Smoke & Salt – Pop Brixton

Address: Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, London SW9 8PQ

Telephone: 07421 327556

A new addition to Pop Brixton in the restaurant/shipping container that used to be Kricket. This is a quality small plates restaurant and maybe, like Kricket it will end up in Soho. The layout has changed just a little, with the long passage with a few tables inside and a high bar whilst outside for the foolhardy, are tables for four. The three of us shared the only inside table that takes more than two people – it was cosy.

The short menu is in three parts and the advice for the three of us was to choose two from each section and potentially one on top for the very hungry. We stuck to six dishes so we had room – but not much – for dessert. All dishes arrived at a leisurely pace so we could linger over each and all are small enough not to fill you up but are large enough to share.

We loved the fried plantain especially the onion jam (beer braised) which was sweet and spicy. The crispy new potatoes were in a Chimichurri sauce with Gorgonzola and lots of butter. Very yummy and at this point we ordered a portion of sourdough so we could mop up the sauces. The bread is accompanied by whipped butter with some sort of Korean spices and although surprisingly slightly sweet was really interesting.

The courgettes were served with a sort of babba ganoush but made with courgettes. It was smoky and slightly warming – we were glad we had bread. Then came the poussin – two small pieces of chicken with crispy skin and again delicious. We fought over the last bits.

Then we had lamb belly and a dish of Hispi cabbage. The lamb belly was soft, but this late in the meal we wanted the fat to be a little crispier. But the saving grace was the pea tartare – peas and crispy shells. There was a split decision on the Hispi cabbage and we all like cabbage. Some people like the bitter taste emphasised by the scorching but two thirds of us don’t.

We shared the Harvest pudding – poached peaches with chopped peaches and popcorn on a bed of corn custard. We wiped the plate although the custard could have been a bit thinner.

As you can see the food was really pretty as well as tasty – we wish them well but not too well for a while so we can continue the enjoyment.

We washed it all down with a pale ale, a Boston sour, a Rose-Mary Berry (like a gin and tonic) and a glass of red wine. Water was free. The bill came to just short of £80 for the three of us and included service. We thought it was definitely somewhere we would return to and given our alcohol orders, the bill was also good value for money and a better quality than many of the fast food places. Eating here you also never have to worry about getting your five fruit and veg of the day.

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