Ramen cures whiplash. Well something sure did. Waking up in pain has been a daily occurance since my tumble down the mountain on Christmas Eve. But after my ramen-filled night out at Tim Anderson's new restaurant Nanban the other night, I've woken up relatively pain free. Is this a miracle cure we've been missing out on? I've deduced it was one or any/all of the following variables tthat may be the source of this wondrous miracle. Ramen, alcohol, hoppers, diazepam, heavy duty laughter with friends and sleeping on a magical Indian bed (I might have made this last one up).
I personally think it was the really good ramen (like really bloody good). To be honest I'd never fallen for the ramen thing. Japanese food can be unapologetically meaty and ramen places are no exception. But then I ate Tim Anderson's reimen dish at a pop-up a couple of summers ago, and nothing's matched it since. Until last Wednesday night. I think we may have eaten everything veggie on the menu, and I tasted the spaghetti because, well, I'm a chef and I just needed to know what it tasted like. And before anyone starts blasting me for not being a proper veggie, I truly believe I learn about flavour because I'm not going to turn away from an opportunity to learn something I think is important to me understanding good food (and making my vegan and vegetarian food taste amazing). It doesn't happen often.
Okay so back on topic, I'd say my favourite dish of the night was the buttery soft aubergine with a tahini like miso that made me want to divert the attention of my dining friends to another dish. The chilli pickled bamboo was a genius touch but I expect nothing less from Tim. It's these little touches that elevate so much of Tim's cooking, like the braised daikon (yum) and toffee-like tea-infused eggs. The grapefruit and pomelo was very much my kind of salad, all zing and spice. And I loved the ramen again, this time with a deeply warming mushroom dashi. But I know now it is the spicy chilled reimen from summer 2014 that has my Japanese noodle heart now. I'm quite loyal like that you know, and hope this dish is back on the menu this summer.
I do love a little foodie excursion add-on when I'm working in London. I made this one last a couple of days, with some exploring and eating in Brixton and Soho. Finally got myself over to Hoppers for the best Sri Lanka food I've tasted in this country (and to be fair, better than I ever had in Sri Lanka). Plenty of delicious vegan food on the menu too.
I was less impressed by what Chinatown had to offer, but maybe I just don't have the local gen. Although that's the thing I love about Asian street food (especially Chinatowns), that you can just wander and eat something delicious, without having to research the hell out of where to go in the first instance. Over the course of three days, I may actually have eaten my own body weight in noodles, dumplings and hoppers, while any notion of dry January took a complete tumble. But it was worth it for some of Nanban's matcha saison and pain free sleep. My physio said it's obviously the diazepam and exercises, but I just think he hasn't had a really great bowl of ramen yet!
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