Archive | July, 2018

Katsu Sando at Bright, Hackney

26 Jul

LOCATION: Bright, 1 Westgate Street, E8 3RL [map].

PRICE: £7.

BREAD: White sliced. No messin’.

FILLING: Breaded, deep-fried pork, shredded white cabbage, katsu sauce.

PROS: HA. Didn’t expect this, did you? I’ve written another review!

Remember when I told you the katsu sando is a trend? Yuh huh. FEEL MY TRUTHS. It’s amazing how two sandwiches made with the same constituent parts can be so different, though. Now I think, I think – and I say this as a person who has never even been to Japan I think, this is more what a tradish katsu sando is likeThe crusts are off, for a start, and it’s very neat, you know? It’s very beautiful and the cutlet has the perfect crunch and each bite I feel like I’m floating above my chair watching myself have a moment and I want to prise the fingers of my dining companion apart and take his piece of the sandwich and eat it for myself, like a sandwich Gollum. My precioussssss. 

Oh, but what is not tradish at all is the hot mustard – a stroke of genius. Yes to fierce yellow condiments, which only work because the katsu sauce, in this case, is quite timid.

CONS: It’s more expensive than the sando at Nanban AND it’s smaller but that makes sense in the context of it being a touch self-conscious. Bright is one of those places that’s like ‘oh we’re totally casual, we’re like the new wave of chilled out wine people don’t be afraid’ but then you ask a question about what to drink that doesn’t quite scan past their wine-dar correctly and they laugh at you for not knowing they would absolutely NEVER stock such and such style of x. That annoyed me, I’ll be honest. Point off for that, lads!

SCORE: 8/10 

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Katsu Sando at Nanban, Brixton

8 Jul

LOCATION: Nanban, 426 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LF [map].

PRICE: £5.

BREAD: White sliced, the kind you ate as a kid before bread got ideas.

FILLING: Crumbed, deep-fried pork shoulder, katsu sauce, shredded cabbage.

PROS: HI! I’m back. Again. Like a bad boyfriend who keeps making promises then letting you down I’m gonna tell you that this time, it’s different. This time, it’s forever.

Here’s the news: Nanban is one of the best restaurants in Brixton and it specialises in ‘Japanese soul food’. As a side note, you must also order their hot wings and the curry goat dipping ramen from the main menu. The sandwiches, however, are served from a hatch at the front of the restaurant and are takeaway only. I’ll leave you to deal with that problem. I’m just gifting you the info, I can’t do everything.

London is having a moment with katsu sandwiches, as you will soon see. Not famil with the katsu sando? It’s basically breaded, deep fried pork in a sandwich with katsu sauce, which is like a Japanese version of brown sauce – full of sweet and sour flavours and in this case, punchy with tamarind. It is a freakin’ delight my friend – do yourself a favour by eating one.

You have the juicy pork, you have the crunchy crumb, you have the freshness of shredded white cabbage and you have the full-on flavour from the katsu sauce – all inside the kind of trashy white bread that makes you whimper with nostalgic delight. Oh, and it’s a fiver. You can barely buy a sodding pint for a fiver in London!!

CONS: Now, what I don’t recommend doing is ordering a portion of ponzu dressed Padron peppers, a scotch egg, the aji fry, a portion of gyoza, a portion of addictive cabbage, a portion of hot wings and a bowl of crab noodles between three people BEFORE you each take down a katsu sandwich. I really cannot recommend that at all. It’s too much food. This is not the sando’s fault, of course, but I just had to get closure.

SCORE: 9/10 (we all know the 10/10 isn’t really a thing).