Fish and Chips supper – Where to buy

We never know where to buy fish and chips, so we called a consensus meeting to rate four fish and chips shops around Brixton. Six people, with more than a hundred and fifty years of experience of fish and chip suppers, sat down to rate cod, chips and mushy peas each on a five point scale from the following outlets:

Brixton’s Cod 118 Acre Lane, Brixton SW2 5RA – Link

Chip Shop  378 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton SW9 8LFLink

Fish Lounge 99 Brixton Hill, Brixton SW2 1AA – Link

Olley’s 65-69 Norwood Rd, Herne Hill SE24 9AA – Link

We thought that this would be easy, as everyone knows that the UK’s favourite Friday night dish is chicken korma, but we were wrong. At every takeaway there was a queue and we wanted to mention all the chefs, everyone with lovely chat and a smile. We ordered two portions of cod, one large chips and a portion of mushy peas, although one of us over-ordered on mushy peas and ran amok on curry sauce (which we didn’t touch)

There was no conferring and all the ratings were made without knowing who provided them. We were allowed to add salt, pepper, malt vinegar, tomato ketchup or tartar sauce, although we tried to taste before smothering each dish. We let one person off testing the mushy peas because he hated them. The outcome was clear, with the overall winner standing out from the rest.

In first place was …… da da …… Olley’s, but we have to point out that this was the most expensive by far (£38), being at least twice the cost the others. But for crispy batter, great fish, crispy chips and pretty good mushy peas it was ahead of the pack. Our critical lot awarded a couple of 5’s (absolutely brilliant) and the only top ratings for any element of a fish supper. Although we tasted all the others, by the end of the evening there was nothing left of this one.

We couldn’t really separate The Fish Lounge (£19 included two lots of mushy peas and the curry sauce) and Brixton’s Cod (£13). They were both good value, especially Brixton’s Cod, scoring mostly 3s and 4s. The mushy peas were particularly good from Brixton’s Cod, getting the best rating.

One restaurant we thought needs to think again about what it offers and that was The Chip Shop (£15). Everything was over salty, the chips were flabby and a bit sweet, the batter wasn’t crispy and the fish didn’t taste very fresh. But we were most critical of the mushy peas. They were solid and extremely salty and comments included, horrid and inedible. But we would like to support them for their recyclable cartons.

You will need to go out and queue up for Fish Lounge and Brixton Cod but Olley’s and The Chip Shop have engaged with a delivery service.

Finally, we did have quite a few chips left over, but we finished them off the following night after giving them another deep fry – trendy triple cooked chips.

blank. brixton

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144 Acre Lane Brixton SW25UT
email blankbrixton@gmail.com
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Blankbrixton/
Phone: 077 8860 2119
Open: 08:30 – 17:30

This a good local coffee shop with excellent light meals. Half way along Acre Lane, it’s a bit cramped but, so long as the weather permits, it spills out onto the pavement on the sunny side of the street. Obviously it serves coffee but there are sandwiches, closed and open, plus some brilliant cakes. It’s not part of a chain and is run by the owners, who are obviously enthusiasts and community minded. Continue reading

Cattivo Hall

207 Ferndale Road

020 096 2236

Website: https://www.cattivobar.com/

Email: bookings@cattivobar.com

Monday: Closed
Tues-Thurs: 12 noon to 12 midnight
Fri-Sat: 12 noon to 2am
Sun: 12 noon to 11pm

We usually give a new restaurant a few visits before reviewing, but this place caught our eye on a cold Friday night. They were in their “soft launch” phase – the whole kit and caboodle will be open tomorrow (Tuesday 16th October), when it will have a longer menu including desserts. It is part of the same chain as Canova Hall (link, link and link), which is just across the road. This is a restaurant and bar also but takes a slightly different approach to decor. Gone are the cosy banquettes and the French Bistro feel, but what is left is the same industrial style, with lots of room for standing and drinking. Downstairs (and yet to be explored) is a cocktail bar with its own Gin distillery.

But we visited for the food, although by way of a cocktail and glass of wine. Food on the menu was hearty, and with large proportions it will certainly line your stomach for the Friday night revelries and probably divert any potential hangover. Menus online seem to be more extensive, with some sharing plates.

