Nanban was founded by Chef Tim Anderson, who studied Japanese food for nearly two decades before opening his first restaurant. He began cooking Japanese food as a teenager, and went on to study Japanese culinary history at university. He won MasterChef in 2011, and has since published four books on Japanese cookery. Nanban started as a pop-up restaurant but when they found their new home in Brixton they began incorporating ingredients from Brixton Market, creating a Kyushu-Brixton fusion menu that featured flavours from the Caribbean, West Africa, Latin America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and more.