412 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LF
Telephone: 020 3910 1870
This is the place we all knew as “Three Little Birds” which has changed its name, some of the menu and a little of the decor. It isn’t so dark as it used to seem although the menus especially for drinks are written in a faint, and very small font. The waitress told us to use our phone torch as that is what most people did. Maybe the sensible thing is to just change the font as the solution is a little intrusive to your fellow diners. This is now a restaurant rather than a bar. Diners sit pretty close which has pros and cons. Are they looking Covid-peaky? Against which you can play off the benefit of seeing what they ordered and the size of the portions. Our neighbours were very helpful – and as this is a small plates menu – size definitely matters. But first the drinks as we have no photos. We ate in January, but even though one of us stuck to the no alcohol rule there was an voluntary amendment of Saturdays off. So we ordered a St Elizabeth Martini and a Dry 75 – we won’t describe them as they may have changed but they lasted throughout our meal. We abstained from Vegan January – one step too far on this occasion.
On to the menu – small plates with nibbles. Nibbles are what you have waiting for the main event so we skipped them and went for the dinner small plates followed by dessert. As you will see they are very pretty and some are really tasty, but do not go in hungry before your pay packet arrives. This is strictly for those who do not look at the cost of the dishes.
The menu has a Jamaican feel with ingredients and dishes you would recognise and some that are definitely new on the same plate. We started with slow -cooked goat croquettes with plantain ketchup which had a bit of a kick and some goat cheese croquettes that came with a beautiful beetroot flower. These were dishes that we thought you ought to try – crispy but with good flavour and the slight saltiness went well with our drinks.
We then ordered the seared duck with cavolo nero and, although there was a promise of plums we didn’t see any – it was more sweet potato, but we were not arguing with that – it was delicious. There was also a promise of Jerk, but it wasn’t a highlight and we didn’t miss it. Although this is a small plate there was easily enough for three – especially if one of the three likes Cavollo Nero (I don’t). Then we ordered a Brixton staple – described as salted cod but was definitely ackee and saltfish with breadfruit and tomato – and no chili – however we also liked that too.
We also ordered baby carrots – described as with jerk butter – again we didn’t notice the chilli. There was another dish but we now can’t remember what it was. We knew that we were already full, but for our readers we ventured on to the dessert menu – should really have shared. We ordered from the short list a cheesecake with limoncello curd and ginger together with banana bread. They were completely contrasted with the light cake against the heavy cheesecake – we had to roll home.
We did warn you about the costs – alcoholic drinks cost about £11.00 plus. The total bill came to £100 which is a lot for anything other than a celebratory night out. The food was good, no more than just good – it was excellent – and there was a Jamaican flair from some ingredients, but it has moved away from the hot depth of flavour that Caribbean food has to offer. But for those who want a slow intro this is definitely for them. We will go back but will take more people – a small plate is for three and then the bill will be cheaper.