The foreshortened menu consisted of spaghetti and meatballs (beef, spicy pork and ricotta), a vegan dish and some fried items including potatoes, squash, peas, parmesan fries and focaccia. We settled for spicy pork and ricotta meatballs, and although we thought about ordering a side dish, we were glad we hadn’t when we saw the size of the plates of pasta.

The spicy pork was spicy but not overpowering with some chili in the tomato sauce too. We missed the promised gremolata but liked the taste of the sicilian sausage.

The ricotta meatballs were much softer than the beef but equally tasty. We  missed the gremolata again and wondered what the ricotta salata was (advertised on the menu). We did have cheese and they didn’t offer any extra Parmesan. But I don’t think either of us minded.

We washed all this down with water and a glass of Primitivo and a Professore cocktail (Del Professore Madame gin, Kamm & Sons aperitif, Campari) – so a sort of Negroni with a large ice cube and we were glad to see the absence of a straw. A clever engineering touch was the shaved orange peel jammed into the side of the ice cube thus successfully preventing it from freezing your top lip during drinking. We would like to congratulate the barman (or woman) who invented this – patent it now.

We paid £42 including the drinks which were almost half the bill. We have another booking for Friday to try some of the other specialties on offer.

 

And our winner of Favourite Restaurant 2018 is …

It’s finally time to reveal the results! After a few weeks of voting, narrowing down of the list, and the big push in the last week for our shortlist, we are happy to announce that Agile Rabbit has been voted the favourite restaurant in Brixton 2018 by our followers. Here’s a link to its website.

Well congratulations are due, although it’s many years since we last wrote about Agile Rabbit – it was actually 2012 – but you can still check out our review of the place here. Surprisingly current prices seem much the same. However, it did figure little more than a year ago in our comparative review of home delivery pizzas and came in as one of our two top scorers – see here.

Now one of the longest running eateries in Brixton Village, it’s notable for also selling slices of pizza, making it the go-to place for a lunchtime snack. There’s also weekly jazz sessions. A recent development is the opening of a second branch in Herne Hill, opposite the station. But there’s still a commitment to Brixton, which is regarded as the soul of the business.

When we found out it was the winner we decided it deserved another look. We are pleased to report that it is a worthy favourite. It’s not a place for fine dining of course, but if you want simple straight-forward pizzas, at a reasonable price, this is as good as any.

We chose, the Aoca – anchovies, olives, capers and aubergine and the other

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– almost inevitably – a Pepperoni. For me this had a bit too much cheese, but I guess for many this is not really a criticism.

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These are seriously good 12 inch pizzas, with the all-important crispy base, making it easy to eat by hand. We would have had enough each with just one,  but we were hungry, with eyes bigger than our stomachs. So the fridge has pieces destined for today’s lunch.

agile_rabbit04We washed the pizzas down with Brixton ale currently on draught. The total cost, including 10% service that we were assured all goes to the excellent staff, was under £30 (sorry, I’ve lost the receipt).

Best Restaurant in Brixton 2018

As we hit out 8th (yikes!) birthday we yet again come to our ‘Best Restaurant in Brixton’ vote. Past winners include Nanban, Mama Dough and Donostia Social Club (RIP). The list below is composed of everywhere we have reviewed so apologies if we haven’t mentioned every single place in Brixton.

From going through the places we have reviewed it’s clear that over the past year quite a few of our favourites have closed or flown the nest for bigger residence. Fujiyama, Bukowsi, Cabana, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and the previously mentioned Donostia Social Club have all now closed their doors in Brixton. What this means for the next flock of eateries in the area we will have to wait and see, but with the opening of giants such as Sports Direct on Pope’s Road and the redevelopment of the arches we may see fewer independent restaurant and more big buck shops in their places.

Continue reading

Lunchtime Ramen

Ramen is trendy and I’m a great fan. Particularly at lunchtime. But despite Brixton’s ‘foodie’ reputation, it’s not so easy to find, particularly on weekdays. So, for those who share my addiction, here’s a brief guide of what’s available.

Ramen is seen as a classic Japanese dish, although I’ve been surprised to discover that it originated in China and has only become dominant since the second world war, when cheap wheat imports became available. Named for the eponymous type of noodles, it’s served invariably with a tasty stock plus garnishes, usually meat and vegetables.

Here’s four places in Brixton that I considered for my Ramen fix, but you will see that early in the week there’s only one or two of them that are actually open. I might have missed somewhere so don’t hesitate to let me know. Continue reading