— 9 May 2017, 00:00 by Hugh Thomas
Are you one of those people who counts down the days ‘til Christmas?
Yes? Then there’s something you should know. At Nanny Outars, it’s always Christmas. That’s right. 365 days a year.
Wanna know why? Take a look at pepperpot – a spicy stew widely regarded as Guyana’s national dish. Walk into any home in Guyana on Christmas morning, and ten times out of ten they’ll be preparing pepperpot for the whole family. If you’re polite about it, they might offer you some, too. Even if you have just waltzed in without an invite.
First, they’ll be boiling down the pig trotters, so they’re nice and tender, before adding the cinnamon, garlic, onion, hot peppers, and – most important of all – cassareep: a bittersweet concoction made from the cassava root indigenous to South America. Then it’s left to simmer. Like most good things, the whole process takes several hours.
It’s the same deal in restaurants across Guyana, and it’s the same deal around London – Nanny Outars, just like Guyanese Roti, Kaieteur Kitchen, Umana Yana, and Lime & Roti, are all places where restaurant food is home-cooked food. No two ways about it.
This family ethos is why you’re always treated pretty well at a Guyanese joint, too – no surprise Nanny Outars got Time Out’s attention as having some of the friendliest staff around, thanks to affable co-founders Sam and Chris. Thing is, if their signature dish – a rich pork and squash pepperpot, with pineapple salsa, wrapped in a roti – was anything to go by, they’re winning plenty of friends anyway.