Paladar – a short bus ride away

Sorry, don’t yet have an outside picture

Address: 4-5 London Rd, London, SE1 6JZ

Website: Paladar Latin American Restaurant in the heart of London SE1 (paladarlondon.com)

Phone: 020 7186 5555

Opening Times:

Monday: 5.00pm – 9.00pm
Tuesday – Friday: 12 noon – 2.45pm, 5.00pm – 9.45pm
Saturday: 12.30pm – 10.00pm
Sunday: 12.30pm – 8.00pm

We were alerted to this restaurant by a colleague who lives around the corner. It is very popular so we ended up going at 6.30 on a Friday evening. Remember to book in advance. It is a South American restaurant with dishes and influences from Central America too. They serve lots of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, innovative cocktails and wine and spirits all from Latin America. The head chef is from Colombia, the sommelier from Ecuador and the front of house is from Cuba so definitely the real deal.

Inside (and outside) there are several places to sit. Having a broken ankle means the high bar in front of the kitchen was out of scope so they moved us to the tables and chairs section. It is now a bit on the chilly side so we would have objected to the al fresco dining area. I am sure it is fine in summer but even with heaters we noticed people keeping their coats on. Decor is  (as is everything) inspired by Latin America – colourful walls, paintings – some for sale.

The menu is really interesting so be hungry – the menu has a few option with nibbles (quite substantial as you will see), then mains from land (palm heart ceviche, roast aubergine), sea (sea bass, seared prawns) and farm (pork belly, ox tongue,  lamb and pulled pork). They all sound relatively dull except for the palm heart ceviche but take it from us that it is far from it. 

We ordered the green plantain crisps and taquero guacamole for a shared first course. The plaintain crisps are cut lengthwise to provide what looks like a plant. The guacomole was slightly spicy so didn’t hide the flavour of the avocado and we headed into it quickly but the bowl was completely full when it arrived – hence the photo. We would order this vegan dish again.

For mains we ordered the roast aubergine which comes with fried beans with salsa negra and Maya hummus – also vegetarian – with a side of Chimichurri skin-on potato fries which we dipped in a sauce that came with one of our dishes. This does need a knife and fork but the nuts provided some texture and the salsa was spicy again not as spicy as we would have expected although it does creep up on you.

The second dish was pan-roasted fillet of seabass, mole poblano, grilled asparagus, and purple cauliflower – as you can see a colourful dish. The fish was fantastic – really crispy skin but the vegetables needed to be a bit softer especially the cauliflower. Again the sauce was lovely and very differently spiced to the one with the aubergine.

Finally we did have some room for a pudding and ordered Purple corn churros, that comes with two sauces chocolate & ancho chilli sauce and coffee dulce de leche. The ancho added flavour not heat and the coffee was strong enough to feel like a sweet and creamy espresso.

It was Friday so we ordered drinks but one of us was driving so we ordered a Virgin Piscini and a Nubes Torrontes which defintiely had alcohol in it. We liked both of them but didn’t head into the wine list.

The bill came to a hefty £92.35 – £16.00 was the drinks. But it was a really enjoyable meal and we will return and potentially sit on the high stools so we can peer into the kitchen – it may also be a quieter place to sit if you are with a party.

Danclair’s Kitchen

Address: Brixton Village, SW9 8PR

Phone: 020 7737 4888

Web: Danclairs Kitchen

This is a very new addition to Brixton Village and a very welcome one. They serve a variety of tapas-style Caribbean food which means you can try a few to share. They also have a good drinks menu involving Jamaican-style concoctions like Pink Ting and White Duppy Share as well as wine and beer – not just Red Stripe but some from Trinidad along with the Brixton variety.

We chose barbecue wings with Guava glaze, Marinated King Prawns with tamarind sauce, Fish, Wings and Tings famous cod fish fritters with garlic and lime aioli and sides of potato fries (we decided against the cassava ones) and, for our health, a salad.

Nothing was too hot but the chili or the pepper added a lovely warmth. The wings were just right, meat falling off the bone and the guava adding a foil for the barbecue sauce. We were delighted to find that we didn’t have to pick our way over the prawns as someone had thoughtfully removed the middle part of the shell. The tamarind sauce was spicy so only a little was needed to prevent the prawn being overwhelming but it was good to dip the chips into.

