Nanban Brixton

Nanban is the ramen restaurant from former Masterchef UK 2011 champion Tim Anderson. When it comes to ramen he really knows his stuff having lived for a time in Fukuoka aka the Japanese home of ramen. I’d been wanting to check out his place for a while, so as soon as lockdown restrictions on restaurant lifted I headed straight down to Brixton. I went for the Lazy goat ragù-men ramen. This is one of Nanban’s signature dishes and is inspired by Brixton’s West Indian history and culture. Several years ago now it won the Evening Standard dish of the year, so I was keen to try it out and my expectations were high. The ramen consists of slow-cooked boneless goat leg and noodles in a spicy Indo-Caribbean curry sauce, topped with seafood sawdust, fried shallots, scotch bonnet bamboo shoots and a tea pickled egg. An innovate twist on the traditional ramen, but it worked. The goat was beautifully tender and tasty. It sat in what was definitely more of a sauce than a broth and had a good spicy heat to it, without being blow your head off hot.

My Neighbours the Dumplings

Lockdown 3 restrictions have finally started to lift and restaurants are reopening again, whoop! To celebrate after a lovely day relaxing in the sun at Victoria Park, my friend Rup and I headed to ‘My Neighbours the Dumplings’ for dinner. This is their second and bigger restaurant after their original Clapton opening and situated in the pretty Victoria Park Village conservation area of Hackney. I love the kooky name which apparently came about in honour of the cult 1998 Japanese anime film ‘My Neighbour Toroto’. Very East London.

We didn’t book, but thankfully they managed to squeeze us in. They have a beautiful outside area at the back and it was lovely to sit out in the warm evening sun. Off a clever tick sheet menu we ordered the crispy pork belly with their homemade plum sauce, smashed cucumber and ham sui gok (crispy vegan dumplings stuffed with truffle and potato wrapped in rice dough). We then finished with their classic prawn har gau dumplings and some delicious pork potstickers/ gyoza.

Really lovely and with a couple of cold beers a delightful little dinner. Everything was delicious and it sort of reminded me of a posher, better version of the restaurant chain ‘Ping Pong’. Be careful though if you’re really hungry it could quickly get quite pricey if you start ordering a lot. I can’t quibble with the quality of the food though, i’d definitely go back.