Pop Brixton

49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ
020 7274 2902

IMG_2652(This was taken just before it opened)

A couple of weeks we were invited down for a taster session at the newly opened Pop Brixton to find out what we can expect from the latest foodie venture in our beloved town.

Described as a “pioneering new space created with the local community in mind to showcase the best and most exciting independent start-ups and businesses from Brixton and Lambeth” this place hasn’t appeared without its criticisms. However in terms of bringing a whole host of new faces to the restaurant community in the now go-to London food destination it is very welcomed by us. And we were actually quite impressed. One thing to note is that even though they had in mind to keep all the vendors local I’m not sure how much of the customers are… For more information on the project, check out their website here.

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A short bus ride away No 2 – Hood (Streatham)

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address: 67 Streatham Hill, London SW2 4TX

Tel: 0.0 36013320

website: hoodrestaurants.com

email: info@hoodrestaurants.com

This is a the second post in our new venture of writing about where to go for that special celebration, a birthday, anniversary or even wedding breakfast. But we still want to make it local and most are only a 20 minute walk from the middle of Brixton, or only a short bus ride if you have already done your 10,000 steps that day.

Hood is a family run restaurant that was crowd funded by family and friends. It serves modern British food from seasonal British ingredients. There is a provenance map on the wall of the restaurant so you can see where the food and drink comes from and it concentrates on very local. The clean and simple interior has matching tables and primary coloured chairs and we can attest to the comfort as we spent a good three hours sitting in them.

The short menu has 4 starters, 6 mains and three desserts and as we were a foursome we could try lots of them. Two of us chose kidneys and cauliflower with raisin and caper sauce which we decided were the best kidneys we had eaten ever. The others chose beetroot and horseradish cured salmon, buttermilk and rye and Crispy pork rillettes with apple, shallots and sage cream – both being delicious and, as you can see just by the description, really interesting with every bite and a pretty picture.

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For the main course we had pan fired sea bream with asparagus, roast rump of lamb with pea and wild garlic croquette and broad bean and feta relish and finally slow roast pork belly with bubble and squeak. We had an extra portion of new potatoes but they were not really needed. All were really good and every plate except mine was wiped clean. I liked every bite of the pork belly but the portion was just too much for my appetite.

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For dessert there was cheese but that seemed too hefty for any of us so we had the lemon posset with shortbread, a dark chocolate tart and strawberry snap, cackle and pop. The lemon possets were small delicate cream pots with a thin layer of strongly flavoured lemon jelly on top – just enough. The dark chocolate tart was slim and shiny and strong and slightly bitter – just as it should be. The strawberries were sandwiched between layers of Rice Krispies which were on top of marshmallow so very sweet and gooey.

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We started the meal with beer and wine. The list of beers is long with bottles from the Brixton Brewery, Partizan, Gypsy Hill Brewery and others. They come with their strength advertised which is important as some are 7.1%. We had a porter which tasted  – just like its description – of caramel, and a Pale Ale which was a good foil – a light and slightly bitter long drink. We interspersed our drinking with tap water  which was freely offered. We also had a French Malbec which was described as  having “a warming & smooth richness and well balanced” which it definitely was. With dessert there was a decaf Americano and a  glass of dessert wine.

We really enjoyed this meal. There was of course the good company but we could talk without having to shout and the waiting staff were helpful and didn’t push us out too quickly. The bill was celebration size (£180) but it was for four people with three courses, wine and sundries. We thought it was better than anything currently in Brixton and we would most certainly return for another celebration meal.

Courtesan – Female Only Wine List

Check out our update review here

address: 69-73 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU

telephone: 0208 127 8677

http://www.thecourtesan.co.uk/

Last week we were invited down to one of our dinner staples, Courtesan for a brindisi to celebrate the launch of their first female-only wine list. Through my very hazy memory (there was a lot of alcohol consumption!) their reasoning behind the launch was that they wanted to highlight the rise in female wine makers in the world. Plus apparently a trhird of women are ‘super tasters’, meaning we are the bomb when it comes to pairing up flavours. Plus as dim sum is one world’s oldest cuisines, all about decadence and flavour, what better food to pair it with. It’s also vital to note that a female chef, Fengjuan, took over the kitchen six months ago and has revitalised the dim sum based menu.

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Shrub and Shutter

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address: 336 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8QH

telephone: 020 7326 0643

info@shrubandshutter.co.uk

http://theshrubandshutter.com/

We have visited Shrub and Shutter a few times now but on this occasion booked a table for 7.00pm on election night to sit and hope that the polls were wrong. They were but at least we were suitably lubricated to face the 10.00pm news. We sat at the back of the bar/restaurant on the last week of their current menu so all may have changed.

Drinks as usual were amazing and we thought they should have tags to ensure some unwitting vegetarian didn’t end up with chicken skin or prawns in their drink. We chose the Wonka bar – essentially a Baileys but nicer – which had gin, ice cream, almond milk, chocolate soil, truffle gold and truffle bitters. it was sweet and I saved some for dessert.

My partner in crime chose an amazing cocktail which came with a plastic tube of scotch bonnet pepper sauce to add to the drink. We were warned of how hot it was however we were far too sensationalist when it came to our pain threshold and squeezed in the lot. So be warned and try it slowly, except for those who like a Vindaloo.

