Tag Archives: brixton

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).

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Smoked Salmon and Dill Sauce at Opus, Clapham

2 Jul

LOCATION: Opus, 89 Acre Lane, SW2 5TN  [map]

PRICE: £4.20

BREAD: A white muffin.

FILLING: Smoked salmon, cucumber, tomato, dill sauce, rocket.

PROS: Well, dill tastes nice doesn’t it.

CONS: Opus only do toasted sandwiches. Bit annoying on a hot day but whatever. Also, every single sandwich, of which there are about 10, contains tomatoes. Stranger still is the fact that the ingredients list for every sandwich on the menu begins with ‘tomatoes’, like they’re the primary ingredient in any sandwich apart from a tomato sandwich. I stand for a minute or so trying to work out the reason for this but it’s a total dead end so I choose one of the sandwiches instead. There are normal options such as cheese, ham or cheese and ham together. And then, there is smoked salmon with cucumber and dill sauce. Toasted. That sounds like something which should be eaten cold, no? That will be weird, I think to myself. Won’t that just be really weird? So of course I order it.

It arrives in a paper bag with a piece of kitchen paper around it. She knows I’m eating in but perhaps she feels I can’t be trusted with a plate. I remove it from the bag and…MY EYES! The thing is stuffed to the brim with rocket. Shitloads of it. I hate rocket. I hate it primarily because it doesn’t taste very nice and it dominates everything with its gashness but also because it pops up sodding everywhere. Perhaps this offensive leaf invasion was listed on the menu; I wouldn’t know because I was busy thinking about why there were so many tomatoes of primary importance flinging about.

I press on. So the outside is blistering hot, right? Fair enough, that’s called toasting. Everything on the inside is cold though. The salmon particularly so. The contrast is unpleasant. As I make my way through the sandwich, the tomato, which is next to the bread, starts to warm up, taking on a fluffy, mealy texture. I’m frantically pulling out the rocket. Worst of all though is the fact that the salmon is starting to get warm too, but only in places. I do love eating a piece of fish that has both hot and cold patches, it’s not at all unnerving.

The thoroughly pleasant dill sauce has its work cut out trying to make amends for everything else, which is a shame. An ill-conceived sandwich, a baffling approach to menu writing and a waitress who couldn’t crack a smile.

SCORE: 2/10