Cod balls straight from the fryer are a delight with the garlicky sauce. I am not sure what the difference is between aoli and may is so i looked it up. The difference is that aioli is made from garlic and olive oil while mayo is made with egg yolks and oil. The chips were good and not soggy to the last one and we could use all the sauces as well as the ketchup I ordered. The salad was ok but we only ordered it so that we had some vegetables on the table.

We didn’t go thirsty and as it wasn’t a school night we ordered a Pink Tingaling (pink ting which has grapefruit in it and duppy Share rum) and a Mojito – both were refreshing and not too sweet.

The bill came to £60.50 without the tip but including £20.50 of drink so not cheap but a good evening as the service was at just the right pace. Reducing the bill means switching to water. We will definitely go again as we saw the tempura prawns and the fried pepper calamari on another table and they looked really appetizing.

UH K-DOGS N JUICY

Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Rd, London SW9 8PQ

Open: Wednesday to Sunday: 12:00 noon to 10:00 pm

Website: https://uhk-dogsnjuicy.com/

This new stall is an added new choice to the culinary variety and vibrance of Pop Brixton. This is a challenge not only for the appetite but is also a trial for thinking speed. Most people have heard of Korean fried chicken – delicious but this is far away from that. Think lollipop. First you need to know that a K-dog is a Korean specialty popular in the night markets of Seoul. But that explanation doesn’t prepare you for the “sausage” wrapped in dough and covered in whatever you like. Options are numerous and one is sugar – yes sugar.

They do try to make your choice as easy as possible by dividing it into three. 1. Choose your “dog” – turkey, corn, vegetarian or vegan. 2. choose the wrapping – the dough is impregnated with a wide variety of things you didn’t associate with a hot dog like Ramen. 3. choose your sauces – up to three some of which we had heard of like tomato ketchup and garlic mayonaise.

We chose the French Fries K-dog with a vegetarian sausage and tomato ketchup and sriracha (couldn’t be asked to choose three) and a classic (right) with a chicken/turkey sausage and garlic mayo and parmesan. We also had one carton of fries and ate the feast in front of a football match with a bottle of water.

So what did we think – well it was quite exciting. It is relatively fast food as it takes 8 minutes in the fryer and they do warn you. It is a messy meal but fun too. Although we finished the classic and the fries we only had two thirds of the French Fries K-Dog. It isn’t a meal to share and most of the sauce didn’t go down the front of us but that required concentrated effort – two sauces is definitely enough. It was £19.00 for the two K-dogs and something for the water and fires on top. So not a cheap fast meal though very filling. We will return when we are completely unconcerned about calories or need our stomach lined for a long night.

Kartuli

65 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London SE22 8EP

Monday 18:00 – 22:00
Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 – 22:00
Sunday 12:00 – 21:00

Phone: 020 8299 4989

Webpage: Kartuliinfo@kartuli.co.uk

This is a Georgian (that is Georgia as in the Caucasus) restaurant in East Dulwich and we liked the decor which was comfortable, light (no switching on your torch to read the menu although the font is relatively small) and the interior is a little more formal than our usual haunts. Linen napkins are such a luxury. The place is buzzing on a Friday night and we were lucky to get a space – other walk-ins were not so lucky so do book. The staff were welcoming and we were well looked after.

The menu is divided into starters, bakery, mains, sides and desserts. Go hungry.

We first chose from the starters and the bakery – Badrijani (Aubergine Walnut Rolls) which were soft and enticing with some delicious spicing and a sweet treat of pomegranate (feel like I am eating it all over again). Then there was Chakhokhbili, a traditional Tbilisian dish made from chicken simmered in a tomato sauce. Then we also chose Imeruli Khachapuri (Western Georgian dish of soft dough with a mixed cheese filling). The menu did say it was for sharing, but it needs more than a couple of people, so we took some home. It was as delicious when reheated as it was on the day. So take it from us one and a half starters would have been enough or just the bread.

For mains there are lots of different meat options – pork, chicken, poussin, beef, lamb but don’t fret there are also interesting vegetarian and vegan options which are a variant of the Georgian specialties. Our choices are illustrated in the pictures below, going clockwise from the top.

First, there is Rachuli Lobio, which translates as slow-cooked pinto beans with gammon pieces cooked with onions, garlic, fresh herbs and Georgian spices. It’s served with fermented vegetables. Then there’s Kaurma, a mushroom dish, seasoned with Georgian spices, that originates from the southeastern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti where it is made with liver. However, Kartuli created a vegan version made with four different types of mushroom. Lastly, there’s Ajapsandali, with aubergines, green beans, red and yellow peppers, fresh herbs, tomatoes, onions and garlic, seasoned with Georgian spices.

