Our R&D section features two kinds of work: deeply-researched dishes from our chef’s tasting menu which changes twice a year; and improvisational dishes from our weekly omakase  menu.

Liquorice parfait


Liquorice showcases a global preference for bittersweet, anise-like, earthy flavours.

It is native to the Middle East, southern Europe, and parts of Asia. Liquorice has been enjoyed for more than 2000 years, and its variations around the world reflect a shared interest in its medicinal and confectionary properties.

The liquorice root was amongst many treasures found in Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb from 1350 BC. In Shennong Bencaojing, a Chinese book on medicine from the third century, it is described as a magical plant that rejuvenates ageing men.

Liquorice also found the favour of Assyrian kings to treat coughs. Historians believe Cleopatra used it to preserve her beauty. In ancient Greece, physicians found the liquorice root provided relief from chest complaints. The Romans chewed liquorice root as a means of quenching their thirst on their many long marches. 

Our dessert draws on these historical similarities, as well as more contemporary forms in candies and sweets from around the world. 

Chinese cooks use liquorice to preserve mei fruit, Chinese olives, and kumquats, and as a common ingredient in herbal teas like Seven Stars. In India, mukhwas, a fennel seed-based liquorice concoction, is eaten to refresh the breath and aid digestion after a rich, spicy meal. Liquorice features prominently in the foods of Northern Europe, too. In the Netherlands and in Scandinavia, liquorice is one of the most popular forms of sweets. 

We serve our liquorice parfait as an ice cream sandwich in between two Chinese love letters, a rice flour-based cookie traditionally sold during Chinese New Year that has counterparts in Thailand with thong muan, in Italy with pizzelle, and in Czech Republic with parizske pecivo.


Our research and development methodology at Nouri is structured, but we always leave room for improvisation. We follow research guidelines but are willing to break them if the work demands it. Our primary mandate is always creative.

We begin with a specific kind of pattern recognition. Drawing on the vocational strength of our chefs, we identify similarities in ingredient, technique, or flavour of dishes from around the world. How does a mole from Mexico resemble a red curry from Thailand? Why do Peruvians cure their fish in the same way as Pacific Islanders? We are able to ask these questions because our chefs taste these questions. Taste— which can be dismissed as a subjective experience in amateurs— is a rigorous tool at the disposal of our professional chefs. It frames and guides our research questions.

We then conduct preliminary historical research to determine whether the patterns we identify are the result of mutually independent development or cultural exchange. When an ingredient is found around the world, we often see similar methods of use. Liquorice is an example. More often, we recognise similarities because of cultural exchange. Food travels across boundaries and between cultures through trade, war, migration, etc. As a result, each culture adopts the ingredient or technique, featuring certain elements of the culture from which it received it, and imbuing the item with new features, too. Chili pepper is an excellent case study of an ingredient that has transformed the cuisines of South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.

Our chefs begin their development process with these initial observations.

Then, we approach relevant experts— sometimes regional historians, other times anthropologists, sociologists, linguists, economists, etc.— to validate, and sometimes challenge, our hypotheses. They provide access to primary source materials that help us map the lineage of a specific food item as it travels across cultures. This step is essential to our crossroads approach to food; it allows us to work with products or techniques that are verifiably shared by people globally.

We also partner with chemists and food scientists to examine the molecular structures of the foods we think share common origins or features. On our menu, we serve a rice stem dish that draws on the shared flavour profiles of a south Indian buttermilk and a Norman sauce dieppoise; this link is confirmed scientifically and culturally. 

Our final output is an original dish that is conceptually related to food traditions from around the world without being traditional. It is innovative without ignoring historical influences. It fulfils the requirements of a complete dish in terms of taste, texture, and style, but also paves the way for a broader engagement with global culture.

Beyond food 

Crossroads thinking was born out of a desire to think more deeply and critically about culture and globalisation. A focus on food was incidental— we just happened to be chefs and/or working in the culinary industry. Crossroads was an epistemological position before it was a cooking philosophy.

Today, we collaborate with architects, fashion designers, and visual artists to expand their practices with a detailed study of cross-cultural interaction and influence.