A short bus ride away – 3. The Dairy

Address: 15 The Pavement, London, Clapham SW4 0HY
Telephone: 020 7622 4165

http://the-dairy.co.uk/

We had heard so much about this restaurant that we really wanted to try it but you need to be determined as booking is tough. We decided to celebrate and event – a friend leaving his job for pastures new and so this was booked a long time in advance. This is a small restaurant spilling out onto the pavement (in two ways). There is a narrow bar that opens to a small set of tables and an open kitchen. The waiters are helpful when you catch their eye but it is loud so for a conversation you need to lean into the table. It’s also a bit dark, so apologies for the photographs.

To reduce the decision making we went for the tasting menu. There are four main courses (snacks, sea, land and dessert) and an optional cheese course. It is all too long to explain in any detail. Snacks come in the form of olives, eel and crispy anchovy but of special note is the smoked bone marrow butter and soughdough which comes hot in a little hessian bag.dairy02

The sea was skate in a dashi sauce with lemon and smoked eel with black garlic and onions. The descriptions are much better than this! We were really impressed by this course both were really different and even though we are not great fans of skate we finished every bit.dairy03

The land course was blackface lamb rump, smoked aubergine, pressed shoulder and miso. In this case whether it had a black face or not didn’t seem relevant and we were glad that they didn’t give it a name as well. But it was delicious.dairy04

At the dessert course we had choices – we chose apricot kernel panna cotta with green almonds and salted caramel with malted barley ice cream. The salted caramel was lovely.dairy05

We did enjoy the meal and the company. If it is an intimate dinner for two then go somewhere else. To impress a first date then this is definitely the place to go. Lots going on and lots to discuss. The bill was large – the tasting menu is £45.00. For four people the whole bill came to £313.30 including a couple of bottles of more expensive wine, an extra cheese course for three of us and 12.5% service charge …. so this is definitely somewhere special for a celebration.

Brixton’s Rock

Address: 118 Acre Lane, SW2 5RA https://twitter.com/brixtonsrock IMG_3043

A decent fish and chip take away is something that has been lacking in Brixton for a while. Don’t’ want to mention Olly’s in Herne Hill (oops) but it’s been our favourite for years. Only problem is it’s a bit of a trek away if you fancy a fish supper on a whim. Introducing Brixton’s Rock. With a branch already in Brockley this one is situated half way up Acre Lane, opposite Lidl. So last Friday, with Nan and Grandad paying us a visit, we decided it was time for a family take away. To be honest there isn’t much point describing the inside. It’s like any other fish and chip shop, although much more welcoming and attractive than some of the other take away joints on Acre Lane. It’s very silver and shiny.

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Granville Market Space

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Coldharbour Lane, (corner of Somerleyton Road)

Brixton, London, SW9 8Q

Open: every Saturday & Sunday

This market lies just opposite Brixton Village and the erstwhile laundry. It is hard to miss as it is in the open space in Coldharbour Lane with the famous anti-nuclear missile mural. It seems to be run by the same people as the night market and so isn’t so much a market as a set of food stalls, extending the offering of Brixton at the weekend.

gm05We visited on both a Saturday lunchtime and Sunday afternoon. There were about 6 food stall and two selling local beers and a lot of tables and chairs – a much better option than outside the Ritzy where there was nowhere to perch except some steps. It was of course sunny on our visit and all these open air venues look different under a grey sky but it was pleasant and well used. But we can’t say what food stall you will get as they changed between each visit.

gm04I ate an Aloo Roti (the veggie option of potatoes with a minty yoghourt dressing and one chili and coriander which was very hot). This came from the No 53 stall which has a bus on its logo. While I was waiting I learned a lot about skill development as one of the customers was receiving good advice from the chef about local options of courses. My partner chose lots of meat and some vegetables from another stall.

gm12There was another roti stall and on one visit tried the pulled pork roti – which was slightly sweet (as most of the food was). Beware the sauce gathers at the bottom and squirts as you get down to the last mouthfuls. Paella, a staple for Sunday lunch in Andalucía, was available, and on the same stall pasta and sauces. This one looked good but it we were too full to try.

gm13Definitely the best food came from the caravan selling burgers and other meat dishes. I chose belly pork with rocket and onion marmalade in an olive ciabatta. Not only was this enough for two but was a cut above everything else on offer. All meals are cooked to order and your Monterey jack on the burger is flamed to make it melt. They offer bacon and chili sauce as well as tomato. We will definitely revisit and, as the burger truck was around on both our visits, our readers should try it too.

gm14The beers on offer are mostly local with alcohol from 4% to 8% so buyer beware. We are sure that given the popularity of Brixton as a go to venue this place is going to be a godsend to those groups who can’t decide which restaurant to go to. This way all your mates can still sit together but try different cuisines. The cost is about £5.00 to £7.00 for a meal and a little less for alcohol depending on what type and which stall.

Lunch at the Satay Bar

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447 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LP

Telephone: 0844 474 6080

http://www.sataybar.co.uk/

I’m the member of the eatinbrixton team that works and lives in Brixton. For nigh on 25 years I’ve broken up my working day, two or three times a week, by having lunch out in the town centre. Originally the decision was straightforward. The places I liked were the original pizza place pre-Franco Manca, Gyoza, or Ichiban Sushi and, in various guises, there was the Satay Bar.

Now, of course, we are almost overwhelmed with good choices. From the favourites, Gyoza has just closed; Ichiban opens rarely for lunch and, while Franco Manca goes from strength to strength, I now find the calorie count too high except for an occasional treat. But the Satay Bar is still there and, despite the competition, it has now definitely become my favourite lunch spot. The food is seriously good; it’s comfortable with reasonable Wi-Fi to keep up with work. It is also great value for money.

I’m just writing about lunch at the Satay Bar. Evenings when it becomes a serious nightspot are totally different. Not bad, just different – see our report on their cocktails here. There’s a special lunchtime menu with all the south-east Asian favourites – see it here. My top choice is the Laksa, a spicy coconut and noodle based soup, offering a large bowl of tangy broth containing the right amount of heat (two chilli symbol on the menu).sg06

I would happily have the laksa on each visit but I’m pleased to report that the Thai Beef Salad, (again two chillies) is also excellent. Another highly rated dish is the Chicken version of the Sambal Jawa, which is an Indonesian stir fry with coconut, coriander, lemon grass, vegetables, sambal ulek and other spices.sg07

My only disappointment is Big Belly Phad Thai that I found a bit claggy. Maybe I hit a bad day but there are other places in Brixton where Phad Thai addicts can  do better.sg10

So I can strongly recommend the Satay Bar as the top choice for a good value lunch. I tend to drink tap water so the bill comes in at less than £10 for a substantial meal. Another notable distinction is the clientele. At lunchtime, but even more at night, the majority of the other customers have been black. I have often seen comments pointing out how white the diners are in most of the eating places in Brixton Village but the opposite is the case here. There is nothing about the food that explains the sharp difference in clientele – except the fact that they are discerning about good quality food.

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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