Oxalis at The Shrub and Shutter

Address: 336 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8QH.
Phone: 020 7326 0643
Websites:

Location: http://www.theshrubandshutter.com/

Food: http://www.oxalislondon.com/

Monday – closed
Tuesday 5pm – midnight
Wednesday 5pm – midnight
Thursday 5pm – midnight
Friday 5pm – 2am
Saturday 5pm – 2am
Sunday – closed

Our normal approach is to keep you in the dark about what we think about a restaurant but we are breaking with this practice to tell you that Oxalis (the current pop-up caterers at Shrub and Shutter) are brilliant and we are not usually so enthusiastic. It’s not complicated food but it is imaginative with a focus on flavour.

We have reviewed the cocktails before; see here, here and here. But on this hot and steamy night we went for wine and beer. There are lots of things to choose from but we cut out that difficulty by choosing one of the tasting menus. There are two – one veggie and one with meat. We had the meat option. On top of this we were given an “amuse bouche” (aren’t we posh) of a warm squid ink cracker with dark crab meat topped with a lardon. Now you get the way this is moving. It was delicious – so delicious that it was eaten before we could take a photo.

Then we moved on to the main menu – a delicious tomato salad with elderflower and mustard. I am soon going to run out of superlatives as it was the best thing to start us off – fresh with little bursts of mustard flavour. All four of us were delighted.

Fennel tortellini, poppy seeds and crayfish – even though these are tasting menu portions there was definitely enough crayfish. So just sublime with a crunch.

Pork, kohlrabi and sea buckthorn came next- sounds interesting and it was but also excellent.
The empty half of the plate left room for some vegetables; new potatoes and grilled gem lettuce as shown in the photographs, plus some mange-tout.
The simple dessert was cherries, cream and a garnish of the eponymous oxalis (Google just said it was an edible weed, which doesn’t sound very appealing, but most of you have probably heard of wood sorrel).
All this flavour and innovation for £30.00 a head. The bill of was larger, of course, as it included our wine and beer. As we were celebrating in company we didn’t stint ourselves, although I paid for it with a hangover. Oxalis popped up in Shrub and Shutter just a month ago. It will be around for another 4 or 5 months but don’t waste any time – go and eat as soon as you can.

Station 26

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Address: Unit 26, Brixton Village Market, SW9 8PR

Tel: +44 20 3689 7124

E-mailstation26brixton@gmail.com

Website: https://www.station26.co.uk/

Opening Times:
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 11:30 – 17:00
Thursday 11:30 – 22:00
Friday 11:00 – 22:00
Saturday 11:00 – 22:00

Note: This is a cash only restaurant.

We have returned to a longer standing restaurant in Brixton Village that seems much the same, but has changed it’s name at least a couple of times. It’s main distinctive feature is that it’s gluten free, with occasional vegetarian or vegan items. Set on a corner plot, there’s a few closely packed tables inside and outside around its two edges, but when we went at 6.30 on a Friday there was plenty of room.

The menu is blessedly short, with starters, mains and desserts. Starters include crab cakes, salads, bruschetta, including one with beans and chorizo, and hand cut chips but we opted to go straight to the mains. These include a tuna dish, crab, burgers (venison and halloumi), duck, chicken, pork ribs and finally a vegetable stack – so still a reasonable choice.

I chose the oddly named venison beef burger (maybe there was beef in the burger?) and my companion chose the crabcakes and salad. The burger obviously comes in a gluten free bun but also has tomatoes, some greenery and onion marmalade and is accompanied by a tub of chips. The gluten free bun is a bit spongy but a whole lot better than those you had to endure 25 years ago. It held the burger well until the last few mouthfuls and that may just be a lack of skill on my part. The chips looked OK but really weren’t crisp enough.

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There were three crab cakes. They do contain crab but they were under-seasoned and it was a bit of a lottery between them in terms of the proportion of potato. The salad was generous and had a great dressing.

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For pudding we shared a slice of pecan pie, served with a dollop of cream. This was good, so long as you like them at sweeter end of the spectrum, and the gluten-free pastry was excellent.

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S26_05The alcoholic drinks menu has beer and limited choice of wine – just one each of sparkling, white and red. We went for a bottle of the white and, while they had run out of the one on the menu, the alternative they provided was palatable. The total bill was £47.30 including service, but of that £17.00 was for the wine.

Kricket

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You remember Kricket in Pop Brixton – see our review here. We liked it’s original take on tapas type Indian meals for sharing, coming from a variety of places around the Indian subcontinent. We were sad to see it go to a more permanent setting in Soho, but it has now returned to its roots. There’s a new venue, in Atlantic Road in the two arches vacated by Brindisa. Design is minimal. Stretched corrugated metal over the arched ceiling and wooden tables and chairs for two, four or a crowd. It opened only a couple of weeks ago, so is enjoying a honeymoon period where booking is a must. They fitted us in as walk-ups at 6.20, but we only had the table for an hour. Continue reading

Refill Caribbean Cuisine

Address: 500A Brixton Road, SW9 7AW
(It’s actually round the corner in Brighton Terrace)

Phone: 020 7274 5559

Website: http://refillfood.co.uk/

Open: 24 hours, 7 days a week

We reviewed Refill some time ago, when we carried out our survey of Jerk Chicken takeaways (see here) – our panel rated it the highest. So having decided we were too hungry to wait 30 minutes at one of Brixton’s new eateries, we decided on our way home to get a takeaway from this long-standing source of genuine Caribbean food. This is a 24 hour takeaway and it seems always full. On a Tuesday evening at 8.45pm it was full. That allowed us to spend a little time working out the long menu with help from other customers. Continue reading

Chick’n’Sours

Address: 395 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8LQ

Opening hours:
Wednesday–Friday evenings only;
Saturday–Sunday 12pm–late
(closed Monday–Tuesday)

Website: http://www.chicknsours.co.uk/

This is a pop-up restaurant in the premises of the recently closed Calcutta Street (we were sad to see this go). Chick and Sours is usually based in Haggerstown but their premises are being refurbished, so they are trying their hand in cosmopolitan Brixton. They have a limited menu of snacks, sandwiches and pickles to go with beer or a cocktail. Devoted to chicken – fried on a bun. Continue reading

Bacon Sandwich

Here at eatinbrixton we are devotees of a good bacon sandwich. They are a guilty pleasure for many; even for some vegetarians. So we’ve set out to check what’s on offer in Brixton. The best place to get a bacon sandwich is, of course, a proper ‘greasy spoon’, or what used to be called a working man’s caff. These are now an endangered species in Brixton, but they can be found. We also checked out what was on offer from one of the newer more foodie options, as well as simply making one at home. Continue reading

Café Van Gogh

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Address: 88 Brixton Road, SW9 6BE

Phone: Tel: 07546 966554

Website: https://www.cafevangogh.co.uk/

Opening hours: usually 9.00 pm on website but on the door it says it opens later

We are not usually drawn to Vegan restaurants – except in Veganuary for a change of habit and a contribution to the post Christmas diet. But we were pleasantly surprised by Cafe van Gogh.

It was a bleak weekday evening and we dropped by at about 6.30pm. Although there were not many diners downstairs, the upstairs had several groups and by the time we left, the place was full but not heaving. Downstairs it looks like a cafe but climb the spiral stairs and you are in a room under a dome of stars – dark blue and definitely atmospheric but bright enough to see your food.

Continue reading