Finally, although being full plus a bag of takeaways, we decided to share a dessert. We chose the Honey cake which was a large slab (no other word for it) of a many layered honey cake filled with caramel cream and drizzled with dark chocolate. It definitely needed not two but four people to eat their way through this immense pudding and perhaps because of its triple sweetness it should be eaten with tea or coffee.

We also ordered an aperitif – Coffee Vodka and Lime Soda – and had glasses of Georgian red wine and sparkling water with the main course.

Our overall view was a good night out with a menu of very interesting dishes – so many that we will need to return especially to try the enormous dumplings – probably for five people! We also want to try one of their cocktails like the Tarragon Vodka. We ordered a lot of food and did take some back home but visit as a crowd or take a teenager or three to hoover up the remains. The bill came to a large sum (£103 including £20.30 for drinks) as each item was expensive. That should have been a clue to the size and calorific value of each dish, but on the other hand we got two meals out of it.

Casa Mofongo

Address – 152 Loughborough Road, London SW9 7LL

Telephone – 020 3742 7040

Open most days from 12.00 noon

This is a colourful Dominican restaurant near Loughborough Junction. Sit inside or outside for the more hardy among you or just order from Ubereats or Deliveroo. We sat inside on a Saturday lunchtime and while waiting admired the eclectic decor of flags from the Dominican Republic and parts of the UK, the wall art and the sets of pink plastic wisteria. Everywhere you look there is something that doesn’t fit but is a feast for the eyes.

The menu is long and we learnt that you definitely need to share. In fact my advice is to take along a teenage boy to hoover up the food otherwise you will be taking home boxes of leftovers. There are starters, mains and sides, too many to describe here. You will also need to ask what many of them are as there isn’t a lot of explanation. But this will also require some knowledge of Spanish as our waiter didn’t know too many English words – but that added to the surprise. To our choices:

We ordered a Mofongo as the classic dish. It comes with a variety of meat or fish and salad. I chose the crispy pork (only for those who do not fear a dentist). A “Mofongo” is mashed plantain that has been previously cooked and then it is made into a tennis ball and fried (I think). The texture is tight. It comes with a hat of grated cheese and is served with a garlic sauce (definitely needed as it is quite dry). Only one third was eaten even with the addition of the sauce as it is very filling. The pork is indeed crispy and the salad fresh and chunky. Overall I think this is something you may try once but I suggest you try with some soup rather than meat as that will certainly change the texture. It was an adventure!

We also orders fried Tilapia and – a whole one arrived on the plate with a delicious coconut sauce and some more plantain, but this time fried on a skewer. This was accompanied by a small salad and boiled rice. This was lovely. The fish just cooked and relatively easy to take off the bone. Again a very large portion but the plate was empty at the end of the meal.

We drank home made lemonade (not too sweet and very refreshing) and one made with tamarind – also not too sweet. They do have alcohol on the menu.

We often passed this restaurant and were lucky to be hungry so popped in. We were there for quite a while and really enjoyed the trip. It was an adventure and the bill was quite large for a Saturday lunchtime but we have learnt our lesson and next time will order to share. A family arrived after us and just ordered the meat menu to share among the five of them and they demolished the lot. So this is a great place for friends and family to enjoy breaking bread – or at least a few chicken wings. The menu at the restaurant is much wider than the one online so we do suggest that the whole experience requires attending in person. Our bill came to £47.00 and it would have been half of that had we realized the portion sizes. We didn’t eat for the rest of the day.

Franzina Trattoria

Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LQ

Telephone: 07802 473444

Website: https://franzinatrattoria.com/

Open everyday from 12.30 pm to 11 pm: except Tuesday 6-11 pm

This is not the first time we have visited Franzina Trattoria; you can find our other reviews here when we ate in and here for when we had a home delivery. On this occasion, we went with two friends, so we could try more dishes. We went on a Tuesday after the bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral and it was relatively empty, as were all the restaurants down Coldharbour Lane. The decor has not changed, stripped back and with most tables not too rocky – a perennial problem across Brixton. There is a reasonable menu on one side of the table mat and on the other side is the drinks, making it possible to re-check what you were eating. There is also an extra menu of specials which is also on the blackboard. This Sicilian-style trattoria serves small plates (some not so small) and homemade pasta with various sauces.

