Jun Tanaka is Executive Chef at Pearl Restaurant & Bar in. To accompany his interview with us he has kindly let us have three great recipes from his new cookbook Simple to Sensational

Pearl Restaurant & Bar, 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN www.pearl-restaurant.com

Chunky fish soup

Serves 4

100g live mussels

100ml light olive oil

½ onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic

¼ fennel bulb, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon tomato purée

2 star anise

A pinch of saffron threads

A pinch of cayenne pepper

100ml white wine

50ml Pernod

3 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

500ml fish stock

500g fish, such as monkfish, cod, bream or mullet, cut into chunks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

Garlic mayonnaise

Freshly grated Gruyère cheese

Crusty bread

Wash the mussels in cold water, scrubbing the shells. Pull away the fibrous beards and rinse thoroughly to remove any sand. Discard any broken ones.

Heat half the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic, fennel and carrot and gently cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato purée, star anise, saffron and cayenne pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine and Pernod, bring to the boil and let it reduce for 2-3 minutes. Finally add the chopped tomatoes and fish stock. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for 20 minutes.

Heat the rest of the olive oil in a frying pan. Season the chunks of fish and cook for 2 minutes until caramelised. Add to the soup along with the mussels. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the mussels open (discard any that stay closed).

Serve in bowls with a dollop of garlic mayonnaise in each and scattered with grated Gruyère cheese. Provide crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Crisp baked goat’s cheese with pears and chicory

Have you ever brought a loaf of bread and not quite finished it before the last pieces start to go stale? Well, this recipe is a fantastic way of using up all those last slices. At Pearl I fill the goat’s cheese with slices of truffle for a truly decadent experience.

Serves 4

8 slices white bread

2 medium free range egg yolks

1 Caramelised pears, chicory and grilled goat’s cheese recipe (see page xxx)

4 fresh basil leaves

100 g unsalted butter, melted

25 g black or white sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200 ºC.

Using a round cutter slightly larger than the goat’s cheese, cut eight circles out of four of the slices of bread. With a rolling pin, roll out the other four slices of bread until thin. Cut off the crusts with a knife and cut each rolled square of bread into two equal sized rectangles.

To wrap each goat’s cheese, use a pastry brush to brush one side of a bread circle and rectangle with egg yolk. Repeat with a second bread circle and rectangle. This will help to stick the bread on to the goat’s cheese. Take a leaf of basil and place on top of a cheese. Put the two egg-washed circles of bread on the top and bottom of the cheese. Take one of the rectangles and wrap around the cheese with the egg-washed side touching the cheese.

Use the other rectangle to completely encase the goat’s cheese. They should overlap slightly – make sure it’s well sealed. Dip in the melted butter and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Repeat the process with the other cheeses. Once they’re all wrapped and dipped, place on a baking tray and cook for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

While the cheeses are baking in the oven, cook the caramelised pears and dress the chicory and watercress. Serve immediately with the baked goat’s cheeses.


Once the cheeses are wrapped and dipped in the melted butter, they will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Very handy for dinner parties if you’re not sure whether there are any vegetarians. Instead of using a leaf of basil, try using sun-dried tomatoes or piquillo peppers.

Simple lamb casserole with onions and new potatoes

Casseroles always taste better the day after they’re cooked. It gives the ingredients time to fully release and combine all the flavours. However, if you don’t have time, this casserole is still delicious made on the day.

Serves 4

50 ml vegetable oil

800 g lamb neck fillets cut into 4 cm pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 button onions, peeled

4 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

1 tablespoon tomato purée

300 ml white wine

300 ml Madeira

12 new potatoes, peeled and left whole

4 whole garlic cloves

3 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

a sprig of fresh thyme

a sprig of fresh rosemary

800 ml lamb stock

1/2 bunch fresh mint, leaves chopped

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180ºC.

Heat half the vegetable oil in a frying pan. Season the lamb pieces and fry for 5 minutes until caramelised all over.

While the lamb is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a separate oven proof casserole dish. Fry the button onions and carrots for 3-4 minutes until browned. Add the tomato purée and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Drain the lamb in a colander. Pour the white wine and Madeira into the frying pan, bring to the boil and scrape off the sediment from the bottom of the pan. Add to the vegetables in the casserole dish.

Add the lamb, potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, thyme, rosemary and stock to the casserole. The liquid should just cover the meat (add extra stock if it doesn’t). Bring to the boil and place a circular piece of baking parchment over the lamb and vegetables. Cover with a lid and cook for 1½-2 hours or until the lamb is tender. Remove the herb sprigs and season to taste.

To serve, spoon in to large bowls and scatter over the chopped mint leaves.


When choosing cuts of meat for a casserole, buy something with a little fat, as this will prevent the meat from becoming too dry.