Halo Burger – Pop Brixton

49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ

https://www.haloburger.co.uk/

Opening hours:
Mon-Thurs: 12noon – 10pm
Friday – Saturday: 12noon – 11pm
Sunday: 12noon – 10pm

This is a burger joint unlike any other – no cows were involved in their production as they are vegan. It’s in Pop Brixton, on the ground floor and down the aisle on the left as you go in. It looks much like any other take-away food joint, with some stools to sit on if you want to eat in. Continue reading

Max and Taff’s at Brockwell Blend

Address: Brixton Blend, 19 Tulse Hill, Brixton, London SW2 2TH

Reservations: maxandtaffs@gmail.com

On Thursday and Friday (6.30 to 10.30 pm) but only until the end of July there’s this pop-up at Brixton blend. It describes itself as South London’s premier Vegan, Asian Fusian, Pasta Makers. Really hard to live up to but THEY DO. Interesting food, not expensive and great wine. Oops not much to write about now … but I’ll try. .

The menu is short, organised and requires little regret, as everyone can choose something. There are two starters – crunchy red cabbage slaw (with sesame and other seeds) and smacked cucumber (with chilli and other bits) – we chose both. They were definitely crunchy and the smacked cucumber is spicy but not blowing your head off hot. They woke up our sleepy tastebuds.

Then there are two two types of pasta as mains. The first is Cavatelli (small pasta shells from eggless semolina dough) with two toppings: sweet tomato, Chinese cabbage and sichuan pepper or squash, miso and pumpkin seeds. The second pasta is hand pulled noodles with either kale, spring onion and chilli oil or, the less daring, aubergine, cherry tomato and basil.

Max, the chef, makes everything fresh, so the dishes come one by one. So you get to share. The first to arrive was the pulled noodle with aubergine followed by the cavatelli with tomato, cabbage and pepper. In this restaurant pasta is definitely al dente. But the aubergine was comforting and the cavatelli with pepper gave a punch, but not as big a one as the chilli oil on the table.

We finished it all off with a chocolate truffle each –  orange and chilli (there is a theme). Both were the size of rocks.

The wine list has two whites and one red – we had the red, Pinot Nero – the most expensive at £32.50 a bottle. The bill came to 52.50 including the wine and without a tip so you can see the teetotaller would get a bargain. Go now before they close down for the summer.

Maremma

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36 Brixton Water Lane, London, SW2 1PE

Tel no: 020 3186 4011

email: info@maremmarestaurant.com

Internet: https://www.maremmarestaurant.com/

This is a new joint in town, near to Naughty Piglets and Hottananny in an area that seems to have had a peppered history of restaurants opening and closing. But this one seemed to be booming after just a couple of weeks of a soft launch. By booming we need to stress – book in advance. We went at lunchtime on Saturday and were lucky to find a perch. Maremma is on a corner, where the Montego Inn used to be, so has lots of light, but of course, there is only so much room for a bar and tables. They have squeezed in additional seating with bar style counter seats that are fine, as long as there are only two in the party. Downstairs offers more traditional style dining with tables and chairs. Bare tables and tops but linen napkins, so you know this place will be expensive.

The name Maremma is chosen after an unspoilt region of Tuscany and the restaurant offers regional and seasonal specialties, including fresh pasta.  There are starters (vegetarian and meat options), primi (mainly pasta) and secundi (larger plates). We chose a starter and primi and were so stuffed we couldn’t even consider the desserts. Our starters were octopus and fava puree and beef battuta (like beef tartar). The octopus was nice and charred mostly, although the fat end was a little chewy, and the beef needed a little salt which came in a small pot.

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Next we had the squid risotto and a regional specialty of a chickpea pancake with three different kinds of artichoke. The risotto was brilliant – with plenty of seafood and the addition of the lemon zest a particular joy. The chickpea pancake was “interesting” and most was eaten. The garlic chips were really tasty but the artichoke hearts came with some very hard leaves making it impossible to cut and most was left on the side (a complaint to the waitress produced no response from the kitchen, but it is early days). We added a bread selection – the foccacia was very good and a side dish of spinach.

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Water came straight away and there was a choice of still or sparkling.We washed everything down with a carafe of Tuscan wine (375ml or half a bottle). There was a good choice at very reasonable cost. Our bill for two people came to £86.08 including service. They helpfully divide the bill to show what each guest should pay on the bill, which prevents the rush to the phone calculator. It was expensive for lunch but we would return for dinner. The food was good but we are not raving about it until we have tasted more.