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Le Bab

408 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LF

Book online – https://www.eatlebab.com/lebabbrixton

If you thought this was just a drop-by following a night out that involved too many cocktails and beers, then think again. This is definitely an upmarket kebab house in what was the vegan cupcake establishment. There’s a wall of glass bricks hiding some of the kitchen, with tables (some very rickety) and chairs spilling out into the side entrance to Market Row.

You probably need to book, as we had to beg for a table at 6.30pm and only had 40 minutes to order and eat. The menu has starters or sharers, mains and potentially a dessert, but we were not hungry enough to even look. It’s one of a small chain (5 currently) but the menus differ between locations. The paper menu did not reflect everything on offer and offered drinks that were unavailable. So don’t be too downhearted there are likely to be surprises, if your chosen tipple has run out.

We concentrated on main courses, but the starters/sharing plates were salads, breads and a variety of chips with a cheesy fondue to dip them in. Most main courses are meat, with a couple of veggie dishes (paneer and aubergine). We chose from the pork and chicken varieties – I had a Dirty Bab (menu description was almost an essay – a very naughty Pork Ribeye Shawarma, slow-cooked for 15 hours with chilli pork jus, sweet pickled cucumbers, fries, chermoula mayo & our signature fondue sauce).

My companion had a Free-Range Fried Chicken Shish Kebab – with no description at all!

Meals come in a wooden box with wooden cutlery, which you definitely need if you are lining your stomach for a good night out and wearing your party best. Trying to put the bread around the filling is clearly a skill that we have yet to fully master, at least until you have eaten some of the insides. Each layer of the kebab was a surprise including the hidden fries inside the Dirty Bab. The sweet pickled cucumber provided a bit of bite and the pork was definitely a step up from most kebabs, soft and a little sweet from the mayo. The fries were (I suppose) to be dipped into the little tub of fondue, but by the time I had thought of it most of them had disappeared (again a good bit of bite if you eat reasonably quickly). So I spooned out the cheesy sauce – it was delicious and full of… calories.

The free-range chicken kebab was equally stuffed and required careful manipulation to make it manageable. Not totally sure what was in there but red onion and fresh coriander were spotted, which helps any dish. No chips with this choice, but there was enough to share with the Dirty Bab.

We drank a beer and a lemon and cucumber drink that was refreshing but sweet – maybe a touch too sweet. The whole meal came to just under £40, so definitely not a cheap eat.

Hospital food – King’s

Kings College Hospital

Denmark Hill, SE5 9RS

We do hope that you will not end up in a local hospital as an inpatient, but if you or a relative do then this is a review for you. One of us ended up last year in St Thomas’s and recently one was admitted to King’s. Neither admission was for a life-threatening illness and the current one at King’s is a broken bone (tourist-related injury from a notorious fracture black spot in Sicily). My advice is to look at your feet and not the fantastic view when descending from the Juno Temple. But back to the menus.

My expectation of hospital food really relates to school dinners, soggy veg and prunes every other day so read this with a view to my very low expectations. But King’s has a fantastic menu. It extends to six A4 pages – see a couple of examples below. Lots of options, including surprising vegan ones like apple crumble and custard. The choice is pretty overwhelming at first until you get the hang of it. There are sections for starters, fish, pork, chicken, beef and vegetarian or vegan. In comparison, St Thomas’s has a much narrower choice with much less detail. 

Back to King’s where the food is cook-chill (most hospitals have this system) run by key workers who provide an essential ingredient to NHS care. Cook-chill means it is cooked, off-site usually, and reheated on the ward. This method does have an effect on the make-up and taste of the dish. Fish and chips for instance are not battered fish, it is breaded. The chips are mostly flabby as you might expect as they get steamed like all those Deliveroo orders from fast food outlets (see here as an example). You always get a vegetable – peas with the fish and chips – and luckily you get a spoon to chase them around the plate.

My favourite dish so far is the fish mornay – steamed fish, root vegetable mash and mashed potato (a particular favourite of mine) with a cheesy custard over the fish. The fish is fine – occasionally overcooked, but the cheese adds seasoning. I would like a bowlful of the mashed veg – carrots, swede and other roots. The mashed potato is not stuffed with butter, but it is smooth and generally not like wallpaper paste. My fellow patients also recommended the tomato pasta and beef curry.

