address: – 18 Market Row, Brixton, SW98LD
telephone: 020 7501 9152
Tuesday to Friday noon–3pm, 6–11:30pm
Saturday 10am–3pm, 6–11:30pm
Salon won our eatinbrixton annual poll a few years ago and many of our foodie friends really rate it. Since the last lunch we ate here they have made changes. Gone are the uncomfortable chairs and the huge tables. Now there is a mixture of matching chairs and an upholstered bench which even had some back support – bliss compared to the previous rocky furniture.
We made up a foursome with friends. Upstairs in the main dining room they offer four course tasting menu, with only a choice of main course (baked celeriac or ox cheek). We also went for the wine pairing, so that took away even more of the worry and negotiation on what bottle(s) to buy.
The amuse bouche was a little doughnut filled with something delicious but we we all so hungry we didn’t commit the detailed description to heart. It came with two kinds of bread and butter – the usual sourdough and a brown concoction. Both had a lovely salty crust and we were glad we had some to mop up the sauces that came with each course.
The starter was Cod crudo with, blood orange, hazelnut, monk’s beard (a bit like a thin, delicate samphire and much better). The cod was lightly pickled and with the crunch of the hazelnut and the salty monk’s beard was lovely. There were also some dollops of something that was like mayonaise but again we haven’t remembered the detail.
Next we had cows curd agnolotti (little parcels), watercress and artichoke. The little parcels were sturdy but broke into a creamy sauce. Bits of watercress made you think of your five portions a day but was mainly to give a bit of colour.
One of us dared to go for the vegeratarian option – Salt baked celeriac with hazelnuts and mushroom ketchup. Reported as being most satisfying, with the ketchup being a real hit.
The rest of us had Ox cheek, salsify, choucroute (pickled cabbage) and molasses. This was not a little portion of Ox cheek and despite the other courses being small. we all found it challenging. It was however, lovely and not too sweet with the molasses. The salsify was a smooth delicious cream.
The dessert was milk sponge, brown butter ice cream, mead (honeyed alcohol). The dehydrated milk foam (I think) add a crispness. The milk sponge was a little firm but was offset by the cold cream.
We loved it. New seating helps but each course was interesting and none at all disappointing. Our failure to remember the detail maybe because we had the wine pairing but also the interesting conversation with friends which drove menus out of our minds. It is not cheap £36 per menu and £28 per person for the wine pairing. It is a £6 extra for the meat course. So it all came to £301.50 in total including service for four of us. So save up for a dinner to celebrate, as it isn’t just for an evening when there is nothing in the fridge.