- The Dish: Flaming wagyu burger with a Japanese rum and whiskey marinade
- The Place: Nami - 10-50 Willow St, Hackney, London EC2A 4BH
- The Chef: Nobu Matsuhisa
At the beginning of the month, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch’s street food supper bar, Nami, unleashed a new flaming beef burger, with the dramatic addition said to be a one-of-a-kind in the capital.
Indeed, only ten are made a night, with burger comprising A5 Japanese wagyu beef paired with kizami nori, rosemary manchego cheese, seasonal mixed leaves and homemade cucumber sesame pickles, all housed in a tofu bun dotted with sesame seeds.
Catching on to diners’ love for the dramatic during dinner, the Nami chefs then glaze the burger with a secret mix of Japanese spirits and teriyaki and set it alight at the table.
While probably not something you’d likely see in a traditional Japanese street food set-up, the burger is very much at home as part of Nami’s high-end take on traditional staples from the on-trend Asian cuisine, fused (in true Nobu style) with Latin American ingredients and formats.
While Nobu has a presence on five continents, spread over 50 outposts, Nami in Shoreditch (which opened late 2019) is a brand-new concept for the Nobu group, with their wider menu making for interesting reading – not only dinner but also lunch.
Options for the latter include their club katsu - shokupan bread (a white bread widely consumed across Japan) with crumbed chicken thigh, pickled ginger coleslaw and crunchy garlic aioli – and their salmon katsu with shokupan, pickle and ginger coleslaw, yuzu kosho honey sauce and Thai basil both catching the eye.
Interesting highlights from the dinner menu, meanwhile, include dashi fries, which are confit fries in dashi with a yakiniku (grilled meat) aioli; salmon tartare with hijiki seaweed and a sweet honey tamarind sauce; confit pork belly wrapped in butter lettuce with hot miso and pickled ginger; and their ‘miso of the week’.
Fusion plays a big role at Nami too - not surprising considering Nobu Matsuhisa being a having been a pioneering advocate for Japanese-Peruvian fusion - with the yellow tail quinoa donburi style with mango and an agave spicy lemon sauce, and Peruvian causa croquettes with lime and aji amarillo aioli just two examples.
Nobu Matsuhisa is one of the most internationally known celebrity chefs and is something of a trend setter, having been instrumental in the introduction of high-end Japanese fusion cuisine in both the UK and the US.
It’s not the first time we’ve mentioned Nobu’s Shoreditch HQ, with their Japanese breakfast the subject of our gaze some three years ago. But with global street food going from strength to strength ever since in the UK, and with Japanese flagged up by many as being a key consumer eating trend for 2020, Nobu Shoreditch’s little sister Nami now earns our focus.
Indeed, fusion cuisine in general could be starting to make a return to prominence in the UK, if Streetbees latest survey on pizza is anything to go by, with Freak Scene’s Scott Hallsworth also highlighting opportunities for “fun, zesty mixups of different Asian food cultures” in our recent interview.
Consumers, meanwhile, are starting to eat less red meat along with a simultaneous move to higher quality options. Indeed, compared to a year ago, 38% of those surveyed by Streetbees in January said that they eat/buy red meat less.
However, 52% of consumers said they rarely go a day without some form of meat, with Nami’s new flaming A5 wagyu offering not only clearly a premium burger, but also one that taps into growing ‘wow factor’ trends, with everything from hot chocolate bombes to tableside raclettes finding traction in the highly influential Insta-friendly realm.