Etta’s Seafood Kitchen

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Address: Unit 46 Brixton, Village, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9

Phone: 020 7737 1673

Email: info@ettaskitchen.com

Website: http://www.ettasseafoodkitchen.com/

Opening Hours:

12:00pm – 6:00pm (Tues, Weds, Sun)

12:00pm – 11:00pm (Thurs – Sat)

This is an update as we have visited Etta’s a couple of times and our views have gone up and down. See here for our review in 2013 and here for our review in 2011. This is our first time since there was a change of décor and a change of menu.

It’s still in the same double unit in Sixth Avenue in Brixton Village and still painted outside in pastel blue. So what has changed inside. Gone is the kitsch mural of the seaside and now it is all black and white – although the chairs are still multi-coloured. We have the very small napkins but now they are presented in a little black paper sleeve, together with a knife and fork. The menu has also changed with items that imply more finesse and we were assured that it also changes regularly.

Service has not changed. It is cheery, helpful and as laid back as before.

The menu is still focussed on fish but now includes a wider variety of starters including ackee soup (ackee is the Jamaican national fruit although it is eaten as a vegetable in ackee and saltfish) and the menu describes this soup as coming with salt fish flakes, sweet peppers and crispy croutons. Then there is crispy calamari, garlic peppered prawns and marinated tuna. The ackee soup can be ordered without saltfish for the sole veggie option.  There are four salad options and then the mains have spaghetti, risotto, fish soup and confit cod. The veggie option is sweet potato and pumpkin curry. We did miss the superb battered fish in Etta’s tasty batter.

They now serve alcohol – red, white and fizzy wine by the glass or bottle – as well as a few rum based drinks.

We chose the ackee soup, the confit cod and the fish curry. We are sorry to report that we were disappointed with every dish. The soup is an interesting idea but it tasted as if the saltfish had not been adequately soaked and so was too salty. The rice and peas that came with the fish curry was also over-salted and the potato and leek cream under the confit cod was bland and cold. We guess there were lots of interesting flavours in all the dishes we chose but they were simply swamped. We came out desperate for more water, even though we had drunk a whole carafe plus a glass of lemonade. and the salty taste in our mouths lasted for several hours.

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We have to admit to being cowards. The staff are so attentive but we couldn’t tell them our verdict, except to mention rather feebly that the soup was a bit salty. Clearly the chef’s taste buds are not like our own but you can add salt to taste but you can’t take it out. We hope that this was an unfortunate one-off and that others will have more luck, but I am afraid we are unlikely to visit again any time soon.

The bill was modest at less than£30.00 (sorry, we’ve lost the bill) for three dishes and a glass of lemonade (it is dry January!).

The Chip Shop

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address: 378 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LF  (on the corner with Atlantic Road)

tel: 07894 353561

email: info@chipshopbxtn.co.uk

website: http://www.chipshopbxtn.com/#!home/c9l

Opening hours:

Tuesday to Thursday: 11:30pm – 3pm / 6pm – 11:30pm

​Friday to Sunday: 10am to 11:30pm

​Monday CLOSED

I suspect our readers have made New Year Resolutions about increased physical activity, weight reduction and are perhaps even partaking in Dry January. But there is no chance of fulfilling any resolutions if you go to Chip Shop this month.

This new restaurant opened in the first week of November and is already pulling in the punters. It was opened by the people who own The Brixton Village Grill in Brixton Village. They sell…. wait for it … fish and chips but this is not the usual takeaway (although you can take it away if you want to). It labels itself as a hip hop chip shop and we can vouch for the steady stream of music which definitely does not stay in the background. Small and perfectly formed tables of two, three or four allow for reasonable conversation.

The menu has the usual cod and haddock but then it also has sea bass, monkfish, lobster and specials like swordfish. We chose a starter between the two of us – scallops with chorizo on a bed of samphire, which was easily enough for two.The scallops were cooked as they should be and the samphire wasn’t  woody but still had a good crunch.

To follow we had a special – swordfish – and the fishcake. Most of the mains, although not the fishcake,  come with two of the following: rice, chips and salad. We watched the monkfish and chorizo for other diners come by on skewers hung upside down and a really large lobster but our meal proved to be more than a match for the “show”.

The swordfish, which is a meaty fish anyway, was also enough for two, especially with the salad and chips plus some beans we had ordered as a side.cs05

The salmon and haddock fishcake was of the same size and it doesn’t come with chips, although it really needs an accompaniment to make it interesting. Perhaps it would be better as a lunch dish and, anyway, it now seems to have disappeared from the menu..cs04

We fitted in a shared dessert of pannetone bread and butter pudding. This was not up to the standard of the other parts of the meal as it was a hefty slab – no lightness that you would have expected from the pannetone. Clearly it was chilled and then heated and perhaps they need to consider another option. If you ate this for lunch you would be asleep all afternoon. The cheesecake or the sticky toffee pudding might have been better choices.

cs02We washed it all down with tap water and a Sangres beer. The total bill for two was £42.65, before adding a tip and we thought this was value for money. We had really good food, the service was attentive and we came out really full. We ate at 8.00pm but by 9.00pm it was very full, so choose your time carefully. We will be back, with the £20 whole grilled lobster a likely target.

