Nanban Brixton is one of Brixton’s treasures and somewhere I’ve wanted to go to that has a fusion twist compared to most London ramen places. Nanban or “南蛮 / ナンバンブリクストン” is defined as barbarian in Japanese and the idea of the restaurant is to incorporate flavours and ingredients from Brixton Market to mix with Japanese dishes.
Since Brixton Market has a lot of ingredients from African and Caribbean countries, you can see the influence in what they pick in their dishes. Majority of the ingredients in their dishes include jerk, ackee and saltfish, jackfruit and what intrigued me the most was how scotch bonnet was incorporated in most of the dishes including their most popular, Lazy Goat Ragú-men. To be honest, this was the first scotch bonnet pickled ramen I had heard about and wanted to try but Tonkotsu’s Geki-kara was coming to an end for another winter so I had to try that quickly, while Lazy Goat Ragú-men is staple in Nanban.
So when I had that first spoonful of the ramen with those delicious scotch bonnet pickles on top, the spice really hit me. But it’s a nice warmth especially on a winter’s night and the taste really works with ramen noodles. The goat has no bones in it which is great for me, since growing up and eating curry goat, the bone pieces of meat are too much for me. It’s especially really soft and tender.
So don’t worry if you’re a boneless meat eater like me, Nanban got you covered! The scotch bonnet dripping off the goat and noodles really keeps up the chilli taste in your mouth. My only concern is the portion of the Ragú-men. Maybe because it’s quite thick due to the broth and presentation, it’s a lot is smaller than any ramen I ever had especially for the price. I think Nanban should consider a larger size for their current price and make the usual Ragú-men at around a little cheaper. And add more noodles, just like Tonkotsu needs to do with their Geki-kara (激辛).
Nanban is really cute in terms of its setting. It has a wooden interior for its choice of seating on the right and the service is really quick. While their branch in Brixton is more well known for, there is also the Covent Garden branch that has started to become more popular for people who prefer to go to central London. Honestly after tasting previous ramen in other famous branches such as Shoryu and Yamagoya, this dish alone carries the whole restaurant and beats many other spicy ramen that I have tried in London, ranking above Tonkotsu’s Geki-kara.
But please go to Nanban Brixton and try out Ragú-men. I still really want the recipe into making the broth of this cause it was made so perfectly. That’s it really.