We get behind the scenes with Faizan Iqbal, of JAN – a new opening celebrating Caspian flavours, charcoal cooking and a fun and flamboyant setting…
What countries will JAN take inspirations from?
JAN’s inspirational journey starts from the Ottoman Empire. Just like the Sultans, we took influences from Iran, Middle-East, Turkey, Georgia and Armenia. The only difference is the Sultans introduced gastronomic experiences in Topkapi Palace, Istanbul but Jan will bring this to Northcote Road, London.
What defines the food, ingredients and flavours from these countries?
You might think the entire region is kebab powered – it is true that kebabs are said to have originated from Persia and people love them, but there’s so much more to the cuisine from these countries than skewered meat – it combines savoury dishes with sweet flavours like pomegranate, barberry and cinnamon. There is simple use of fresh herbs and subtle spices like saffron. The goal is not to knock your taste buds over with one prominent flavour, but to serve up layers of flavours to keep you guessing as to what may come next.
The goal is not to knock your taste buds over with one prominent flavour, but to serve up layers of flavours to keep you guessing as to what may come next.
Tell us a bit about your journey with Jan?
I wasn’t satisfied with the Persian and Turkish eateries in the UK and wanted to create a solution that offered healthy, simple Turkish and Iranian food, accompanied with sumptuous drinks; soulful, funk filled and disco heavy playlists in a modern environment. You won’t find flying carpets and belly dancing here. I truly enjoyed creating JAN with the customer’s journey, expectations and appetite always in my mind.
Tell us about the JAN beer created with Brew By Numbers
We have worked quite closely with Brew By Numbers (BBNo) the Bermondsey-based artisan microbrewery, to curate a simple and versatile selection of beers, whether it be to drink alone or with our food. In pursuit of a bespoke beer, we have noticed their expertise knowledge of beers and array of unique flavour combinations, matches our ethos of offering unique taste experiences.
How do the flavours of JAN beer pair well with food?
The Grisette style is a rich, cardamom-infused taste, with citrus flavours that stand up well to rich, smoked and grilled flavours.
What dishes are must tries?
The Whole Roast Aubergine with spiced yoghurt, lemon saganaki, cumin and sesame is a delicious dish, as well as the Roast Spiced Chicken Crown with Caspian spiced broth, buttery black cardamom and rosemary broth, served with a spiced aubergine on the side. The charred miso and tahini spiced cauliflower left us speechless! And for dessert, you can’t miss the Harissa Ice Cream with Dried Apricot and Saffron Syrup.
What drinks can guests try for a taste of Eastern Flavours?
The drinks menu at JAN will offer refreshing cocktails incorporating delicate teas, lots of Middle Eastern spices and plenty of fresh fruit like pomegranate and melon. The Satisfied Mule for example combines Chairman’s Reserve spiced rum with carrot, caramel, citrus, ginger beer, Angostura bitters, all topped off with a frozen yogurt float. Or why not try the Order of the Honeycomb – a punchy mix of London Dry Gin, black pepper, bay leaf honey syrup, yellow chartreuse, lemon and egg white. All syrups, juices and specialist ingredients will be freshly made on site.
Summer is here, whats the best way to celebrate long evenings at JAN?
Come to JAN and enjoy the interesting flavours and traditions in Ottoman cuisine. Feast and share food with friends while seated on long tables and enjoy the theatre of watching dishes being crafted in the open kitchen. Just want a drink? No problem, drop by for a Ruby Rum Swizzle in which refreshing and luscious pomegranates are swizzled with fresh mint, citrus, sweetness whilst gold and white rum glistens through.
JAN | 78 Northcote Road, SW11 | Opening in July