“Eat East” is how Nusa Kitchen describes itself and as I was in the mood for Asian cuisine for a working lunch, I ventured to Nusa. From their colourful and playful website, I learn that Patou, one of the founders of the venture, grew up in Singapore and could never resist the delicious soups being sold in her school tuck shop. Luckily for me, she never forgot this lunchtime treat and many years and miles later she dreamed of cooking up equally memorable soups here in London.
Inspired by the flavours of South East Asia, the lunch offerings are made daily at Nusa Kitchen. Usually there are about eight different soups on offer (my idea of lunch heaven), with a good range of vegetarian and gluten-free soups. What’s more, they only use natural ingredients so you can be sure there are no artificial additives. Once you’re there you can also ask for a sample taste of each flavour to help you choose. Each soup is also served with a choice of toppings which include chilli, coriander,and yoghurt, and a choice of side – rice or bread. Struck by the range of vegetarian options on this week’s menu, I opted for Sri Lankan Cashewnut & Green Bean (£4.95). The soup had a spicy kick, balancing the sweetness of the coconut milk. My pot was full of crunchy and tasty whole beans and nuts, which added a welcome bite. It was, by far, one of the best soups I’ve eaten out in a long while – a rare occurrence as my mother cooks up the most amazing soups at home!
Using recipes inspired from Asia, a new generation of soup devotees has definitely emerged. Yet, their menu also includes Breakfast, Rice Boxes and Salads. I was struck by their Vienamese summer roll noodle salad (£3.95/£2.50) which I’ll have to sample on my return. Their healthy desert options even include Black Rice with Mango – a version of my favourite sweet treat in Thailand. Nusa undoubtedly offers something for everyone, in the form of a well-balanced, tasty and nutritious meals that draw inspiration from many cultures.
With branches at Old Street and Adams Court, this is sure to be a regular lunch spot for many. Apparently, as soon as the clock hits 12.30pm, office workers and locals start forming an orderly queue outside these outlets to get their homemade soup – and with a different menu every week, it isn’t surprising. Luckily, the friendly staff, whilst offering samples of their delicacies, serve their City workers speedily and so the queue is fast-moving. This is sure to become stiff competition with Pilpel’s falafel as my alternative lunchtime treat outside the office!
Nusa Kitchen, 88 Cannon Street, London, EC4N 6HT