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We ate from the two courses for £18.00 menu and had a glass of wine. They had a Primitivo from Italy and a Spanish white – Verdejo. We both chose duck with gingerbread and shared some asparagus. The duck was amazing, we just wished there was more of it! The asparagus was fantastic with a creamy sauce, which we had to stop ourselves from licking off the plate. Then we chose cod with barley and broccoli and the lamb with carrots.  The cod was a large meaty fillet and was cooked just right. I haven’t had barley before but it tasted bouncy and the sauce gave it a bit of a lift. The young green veg was just enough to make you feel it was contributing to your 5 of the day but only just. The lamb and the Primitivo complimented each other perfectly.

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This place is still pretty pricey, with it all coming to £67 (we got 10% knocked off for living in Brixton) but in terms of the standard of food and drinks this isn’t just another overpriced place in Brixton but one you feel deserves the price tag.

A short bus ride away No. 1 – Peckham Bazaar (Peckham)

address: 119 Consort Road, London, SE15 3RU

telephone: 0207 732 2525

reservations@peckhambazaar.com and on opentable

http://peckhambazaar.com/

This is a new venture for us … writing about where to go for that special celebration, a birthday, anniversary or even wedding breakfast. But we still want to make it local and most are only a 20 minute walk from the middle of Brixton, or only a short bus ride if you have already done your 10,000 steps that day.

Peckham Bazaar  it a only a tiny restaurant, so is perhaps the more intimate evening than a celebration. In fact they don’t take reservations for more than 6 people but we think it is definitely putting on the shortlist for a special occasion. As with many restaurants the interior is eclectic – mismatched and sometimes wobbly tables fill the tiny space so you could, if you wanted,  join in many of the other diners’ conversations. The menu changes frequently but is generally described as a Balkan barbecue and although meat and fish are the main ingredients there are a few vegetarian options too.

Choosing from octopus, squid and scallops for starters was really tough and we ended up sharing octopus with white tarama and pickled vegetables which was so delicious we forgot to take any pictures. For the next course we chose the marinated quail and baba ganoush and slow roast lamb. All this produced a floor show at the grill with everyone moving around in dance sequences interspersed with a whoosh from the grill and a slow rising of blue smoke. Some of the spices and beans I had never heard of, let alone eaten, and they were wonderful – popping flavour into the mouth, a different one for each mouthful. The portions are also larger than most and filling with the addition of beans.

Pudding was of course baklava which came with rosewater ice cream – shared as we were both full on this weekday evening. The baklava was light and different again from the usual shop bought variety.

I have never had such interesting food that didn’t make me flinch or worry about what I was eating. It had a large sprinkling of pomegranate throughout and everything looked “normal” it is just the taste that wasn’t.

We washed it down with a glass of wine and the bill came to about £60.00 (we lost the bill…). They also provide a “feast menu” at about £32.00 per head without the wine. You will definitely need to book as this is a restaurant with a local reputation and is full most nights. They are open on Sunday evenings which makes a change and are only closed on Monday. In the summer there are a few tables out at the front to help with the overflow but while it is still chilly choose inside.

Orange Bay

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address: 30 Brixton Water Lane, Brixton, London SW2 1PE

telephone:  020 3417 0674

website: https://twitter.com/orangebaybrix

email: orangebaybrixton@gmail.com

This is a restaurant that has taken over from Brixton Space that closed some time ago – see link. This corner of Tulse Hill is getting a lot more attention with not one but two restaurants opening recently. Their next door neighbour, Naughty Piglets (see link), is getting a lot more attention. But this is a Jamaican/West Indian restaurant which describes itself as a sister company of Negril on Brixton Hill (see link) which is a long time favourite of ours. It concentrates on takeaway but also offers sit down meals. We have tried to go before but we couldn’t find their phone number and they say in one place that they have no booking service. Although all information on the web refers to opening times being from 6.oopm Tuesday to Sunday they weren’t open when we arrived at 7.10pm on a Tuesday. But we persisted and on a second try we were lucky.

The décor, much of which is carried over from Brixton Space, is 60s retro with metal chairs and a banquette with cushions and metal tables that wobble unless you spend some time propping them up with napkins. The service is assiduous and we were warned about the fire sauce.

We ordered the pumpkin curry, half a jerk chicken, rice and peas, rice and gunjo and coleslaw (both the last two came with the chicken) and a Carib and Red Stripe beer to wash it all down. They also provided tap water.

ob03The half a chicken was way too much – a quarter would be ample for a normal appetite. It comes with a variety of sauces, barbecue, jerk and “fire”in increasing levels of heat and they are not exaggerating about the fire. We were glad of the tap water.

ob04In contrast the pumpkin was mild and as tasty as pumpkin curry can be. But the favourite was the rice which has spices as well as peas and was really lovely to eat until the fire sauce anesthetised my palate.

This is a very friendly place to eat and we could have lingered for longer but thought we should get home for the next heat of Masterchef. The whole bill came to £32.60 which was good value as we left very full.

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/

Having failed to get to Orange Bay we decided to visit a nearby restaurant, Khan’s. We have already reviewed this restaurant and it hasn’t changed much. Look here for more details (LINK) but read this update. Again when we arrived it was completely empty except for the two waiters. But it did fill up over the next half an hour.

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