Nan Tei – Japanese – Nottingham

I rarely write about restaurants more than once, but felt compelled to after a recent visit to Nan Tei. My review in 2019 was positive though I summed up with; ‘why wouldn’t you just go to Kushi-Ya instead’. Well, 5 years on getting a table there isn’t as easy as it once was! In visiting Nan Tei on this Friday night I thought some custom may have trickled down, sadly we were the only table! That’s a shame for any restaurant, particularly in the current climate of challenging conditions for hospitality. It was only afterwards when I reflected on this that I resolved to give them some promotion. A few less pics and details than usual though, apologies.

Chicken Karaage at Nan Tei

The restaurant itself retains a minimalist aesthetic in a easily forgotten corner of Maid Marian way next to a large Travelodge that could never be accused as being easy on the eye. Their menu includes a few main dishes such as chicken katsu curry but the main focus is on the yakitori. The restaurant also has lots of interesting sake options at a good price but wine lovers note that corkage is only £5. I was a little worried, having seen the empty restaurant, that the experience would not compare to the new wave sensations of Kushi-Ya and Everyday People. I was quickly reminded that whilst the flavours here were much more simple and traditional, they are really no less enjoyable.

Mushroom Skewers at Nan Tei

Two chicken thigh skewers, for example, were perfectly cooked with just a dab of soy and teriyaki sauce. A steal at £5. Karaage was a larger dish at £8, a similar sauce but the light batter gave this a different dimension to the skewers. There are some more ‘interesting’ options too, tongue skewers are always going to be a bit tougher but a nice depth of beefy flavour that had been well seasoned with plenty of pepper. At £4 for 2 sticks it would seem rude to forget the vegetables on the menu. Simple mushrooms, courgette and cherry tomato skewers are simple but a welcome change of pace from the meats.

So next time you can’t get in at you’re favourite spot don’t forget places that have been plugging away to little fanfare. You might just be surprised how good it is.

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