Nusa Kitchen, which has three shops in London, was established in 2004 by Patou Sekhon and her son Mark. The inspiration was one of Patou’s childhood memories of growing up in Singapore – the delicious soup served at her school tuck shop. My memories of the school tuck shop are cheap crisps and sweets, we certainly didn’t have home made soup! Nusa Kitchen originally served Asian inspired soups but has since expanded the menu to include salads, coconut rice boxes, breakfast and desserts. There is also a great choice of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free options on the menu.
I am a big fan of their soup – I have been tempted by their rice and salad boxes and the kimchi breakfast omelette but the soup is always a draw! There are usually eight soups on offer and the menu changes weekly. At least half of the soup choices will be pan Asian and the remainder will be from anywhere else in the world. I have seen Thai tom yum, Malaysian laksa and Bombay potato soup on the menu alongside Hungarian ghoulash and New Orleans jambalaya. A standard size portion of soup (a decent portion size) cost between £4.25 – £5.75, with a larger portion costing an additional £2 (at time of writing). The soup is accompanied by either bread, rice or fruit and your choice of a topping – chilli, coriander, yogurt or croutons.
One of my favourites is the Cochin fish soup, a lovely Keralan curry spiced soup with oodles of flavour. I’m not sure what fish is used in the soup but it seemed to be a meaty white fish. I have had the soup with bread (a flat bread) and also with rice – both went perfectly. This soup is satisfying, filling and yummy!
I have also tried the Thai tofu and chilli broth, a vegan and dairy free option – also gluten free if you choose rice or fruit as your accompaniment. This is a wonderful, Thai spiced clear broth with spinach, beansprouts and a generous amount of fried tofu. I have found some vegan broths to be a little bland for my taste; however, this one is delicious and full of flavour. This soup is light and cleansing and (I think) goes better with rice rather than bread.
Nusa Kutchen is aimed at the Monday – Friday breakfast and lunchtime market and is open from 7am to 4pm. Like Momo’wich, it is not open at weekends or in the evening which does seem a shame. I have only been to the shop in Old Street (the other two shops are in Cannon Street and Adams Court, near Bank Station) but there is always a queue at lunch time. There are a few tables to eat in but the majority of customers are here to takeaway. If you are in the area on a week day between 7am and 4pm, you should join the queue!
Nusa Kitchen Barbican
9, Old Street
London. EC1V 9HL
Tel: +44 (0)20 7253 3135
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 07.00 – 1600
Nearest underground station: Barbican
Typical cost per person including drinks: Up to £10