Spend Christmas 2015 in Brixton

You may have started buying what you need to celebrate Christmas, but here’s our advice on how you might get through this festive season without leaving Brixton. The ingredients of a good season for our family include decorating the house, plenty of booze and a good Christmas dinner, with the leftovers right up until New Year. Of course all the merriment is interspersed with the Christmas Eastenders, Dr Who, a few games on Boxing day and possibly a walk to Brockwell Park. It is now our 31st Brixton Christmas and so we do have things in the loft and under the bed that contribute to our traditions but there are always extra things we add each year. Continue reading

Three Little Birds

3LB03address: 412 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF

Telephone: 020 7274 6655

email: hello@threelittlebirdsja.com

http://www.threelittlebirdsja.com/

Three Little Birds is another new restaurant opening in Coldharbour Lane, just down the road from the Masterchef Champion’s Japanese inspired restaurant, Nanban, and Shhh!, the newish Jamaican inspired burger bar. So it has competition. It’s worth looking at the website where we are told that this a bar inspired by Brixton’s cultural heritage and is the brainchild of ‘foodie entrepreneur’ and former Miss Jamaica Universe, April Jackson. She is a graduate of Columbia University and creator of ‘The Yummy Truth’ food blog and, until recently, an Apprentice contender. The restaurant is described as a café bar providing Jamaican fusion food. Continue reading

Khan’s of Brixton

ress:  24 Brixton Water Lane, London SW2 1PE

Telephone: 020 7326 4460

Booking on the website too:  http://www.khansbrixton.co.uk/

Yet another trip to Khan’s that we thought we would log. There is nearly always space here so as a last minute option it served us well. look at the other reviews for an overall picture. But in short this is a Punjabi and South Indian restaurant whose food is “colour free”.  It allows BYO and has no alcohol on site.

We chose (as we usually do) from the Khan’s specials, highly recommended part of the menu and this time did not over order. We also had poppadums while we waited. I thought I would be able to discern what we chose from the bill but this was like trying to read Sanskrit. So this is a general view of the food. It was spicy but not too much so on dishes that were not supposed to be. As usual you can also spot the subtleness of the flavours.

This is usually a budget meal – £45.30 for three – and we were very full when we left.

A short bus ride away 6. – The Zeret Kitchen

DISCLAIMER – aware the images are bad!

216-218 Camberwell Rd, London SE5 0ED
020 7701 8587

http://zeretkitchen.com/

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The visit to The Zeret Kitchen was a spontaneous one (a decision made after an afternoon spent at The Sun in Camberwell with plenty of red wine and ale consumed) but as it is considered a bus ride away we can thankfully blog about it. Bus of choice is the 35 by the way.

Continue reading

Kumasi Market

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3rd Avenue

27-28 Brixton Village

SW9 8PR

020 7737 6277

Kumasi is a city in Ghana and the capital of Ashanti. It gives its name to Kumasi Market in Brixton Village, one of a trio of stores in Third Avenue selling mainly food and goods from West Africa. Together with the African Queen Fabric store, it’s like a little bit of Africa in the heart of Brixton. I have intended for some time to cover one of these stores in our series of posts on food shops in Brixton but I always found them a bit daunting. The dried and smoked fish is particularly exotic. However, I’ve occasionally chatted to the shopkeepers, and found that they are really helpful in explaining what they have on offer.

So, the intention in these posts is to buy the ingredients at a Brixton store and to make a typical meal. As we have reported before, we have been to Ghana and enjoyed the Ghanaian food at May Foods – see the report here – but this has been my first attempt at actually cooking the food. It has been more of a challenge, as many of the key ingredients are less familiar to those of us with a European background. This is particularly true of the key part of any true Ghanaian meal, the carbohydrate.

The dish I’ve gone for is chicken in peanut sauce served with banku and spinach. I’ve used an amalgam of different recipes. All of the main ingredients have come from Kumasi Market, apart from the chicken which came from Jones the Butcher.

The ingredients for the chicken in peanut sauce are: 1 kilo of chicken (legs, thighs and wings are best); 3 tbsp vegetable oil; 1 large onion, chopped; a 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced; 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly; 1 kilo of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks; 1 can of chopped tomatoes; 1 litre chicken stock; 1 cup groundnut paste/peanut butter; 1 cup peanuts, roasted; 1 tbsp ground coriander; 1 teaspoon cayenne; Salt and ground black pepper; and lots of chopped coriander as a garnish. Most of the heat in the dish, and in an authentic version there’s plenty, comes from the ground black pepper. I

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The first step is to brown the chicken and put to one side. Then fry the onions, adding the spices when it has softened. Finally you put everything in the same pot and stew until the chicken and sweet potato is all cooked – check after an hour. After it cooled a bit I removed the bones but this is a matter of taste. The finished article probably benefits from being left to stand for a while, before reheating. You can garnish with lots of coriander.

The accompaniments were banku and spinach. The banku is balls of fermented dough and takes a bit of getting used to, as well as being hard work to make. I did make my own, with a mixture of readymade cassava and corn dough bought from Kumasi and it was an education in itself. However, my tip is to buy it readymade from May Foods in Market Row. It should also be understood that the term spinach applies to almost any green leaves. I just chopped and washed mine and fried it in garlic infused oil.

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Everyone enjoyed the chicken and spinach but views were mixed on the banku. We found a little goes a long way. It would be good with rice of course.