address – 18 Market Row, Brixton, SW98LD
telephone: 0207 5019152
Cannon and Cannon is in the less fashionable part of Market Row and is mainly a shop selling bread, cold meat and cheese with pickles and other mainly English goodies. The shop is on the ground floor and above is a large room with the usual odd mix of large and small tables and chairs and even a couple of vinyl covered bar stools next to a raised bar against the wall. The room is very light as it has windows on two sides with views on the busy market below.
Decoration is relatively minimal with mirrors and a blackboard over the two remaining walls and a small bar. There is no room for a kitchen and the food is “cooked” downstairs in the shop. What all customers need to understand about Cannon and Cannon is that this is not a restaurant so do not go if you are really hungry. Rather it is a place for English tapas and trialling the different cheeses described rather mouth-wateringly by the knowledgeable people both in the shop and restaurant.
The menu is short – cold meats, cheeses and sausages served with pickles. It is made to look longer by suggesting mix and matching the cheeses with bread and a drink for £10.00. On this occasion we chose the a la carte and had the late of cold meats (chorizo, salami and ham) with bread and the black pudding with apple syrup accompanied by a bottle of beer and a glass of wine. Water comes free.
We have no complaints with the food – it is what it is and as an accompaniment to a glass of alcohol it is fine. All the meat was interesting and the black pudding was warm and with a slight sweetness from the apples. But there is a problem, the same as we have had on the other visits – the service is just hopeless. This is not about the people – they are helpful it is just the whole timing. We got the drinks first and then about ten minutes later we got the cold meat but not the bread that comes with it. About another 10 to 15 minutes later we got the black pudding and still no bread. We had mentioned the bread twice and eventually it did arrive but only when we got rather firm if not irritable. As we are both carnivores and do not mind sharing we were able to have the meat first trying to hold off enough for the bread to arrive (very, very difficult).
We were not clear where the glitch of timing comes from but perhaps it is an accumulation of small issues. There is no kitchen and as far as we can see no-one specifically responsible for making sure the orders arrive together. The waiters are upstairs and as far as we can see the only communication is by running up and down the stairs. The “chef” actually came up and served the hot food whereas you would have expected the waiters to pick it up. If the “chef” is upstairs he isn’t preparing the next person’s food. So timing needs some consideration. We waited a long time even when the place was empty except for one other table and there were two waiters. Previous occasions have been the same but it was earlier and we thought that they would have ironed out these problems.
In summary Cannon and Cannon have an interesting menu but don’t go if you are really hungry. Our English tapas (2 courses and two drinks) cost £27.50