Nan Tei is a new Japanese Yakitori restaurant that just opened up on Maid Marian way in Nottingham just a few doors from the Travelodge and close to the Salutation Pub .
It is a traditional Japanese spot selling a whole plethora of Yakitori skewers, all different kinds including ones with vegetable, fish, chicken, pork and beef. They also sell some side dishes such as noodles and rices but it is mostly focused on yakitori priced between £1.80 and £3.30 ish
I was all alone when I walked in but was greeted most enthusiastically by the owner who was really friendly and happy to talk. I was treated to stories of Yakitori bars in Japan where I was told that the men finish work on a Friday and Saturday and head there with their friends to order some food, drink some beer, order some more food, drink some more beer, then drink some sake before falling asleep and missing their trains home.
I said that sounded fantastic which I am not sure was quite the correct response 🙂
Anyhow, I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing so I just ordered some stuff that I liked the sound of and took a chance. I probably should have just said ‘”look here is some money just bring me what you recommend”, but I didn’t have that bright thought until after I left
Cherry Tomato wrapped with Pork
From the Pork section of the menu I picked out the “Cherry Tomato wrapped with Pork” skewer which was simple yet quite tasty. I like that the sweet cherry tomatoes popped as you bit into each one and that the pork wrapper was nice and salty. I tried to ignore the moment I thought that they looked like eyeballs ;-(
There were three other Pork themed yakitori skewers on offer each one, just like this one were £2.20. “Pork with leek“, “Asparagus wrapped with Pork“, and “Okra wrapped with Pork“.
In the rest of the meat section of the menu you could order “Beef Fillet” and “Beef Tongue” and “Lamb Chop” each for £3.30
The Prawn yakitori was actually two skewers, each one grilled until piping hot, honestly too hot to handle! If you were in a rush or quite hungry you would have to be patient or risk burnt fingers. As with all shrimp dishes you need to pull the head off and suck out the juices (ok the brains) to get the best flavours, and these were particularly ‘juicy'[I figure I might have lost you at that point] 🙂
I liked that the prawns were grilled with a coating of salt, but I was left wanting a little bit more, well I just wanted more shrimp and I could have ordered more so what am I moaning about? lol
Hot Soup over Rice with Salmon
I picked out a bowl of the “Hot Soup over Rice with Salmon” from the ‘side dishes’ section of the menu. It actually ended up being one of the larger dishes I ordered. It could also have come with pickled plum if you didn’t want Salmon. They also did have soup, rice balls, and they did have noodles (which I resisted) as well, because somehow this sounded more interesting.
It was very light and very subtle in terms of flavour, somewhat indiscernable, the broth was thin and I suppose that allowed the gentle taste of the salmon to come through. It all felt quite healthy and refreshing. The toasted sesame and chopped scallions scattered over the top added something but nothing to overpower the gentleness of the experience.
The green almost putty like paste that you can just see in the corner of the picture attached to the rim of the bowl was wasabi and when you dropped a bit of that into the bowl? well then things got a little more interesting!
Mushroom Yakitori and Rice Cake
I picked out the mushrooms with sauce from the Vegetable section, these were basically two grilled mushrooms served with a dollop of brown bean sauce and a sprinkling of salt. Now I like mushrooms, but I needed something more than just the mushroom, it was perhaps too subtle for me.
There was a decent list of Vegetable options including ‘Leek’, ‘Bean Curd’, ‘Okra’, ‘Sweet Corn‘ all things you can imagine being easy to skewer and grill.
There was one random item on the list and that was ‘Crab Roe Salad with Sesame Sauce‘ I wondered if that dish got lost on its way to the Fish section of the menu. To be fair that sounded quite nice and I would probably have ordered it.
I also had one of the toasted rice cakes which was extremely hot in temperature after being grilled. After it cooled I ate it folded into a seaweed wrapper while dipping into some brown bean sauce
When I got home and pondered on what I had eaten I really thought that I had not eaten enough and that I should have tried more. I think I should have made a plan just to eat the entire chicken section on the menu; Chicken Wings, Chicken with leek, Mushrooms stuffed with Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Chicken Skin, Chicken Heart, and Quails Eggs.
I have a great book called Chicken and Charcoal by Matt Abergel all about the Yakitori restaurant called Yardbird in Hong Kong. I had forgotten that I owned it, I buy so many like a cookbook hoarding obsessive, mostly for research. Reading that when I got home made me wish even more that I had gone chicken crazy.
Maybe I will return and do just that? Maybe you would like to come and take on that challenge with me? Could be fun and not just for our tastebuds!
Overall it was an interesting little foray into the world of Yakitori, a small glimpse into what they have to offer, and a moment to ponder that I could make a lot more of the next visit and try to choose a more coherent meal. Secretly though I quite fancy letting myself off the leash like one of those business men in Japan of whom the owner regailed me with tales of excess. I might like trying that.
Nan Tei is Located at 71 Maid Marian way in Nottingham, as I said up top it is just a few doors from the Travelodge and close to the Salutation Pub.