Guest Post: A Guide To Eating Out in Brixton Village

It’s ever so nice to hear other people’s experiences about eating out in the area, so as you can imagine I was really pleased when Natalie from South London Blog got in touch to let me know her thoughts about Brixton Village. Here’s her run down of places to go – whatever the occasion.

Brixton Village

Where to Start

Brixton Village has been rapidly growing in size both with its increasing popularity and with new premises springing up regularly. Having lived in Brixton for a year I made it my mission to eat my way round the village, this constant growth has meant that despite my best efforts I haven’t quite managed this, although on the plus side it means I have more new places to try!

From the vast array I have tried here’s my rundown of the top spots to visit in Brixton Village:

For Lunch:

French & Grace – Serving delicious wraps packed full of halloumi or merguez, or both with tons of salad thrown in! French & Grace is great value for money and uses quality ingredients, a perfect lunch time eat!

You can read Natalie’s full review here.

pancake brickbox

Brick Box – Specialising in both sweet and savoury crepes Brick Box is a great spot to visit for lunch. A wide variety of toppings can adorn your savoury pancake from chorizo to spinach and my particular favourite, a fried egg!

BYO:

Elephant – Pakistani street food served from this tiny kitchen with seating spilling out into the market. The menu is small but this just makes the meal decisions easier and everything I tried was delicious.

Koh Sarn – Popular Thai eatery, booking ahead is definitely recommended as this place is always packed. Tasty menu of classic Thai dishes with ample outdoor seating.

Drinks:

Seven – Although Seven does serve food, and tasty tapas at that, you really go here for the drinks and the atmosphere. Cocktails are all at £5 pounds and these are unique and frequently updated. There’s a small selection of Spanish wine which is again good value as is the Spanish bottled beer on offer. Make sure to check out the upstairs area where the walls have been decorated by local artists.

Patatas bravas, Seven at Brixton

Patatas bravas, Seven at Brixton

Wishbone – Fast food at its trendiest this is the South London offering from the people behind Meat Liquor and Meat Market, and this time they’ve ditched burgers in favour of fried chicken. If you want a quick bite in trendy surroundings then Wishbone is worth a visit and what’s more they have a great drinks offering. From hobo beer to design your own sourz, to my personal favourite, spiced rum and ginger beer!

Three Courser:

Cornercopia – A constantly changing menu made with local ingredients, Cornercopia is at the high end of Brixton Village eating. It’s also one of the few places you would want to go to for a full three courser. Book ahead and go with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed.

Quick Eats:

Franco Manca – Sour Dough pizza cooked in stone fire ovens, what more could you want? How about good value wine and fresh salad? You got it! Be prepared to queue although despite the size it does move quickly.

Honest Burger – In light of the horse meat scandal Honest Burger really come into their own. Tasty burgers made with quality meat and all served with the house chips that are amazing and flavoured with rosemary salt.

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SW2 Brixton – Curry Paradise – Restaurant review

I am not cool. I never have been and I never will be. I was a bit of a geek in school, and even if I did have a bit of a punk phase when I was 15, it was very much a bandwagon which I was tardy to board. I am so not cool; last week I mistook my friend’s record bag as a cool bag, and although she was mortified I had confused her expensive DJ-ing satchel for a vessel that keeps your sandwiches chilled, I brushed it off – not quite realising the extent of my faux pas.

How then have I come to live in Brixton? Food bloggers flock here, you’ll spot a couple of undercuts and NHS-style prescription glasses, and Brixton Village…where does one begin? You only have to look at this infographic which has been doing the rounds on the t’interwebs.

London’s hipster neighbourhoods

I love the wave of Brixton Village restaurants which have ingeniously captured the gastronomic imaginations of this big city; quick, street-side food which relies on simple well-thought out ingredients. It’s not expensive, and great food is accessible to all. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes its bloody marvelous to eat in a place which you’ve been able to book, and where you can sit down on a chair (as opposed to an old beer crate). But it is not that cool is it? Normally one has to go to Clapham for that sort of thing (chairs).

I also found myself heading back to Battersea for a decent curry. You know, like a proper curry. There didn’t seem to be anywhere in Brixton which would fit the bill, everything is – you know –  a bit trendy. Heading up Brixton Hill though there is Curry Paradise. It has such a terrible name that I’d forgive you for not even registering it as a place to eat in Brixton, but perhaps that is something we can address in this blogpost?

Curry Paradise sits on Brixton Hill just below the monstrosity that is the South Beach Bar…yeah you know the building! It’s very pleasant inside (Curry Paradise – I’ve never been in the bar – the BOGOF offer on rose wine bottles has not drawn me in, yet). There’s no neon lighting, and I’d go so far to say that although it’s quite contemporary it’s reasonably cozy.

Our waiter was diligent and blooming friendly – two thumbs up for service. Let’s not beat around the bush; Curry Paradise has everything on the menu that you’d expect from a curry house. I ordered a king prawn channa (medium, mixed spice dish with chickpeas). It never claimed to be super hot (how I eat my curries) so I had to ask for a few fresh chilies on the side, but that’s by the by. This was the second occasion that I had been to the restaurant. The first time was unexpectedly delicious (What! I can get a decent curry in Brixton? ).  This time round I’d say my dish was too oily, which was a bit of a shame as I hadn’t remembered my previous dish being like that. The other complaint I had was that they didn’t include whole king prawns in the dish; they had been halved. I think it is always wise the err on the generous side in curries, don’t you? The ingredients were however very fresh – spices can’t always hide a multitude of sins. Yeah, I’m looking at you Brick Lane.

