Nana’s Japanese is built upon three important missions.
Mission 1) Bring Japanese home cooking to the UK
Nana’s Japanese has sprouted from delicious home-cooking memories. The owner chef, Nana
Hirayama, originally comes from the east side of Tokyo, the birthplace of Edo-style nigiri
sushi. She grew up with authentic Japanese home cooking, beautifully prepared by her mum
throughout her childhood. After having travelled around Japan and the world in pursuit of
culinary pleasure, she can still proudly say her mum’s cooking is the best. So that’s how it
started. Her Mission No. 1 is to recreate her mum’s cooking in the UK with her own twist.
You can truly enjoy a sense of staying in a Japanese home in Leamington Spa, in the heart of
England! Many people think sushi is typical Japanese food, but the Edo-style sushi (small
vinegar-dressed rice balls with commonly raw fish on top) or maki-zushi (rolled sushi) is
NOT Japanese home cooking. There is such a variety of delicious home cooking still
undiscovered by UK foodies. Nana is happy to be a Japanese home cooking ambassador to
Mission 2) Introduce Japanese eating culture
One of Nana’s signature lunch menu dishes - tasting tray (or teishoku in Japanese) -
represents her approach to Japanese style home cooking. Using balanced, seasonal, varied
ingredients and cooking methods, this daily changeable menu typically offers 5 different
dishes served with a bowl of miso soup and bottomless (!) rice. Nana believes that a varied
diet is a key for health and joy in life. You’ll never get bored eating at Nana’s. This teishoku
style also echoes Japanese mentality: Feel the season, embrace changes and variety in life,
and find beauty in small things. Each main and side dish is served with a variety of Japanese
small plates or bowls, placed in a designated position, exactly how Japanese people would
serve it at home. The teishoku offers you a culinary and cultural experience that gets you
closer to the essence of Japan.
Donburi, or ‘don’ for short, is another standout on the menu. It is a popular style of food in
Japan, consisting of a generous base of rice in a bowel, topped with meat and/or vegetables.
As it’s relatively quick to make, you might say that donburi is the king of Japanese-style fast
food! Plain rice is an unsung hero, in Nana’s view. It is a source of physical and mental
energy, as well as being versatile, low allergy risk and genuinely a happy food. Nana always
thinks carefully about what side dishes are the best for her customers to enjoy plain rice even
more. You can see and feel her thoughts, creativity and passion in the combination of rice and
topping in donburi dishes.
Mission 3) No compromise in authenticity
For Nana’s, authenticity is everything. Although Japanese cuisine is gaining popularity in the
UK, sadly, not many restaurants currently available on the UK market provide authentic
Japanese dishes, especially in terms of flavours, cooking methods, presentation etc. Since
2013, Japanese traditional cuisine has been added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage
list. This means the importance of being authentic has never been greater than now. Just
being Japanese does not guarantee authenticity. Nana has built up the inspiration, skills,
knowledge and experience to deliver true authenticity to customers. In fact, the pursuit of
great Japanese food has no end. Nana continues to develop her knowledge of Japanese
cooking and professional skills by training at an upmarket traditional Japanese restaurant in
Tokyo, famous for puffer fish and hamo (dagger-tooth pike conger), both known as
traditional delicacy in Japan. Nana also wants Japanese residents in the UK and anyone who
has travelled to Japan and tried food there to feel at home. That’s why she always aims to
bring back typical drinks and seasoning from Japan, including sake (rice wine), a range of
green teas, and matcha. Miso and dashi stock, the most important ingredients in miso soup,
are also from Japan.
For those who want to explore Japanese foods and culture on a deeper level, Nana also hosts
private cookery lessons, cultural events, and occasionally exhibits her food in food festivals.
Good authentic food can travel miles.
Please visit Nana’s and feel how the seed of authentic Japanese cooking is blooming in the
heart of England.