There are lots of desserts including fresh fruit. For a tried and tested and really delicious one try the apple crumble and custard. The apples are caramelised just right, but not too flabby, and the crumble has a bit of a bite – I suspect some fibre to keep you regular. Although the custard is a bit thin it makes the pudding much easier to eat.

For those who want lighter fare try the tomato soup. It is real tomato soup like you might make from scratch at home, and although I am partial to Heinz (my go-to when under the weather), this was tastier, not as sweet, and felt a lot healthier as it wasn’t as smooth.

Breakfast is a bit of a mystery as I was nil-by-mouth on several days until the clinicians worked out that they couldn’t fit me into the theatre, so I had limited opportunities for early morning eating. Porridge and black coffee were passable. The porridge a bit on the sloppy side and the coffee a step up from conference coffee, but a long way from Costa. But this is a minor quibble as on the whole everything was much better than I thought King’s would be. As meals break up the day, it was a pleasant surprise that they tasted good too.

The catering staff are really helpful in making a choice and will dig something out if you missed the ordering time. All this food was at no cost, although I still hope none of our readers get to sample it.

Whipped

65 Brixton Village, SW9 8PS

https://whippedlondon.com/

Whipped is a new addition to Brixton Village. It is on a corner opposite Le Brixton Deli on the way to Lost in Brixton. There is another shop in Covent Garden. They focus on four things – baked cheesecake, cookie dough (never understood this), blondies, and brownies. The choice is tough, even though we decided to only look at the cheesecake, but there is a really helpful person who can help you meander to a choice.

The decision is fruit or not (blueberry, apple crumble etc) or nuts (peanut butter) or caramel (on most of them but there is Dulce de Leche as well) or chocolate (comes in most of them but there is red velvet, cookies and cream with white chocolate)……. and these are the ones I can remember. Lots of choice, so an excuse to go back for more.

We chose apple crumble and peanut butter. The slices are as American as the choice – very large. We got them to takeaway and we advise on more sustainable packaging especially as it was really hard to open the plastic containers without getting your hands all creamy.

The apple crumble had a good dose of apple and was delicious.

The peanut butter was a tower of delicious flavours – crunchy bottom, a dark chocolate brownie then baked cheesecake and topped with a fluffy cream with peanut butter oozing – a very good idea as peanut butter can be very cloying. It was topped with colourful mini Reece’s pieces for crunch and an extra burst of peanut butter.

We have commented on the size – we ate them for a delicious, but totally unhealthy dinner. We advise that you buy two and share over two dinners if only to save on the waistline and avoid leaving any on the plate. They cost £10.00 for two.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

2 Electric Ln, London SW9 8FA

Telephone: 020 7733 8905

website: fiveguys.co.uk

Hidden in Electric Lane, so no-one visits but just orders takeaways or deliveries. They have a “handler” who collects the delivery orders, so that the restaurant is not crowded with the delivery people. It is red and white, has a long open kitchen with very busy people frying, putting on toppings and bagging up. Of course there is the limitless soda fountain and the rather lethal milkshakes. Everyone knows what Five Guys offers – its “famous ‘boardwalk style’ fries, (hand-cut on site each day and cooked in 100% peanut oil), add spice for Cajun fries. In the entrance to the restaurant bags of potatoes are piled up and on the blackboard they give you the name and place where they come from for the days chips, as we call them. For us they came from Myrtle Grange Farm in Yorkshire. They also have burgers, Hot-dogs and Sandwiches.

We are not going to describe the endless combinations of burgers, but assume they have everything you want, same goes for the beef hot dogs and sandwiches include a BLT, grilled cheese and a veggie offering. The list of milkshakes also seems endless.

We chose a Hot dog (with tomato, mustard and pickle), a bacon burger (with pickle and relish), one portion of chips (sorry fries), a soda and a malted vanilla milkshake. Drinks come first, so beware of the milkshake which while absolutely delicious can fill you up before the main event. In terms of calories you are likely to expend more on sucking through the paper (!) straw than take in from the drink.

The meals came slowly as it was 6.45pm and clearly everyone in Brixton was hungry so the takeaway and delivery orders were rolling in. But that gave us time to see the choreography. There was one other couple in the restaurant eating very slowly and the two of us. We were glad to eat in as this sort of food doesn’t travel well, as it steams inside the packets.

We were full before we were half way through, but we doggedly pressed on. This is something that you need to try every now and again – cholesterol willing. The bread was sweetish, the chips definitely different and the meat just right. We were full and happy and took our remaining drinks with us for the long walk home.

The bill came to £29.50