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

Llewelyn’s Restaurant

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Address: 293–295 Railton Road, Herne Hill, London SE24 0JP

Website: http://llewelyns-restaurant.co.uk/

Phone:  0207 733 6676

Email: bookings@llewelyns-restaurant.co.uk

Opening times (for food):
Tuesday – Friday 12 Noon – 2.30 pm and from 6.00 pm
Saturday 12 Noon – 3.00 pm and from 6.00 pm
Sunday 12 Noon to 3.30 pm

Despite the Railton Road address, Llewelyn’s is definitely in Herne Hill, just to left of the Station. If it hadn’t been so hot we might well have walked through Brockwell Park but, in the event, we went by bus, calling in en route at the First Aid Box (review here) for some excellent cocktails.

Llewelyn’s inherits a site with a history. Many have mourned the loss of “Pullen’s”, and before that the brasserie “La Provencal” but the site now offers a modern minimalist style. The blank canvas is potentially noisy, especially on a hot Friday evening. But we had the added bonus of one diner on a nearby table having a laugh that was on the threshold of pain. Nevertheless, the three of us enjoyed the food and will doubtless return.

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24 The Oval – a short bus ride away

Address: 24 Clapham Road, London SW9 0JG

Phone: 020 7735 6111

Website: https://24theoval.co.uk/

Opening times (for food):
Wednesday – Thursday: 18:00 – 22:00
Friday – Saturday: 12:00 – 15:00 & 18:00 – 22:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 16:30

The restaurant is set back from the road and has an outside veranda for those who need more sun. Inside is modern and spare in furniture. This was a work dinner on a weekday, so we arrived at 6.00 pm and even with the warm weather the restaurant was pretty empty except for the determined cocktail drinkers. We got rid of most of the business part of the meal first – oiling the wheels with an Aperol Spritz and a Campari Spritz (or two).

There are three menus – one a la carte and two tasting menus (vegan and non-vegan). We went for a la carte. First up came sourdough with smoked butter. The butter had half melted and I am not sure I could taste any smoke but the bread was pretty good. Next came the homemade charcuterie which was all tasty and we really loved the ham. We continued on the meat theme with beef crockets – again delicious.

The smoked eel with the turnip cannelloni and apple made a good interlude as did the jersey royals with crispy skins cultured cream and lemon which looked lovely but wasn’t a highlight.

This built to the main event – a really delicious dish called “Daphne’s Welsh lamb” which was to share. It consisted of roast loin, Lancashire hot pot, slow cooked belly, BBQ offal served with smoked aubergine, fennel and preserved lemon. Unfortunately our photograph was a bit shaky (no comments please) but it was a large portion for two and every bit was delicious.

We washed it all down with a bottle of rosé and the final bill came to £150 including the tip. Shame we couldn’t charge it to the firm. It was expensive but a lot was due to the alcohol and over-ordering and you could certainly do it for less and it would still be delightful.