The Welshman’s lamb pasanda (leave him alone, he can’t take the heat) however, was very flavoursome, and the creaminess was nicely counterbalanced with some piquancy.

I never order rice with curry, and a decent naan for me can make or break the night. Curry Paradise’s naans are very soft, spongy and I know it’s a ridiculous think to say – quite bread like. They don’t top the scale as the best peshwari naans I’ve ever had, but they weren’t too sweet and were buttery and moreish.

Take Curry Paradise as you will. If you fancy a reasonable quality curry that delivers (in more than the literal sense), then it will leave you feeling more than satisfied as long as you are not expecting anything fancy. The ingredients are wholesome and there are even chairs too!

PS. No photos. Not even Instagram can make a curry look that desirable (it was too dark)!

Curry Paradise on Urbanspoon

My Food Week in pictures – A farewell lunch, Brixton style

When you’ve been friends with someone for so long, regardless of how diligent you both are at keeping in contact, you’re always going to feel a little tug on those strings which are, apparently, attached to a frosty cardiac muscle in the centre of your thoracic cavity (my scenario anyway).

My friend leaves Wednesday, having been so close to me in south London, for the Wild West – Portland, Oregon. Having a terrible geographical knowledge of US States (c’mon, they’d never be able to point out where Brixton is on a map) I couldn’t tell you if it is actually the Wild West – you know – with cowboys and all. They still have them, right?

The second farewell I bid this week was another westward escape. This time to Wales; land of bara brith, laverbread, and Welsh cakes (posted a sneaky link to Debs’ site. Hers are, quite frankly, the dog’s proverbials).

Because I need great content for my blog, and, because I love my friend (notice the ordering of that sentence) I invited some of my closest mates for lunch (dinner – nudge to the northerners). All I need is a film crew and I’m basically your next Naked Chef (I throw roughly chopped food into the pan from great heights too y’know).

Pukka.

A farewell dinner which would not be forgotten had to include some of Brixton’s finest produce. Seemed only fair since I had directed the party all the way up Brixton Hill. My cooking of late is naturally following the nature of the weather; increasingly inspired by spring. Elderflower and apple spritzers started us off, with some of my favourite olives on the side – nocerella. If you’ve never had them before and are a fan of olives in all forms, please try them. Bright green (like giant peas) and unusually round (like giant peas), they are a lot less salty than your average green olive, have a fleshy texture and nutty flavour.

I served up two whole sea bass between five of us, stuffing it with mint, basil, parsley, and lemon slices. I really don’t understand people who don’t like to see the animal they’re about to eat whole. I demand to know what I’m eating, which is why I always ask my fishmonger to just clean and gut the fish. Plus, the bones and head keep all the divine juices inside, retaining the fish’s moisture. Dust the skin with a reasonable layer of sea salt and I can promise that you will be fighting for leftover pieces of skin from the plates of the fusspots.

Sea bass from Brixton Village

Offering the carbohydrates for the meal was a large portion of kisir (I may have made too much) – a Middle Eastern dish made principally with bulgur wheat, parsley, and tomato paste. I used a recipe I spotted about three years ago in the Guardian by one of my favourite columnists and chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi. I needed to add more chilli from the original recipe, and I preferred my bulgar wheat a little softer, so I added more water. It’s a beautiful traffic light platter when all is done and dusted, but I can tell you finding pomegranate molasses when your bastion of hope (Brixton Wholefoods) have run out of stock, can be a little unnerving an hour before your guests arrive. Luckily A&C Co Delicatessen saved my bacon, and my kisir, incidentally.

Ottolenghi's Kisir

Ottolenghi's Kisir

And the rest of the week…well just a quick one about a fabulous and entertaining cheese and wine evening at Entrée restaurant, on Battersea Rise. The event was hosted by their new restaurant manager, Chloe Gounder-Forbes. She’s a bit of a cheesy star having been on the judging panel of the British Cheese Awards – she knows her stuff.

Cheese Board at Entree

SW2 – My food week in pictures – Brixton Village

Happy Sunday everyone, and I’d like to give a warm welcome to the snow, snow which is purportedly reeking havoc on the England’s transport infrastructure. A warm welcome you say, surely that would melt said snow? Exactly. Now don’t get me wrong, I like the snow; what I can’t stand is the foreboding and doom from the newscasters tragically trying to make rolling news, well, roll, on BBC News 24. The headline story is the 5cm of snow that has hit central London. With no sense of irony the next story is the minus 33 degrees which has killed countless Ukrainian homeless in Kiev. Anyway folks, I apologise for the rant, and just to prove that I do actually like the this festive weather, I’ve included a picture of Brockwell Park in the snow.

Back to important, and food-based matters now. One blogpost per week is going to be dedicated to ‘my food week’ in pictures. Obviously writing a food blog means that I have some sort of interest in food. This interest manifests itself with symptoms like compulsive restaurant attendance, a weird affliction of hanging around markets, stalking local producers, and drooling at delicatessens’ windows. Do you have this condition too? I’ve heard the only cure is calories. So anyway, one post will include a selection of photos of places I’ve eaten at, dishes I might well have cooked, and anything which is vaguely consumable which I’ve clapped eyes on.

This week I stayed in SW2 and headed to thefamiliar Brixton Village, concentrating mostly on the fresh produce on offer.

There’s also just one food experience which I’d like to share with you – and that’s the brandy snap. A lovely friend of mine was kind enough to invite me around for dinner this weekend, and to finish off the most delicious and authentic paella I’ve had to date, was this lovely brandy snap, which I ‘snapped’ for posterity.