nanban restaurants and we can not wait to come back. Can you tell us what you are doing differently to keep everyone safe during these uncertain times?
The main thing we have done differently is implement new social distancing measures by lowering our capacity by about a third and scheduling bookings so we don’t have too many people arriving at the same time. Other than that we have replaced our paper menus with a smartphone ordering system, and we have reinforced our existing health and safety regime with additional requirements regarding PPE, hand washing, and time off for illness. So far it is going well and the customer feedback has been positive in terms of the overall experience!
3) Any drinks or special items you would recommend us ordering when we come visit?
Yes! During lockdown I rediscovered the joy of sake, so I am pushing sake at Nanban and will be introducing monthly specials. Good sake can be expensive because of how it’s taxed, so we take a lower margin on premium bottles so more people can try it. And all of our sake are available by the glass. I really believe we are the best place to try sake in South London.
At Seven Dials Market we have two new specials that pay respects to the market’s historic use as a fruit and vegetable warehouse, the Cucumber Alley Hiyashi Noodle Salad and the Banana Warehouse Curry Ramen. The former is a cold ramen salad with an addictive gochujang sesame dressing, and the latter is a light, mild curry ramen topped with plantains. They’re both really delicious.
4) Have you been working on any new projects during lockdown?
“During lockdown I rediscovered the joy of sake…”
5) What do you always have in your pantry for knocking up a quick meal at home? any secret ingredients you would like to share with us?
6) Do you use miso in your cooking? If so, how do you like to enjoy it?
I use miso in too many ways to name, but one I’ve been particularly fond of lately is in nikumiso, which is basically just pork mince (I usually use half pork and half soy mince) cooked with onions, ginger, sesame oil, miso, and a bit of sugar. It’s sweet and salty and meaty and very very good. Usually you’d have it on rice, but it’s also good with noodles, on bread, or wrapped in lettuce. I had it on roasted courgettes recently and it was delicious. It’s also good cold, with the texture of a very coarse, meaty pate.
7) Tell us something you recently made and how you made it.
The best thing I’ve made recently is Ping Coombes‘ char siu recipe. I’ve made the Japanese equivalent, chashu, for years, but I’ve never had a go at the Chinese original. It was pork belly marinated in garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, soy sauce, five spice, brown sugar, and some other bits, then smoked for about an hour and a half over cedar wood and some leaves off of my little calamansi tree. It was so good! It’s going to be on regular rotation. All credit to Ping for that one.
Tim Anderson’s new cookbook, Vegan Japaneasy is published by Hardie Grant Publishing and is available at all good book stores.