Canova Hall revisited

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address: 250 Ferndale Road SW9 2BQ

telephone: 020 7733 8356

email: bookings@canovahall.com

https://www.canovahall.com/

We really want to like Canova Hall. The idea of having a local brasserie style place for casual dining, or just a morning cup of coffee, has a lot of appeal. But they do make it difficult, leaving on one side issues of gentrification, as it’s simply not as good as it ought to be.

We’ve been a number of times – see here, here and even here for a bacon sandwich. But our reaction has generallly been lukewarm at best. But hope springs eternal, so it seemed the right place to take a stranger to Brixton for a working lunch. See our earlier reviews for a more detailed description, but there’s plenty of space, despite its clear popularity for as a place to work over a cup of coffee. Based on this visit it looks like that they operate a fairly relaxed policy on how long they tolerate the time spent over a single coffee.

There’s no doubt that it did suit our purpose on this occasion. There’s plenty of room when we went around 1:00 pm; not too noisy, there’s a reasonable choice of popular dishes focussing on pizzas and pasta; and there’s no attempt to rush you out the door. We weren’t in a hurry, so the relaxed service we’ve found on previous visits was not a problem.

We both went for pasta, choosing the truffle tagliatelle (Gorgonzola, walnuts, mushrooms, truffle oil, pink peppercorns, salsa di noci and thyme) and the spicy ragu tagliatelle (Sicilian sausage & ‘nduja ragu, ricotta and parmesan). The spicy ragu was eaten enthusiastically, down to the last scrap. The truffle, as on a previous occasion, was a bit harder going as, while it’s tasty, it’s on the dry side, so some was left.

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As it was a work meeting we avoided alcohol but enjoyed their strawberry and mint sodas, although deprecating the continued use of plastic straws.

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So, it served our purpose at a cost of £39.37, including 12.5% service. Not very expensive but more than I want to spend for a regular lunch. Nevertheless, I’m sure we will be back, as it does offer the right space and the environment that isn’t really available elsewhere in Brixton. I just find it less than it could be. And, by the way, if you do want a bacon sandwich I can recommend the reopened Cafe Max, one of the first returnees in the newly renovated arches in Brixton Station Road.

Sam’s Cafe

Sams01Address: 85 Acre Lane, Brixton, London SW2 5TN

Telephone: 020 7274 4215

Opening times:
Monday to Friday – 6.00am to 4:30 pm
Saturday – 7:00am to 3:30pm
Sunday – Closed

Some of us might remember and miss the Goya, here in Acre Lane. But now it’s one of closest things Brixton now has to what’s called a greasy spoon, with formica tables and plastic chairs. Definitely for early risers and those wanting a hearty lunch, as it opens around 6.00 am most days and closes at 4.30 pm. The menu is on the wall and is a mixture of breakfast and lunch dishes, with a focus on carbs and fat. Just right for a wicked interlude in an otherwise blameless dietary intake. There is a daily special but we missed it and instead ordered liver and bacon with chips and peas, and sausage, mash and peas.

The portions are huge and the sausage was fatty and salty as you would expect. But the liver was a bit of a let down – a bit too much like cardboard. The bacon was great, however. The mashed potato and gravy were also a hit and better than some in high end restaurants. We both left most of the peas – all we can say is that they looked like peas.

sams03sams02It was all very great value, as the bill came to only £17, including a cup of tea and a Coca Cola. Next time we go we will order a bacon sandwich – see our review here.

Beb’s Kitchen

Address: 126 Acre Ln, Brixton, London SW2 5RJ

Phone: 074 4882 8139

Google Maps Link: https://goo.gl/maps/oPTGNrnJayj

Opening hours: ring for details

This restaurant is closed in the evening and we discovered the hard way that it is closed all day Monday as well. So we iterated to a Friday lunchtime and were surprised and very pleased we made the effort. It’s a bit hidden behind the bus shelter half way along Acre Lane and is an Indian which serves Goanese food. So plenty of coconut, as well as the usual chili and coriander. We only went in for a snack but ended up with a feast. Continue reading

Knife

Address: 160 Clapham Park Road, SW4 7DE London

Telephone: 020 7627 6505

Website: https://kniferestaurant.co.uk/

Opening hours:
Wednesday to Saturday: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Sunday: 12 noon – 4:30pm

We were unsure about this restaurant, mainly because we didn’t like the name – sounded creepy. But we overcame our fears and headed out early on Friday night. But not early enough, as the place was already very full even by 7.00pm. So booking at the end of the week is essential. They describe themselves as offering “Serious Steaks & Sunday Roasts” and their USP is serving ethically sourced meat. They do have a veggie option, but I wouldn’t advise it as there would still be bloody corpses on adjoining tables. It’s small and intimate (read closely packed) and dark – hence the quality of the photos. Continue reading