address: 250 Ferndale Road SW9 2BQ
telephone: 020 7733 8356
We really want to like Canova Hall. The idea of having a local brasserie style place for casual dining, or just a morning cup of coffee, has a lot of appeal. But they do make it difficult, leaving on one side issues of gentrification, as it’s simply not as good as it ought to be.
We’ve been a number of times – see here, here and even here for a bacon sandwich. But our reaction has generallly been lukewarm at best. But hope springs eternal, so it seemed the right place to take a stranger to Brixton for a working lunch. See our earlier reviews for a more detailed description, but there’s plenty of space, despite its clear popularity for as a place to work over a cup of coffee. Based on this visit it looks like that they operate a fairly relaxed policy on how long they tolerate the time spent over a single coffee.
There’s no doubt that it did suit our purpose on this occasion. There’s plenty of room when we went around 1:00 pm; not too noisy, there’s a reasonable choice of popular dishes focussing on pizzas and pasta; and there’s no attempt to rush you out the door. We weren’t in a hurry, so the relaxed service we’ve found on previous visits was not a problem.
We both went for pasta, choosing the truffle tagliatelle (Gorgonzola, walnuts, mushrooms, truffle oil, pink peppercorns, salsa di noci and thyme) and the spicy ragu tagliatelle (Sicilian sausage & ‘nduja ragu, ricotta and parmesan). The spicy ragu was eaten enthusiastically, down to the last scrap. The truffle, as on a previous occasion, was a bit harder going as, while it’s tasty, it’s on the dry side, so some was left.
As it was a work meeting we avoided alcohol but enjoyed their strawberry and mint sodas, although deprecating the continued use of plastic straws.
So, it served our purpose at a cost of £39.37, including 12.5% service. Not very expensive but more than I want to spend for a regular lunch. Nevertheless, I’m sure we will be back, as it does offer the right space and the environment that isn’t really available elsewhere in Brixton. I just find it less than it could be. And, by the way, if you do want a bacon sandwich I can recommend the reopened Cafe Max, one of the first returnees in the newly renovated arches in Brixton Station Road.