SW9 – Brixton – Sorry, No Vacancies

Sorry, No Vacancies – if you can find it (because believe me, it’s further and more hidden down Brixton Road than you think) – is located at number 378. The door in the parade of shops – just a little past Morley’s – eventually catches your eye as it’s the last bastion of light (or so it seems) before you hit Kennington. Of all the gin joints in Brixton, we found it!

Classic Magarita

Classic Margarita – old habits die hard!

Priorities / common sense mean the Welshman and I get the cocktails in first. Determined not to be the creature of habit I usually become when I go to new places, I opt for a Californian Sunrise in the hope the gin, Aperol and lillet rouge, topped with San Pellegrino aranciata rossa, casts me to Venice Beach, or at the very least a state of intoxication in which I can dream of the sand, sea and the rest. My tongue always deserves the bitterness; there’s no chance I’m opting for a sickly sweet cocktail. That I cannot abide. Lord also knows why I’ve added the Margarita photo first. I had that next, and while we’re on the subject – that’s more like it! Margaritas are my favourites, and not being a cocktail girl at heart (beer and wine only, and a distinct lack of nail varnish), I slug it down like no tomorrow.

Why are Margaritas always so small?!

Both the Margarita and Californian Sunshine were both more than quaffable. If you go out for cocktails with the girls on a Friday, have dates on Wednesday evenings in low-lit trendy places, you’ll be drawn to Sorry, No Vacancies.

Priority number two: hotdogs!

*Insert wurst pun here*

*Insert wurst pun here*

The hotdogs were pretty suave. Doughy bread (in good way) were filled to the brim with onions, and the dog itself was *oh yes*. The chef responsible for such a mealy hotdog (consider it substantial enough for dinner) is Chris Gillard – the man from St John’s Restaurant. I’ve since heard that they’ve also added a vegetarian option too, if you swing that way.

Californian  Sunshine, in Brixton

Californian Sunshine, in Brixton

Alas, we see a picture of Californian Sunrise, which I was banging on about earlier…the dimly lit bar and red down lighting ensured my photos were sufficiently poor quality enough to put a strong sepia filter on them. American beers also proliferated the drinks menu. The Welshman opted for Brooklyn, which was served by the bottle.

The bar at Sorry, No Vacancies

The bar at Sorry, No Vacancies

Cocktails are priced at the standard rate you’d expect the in London Town,  around the £6-7 mark or just a little over. The decor is dim, 70s, pop-up like (it’s a pop up). Not over enthralling and highly predictable. What was pretty cool though was the upstairs duplex bit, and the cywch (Welsh word, Google it) in the back which is more than passable for a small gathering. Otherwise, I feel it’s a tad lacking in atmosphere.

Sorry, No Vacancies runs from November until January.

378 Brixton Road
London
SW9 7AW

I was invited by Sorry, No Vacancies to sample the menu and cocktails.

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SW3 – Chelsea – L’Eto Caffe

Simple ingredients cooked well don’t need a great deal of introduction.

Burrata and tomatoes

Burrata and tomatoes

To start, I ordered burrata with Toscana olive oil and seasonal tomatoes. The mozzarella shell yielded to my fork – and the cream did flow. Tomatoes and cheese are God’s way (said even as an agnostic) of saying a human’s diet is to consist and dine on both vegetable and animal – sour tomatoes and creamy cheese, a combination parallel to ambrosia (even if the elixir credentials are not quite as comparable). It was, yes, incredibly simple, but all credit to L’Eto – it was simply divine.

Crab and avocado salad

Crab and avocado salad

The crab and avocado salad with soy and lime dressing, did also deliver. Zesty, zingy – you know what lime tastes like – was matched rather damn well with the soy and creaminess of the crab and avocado. A beautiful tower was presented on the (gorgeous) plates – the crab flaked with the texture of rice and submerged itself underneath the dressing; ready to be scooped and siphoned into the Welshman’s mouth. I also had a good go at it too.

12oz Côte de Boeuf Steak

12oz Côte de Boeuf Steak

Steak, cooked medium rare was also flavoursome, well seasoned and wholesomely presented with a selection of roasted vegetables and a few radishes. Only slight, and slight being very much emphasised, was that the cut wasn’t as tender as it could have been. But let’s not linger on this point.

Côte de Boeuf

Côte de Boeuf

Rib eye steak close up

Close up!

Gnocci with toasted almonds and rocket…I told you this menu was simple! Buttery, moreish (moreish – despite the fact I could probably hazard a guess at how many grams of butter, to the first decimal place, was in there). Not floury, not hard, not plasticky, but succulent, incredible pristine flavours and the insatiable sensation of wanting to shove it all in your mouth at once.

gnocci with toasted almonds and rocket

Gnocci with toasted almonds and rocket

gnocci with toasted almonds and rocket

Gnocci with toasted almonds and rocket

gnocci with toasted almonds and rocket

Gnocci with toasted almonds and rocket

I did not order dessert, but I can comment on the wine. In my youth I would never have claimed that the shape (nor material) of the vessel from which one drank would have affected the flavour of the solution of which one drank. Well it bloody well does. L’Eto have beautiful, ‘correct’, glasses which served our respective choices of a Merlot and Malbec between the Welshman and I. Good wine; good food.

L'Eto deli's aubergine salad

L’Eto deli’s aubergine salad

Although I didn’t sample it, their buffet deli – I’m sure – would also be super for a lunch date.

L'Eto deli's potato & sugar snap salad on the deli

L’Eto deli’s potato & sugar snap salad on the deli

Waxed lyrical? Perhaps. But most enjoyable. Thank you L’Eto for inviting me.

149 King’s Road,
Chelsea,
London,
SW3 5TX
020 7351 7656