Koi Ramen Bar

8 Brixton Station Rd SW9 8PD

Website: https://www.koiramenbar.co.uk/

Mon-Thurs: 11:30AM – 10:30PM
Fri-Sat: 11:30AM – 11:00PM
Sun: 11:30AM – 10:30PM

Tel: 07367 094962

Koi Ramen Bar now qualifies as a Brixton institution. It’s progressed from a stall in Brixton Station Road, through a unit in Pop Brixton and now just returned to one of the railway arches opposite to where they started. We’ve looked at it before in it’s previous incarnations, here and here. Now, like some other Brixton originals, it’s part of a chain, but has really found it’s feet. We went at lunchtime and sat outside, although there is some space inside that will be needed in winter months.

There’s a really short menu with four types of ramen, a few extra toppings and different types of gyoza, should you want a starter. You order at the counter but the dishes are brought to you. We went for the old scool Shoyu and the pure white tonkotsu with an extra nitamago marinated egg. The old scool shoyu (their spelling) is, as the name suggests, the original ramen, with a soy based soup with chashu belly pork. Tofu is available as an option. This was my choice and it was great and well presented in a proper bowl. Much better than the paper cups used on previous visits.

The tonkotsu, described as their “signature dish” , is a creamy pork noodle soup with chashu belly pork again, plus kikurage mushrooms and spring onions. Given that this is a meat broth there’s no tofu option. The egg was soft-boiled as required. My companion enjoyed it, but thought it might have benefited from a touch of chilli, to liven it up.

Ramen, at least in Japan, is real fast food. A lunchtime snack that’s eaten quickly and with relish. If this is what you are looking for this is now easily the best option in Brixton, benefiting from the narrow focus on its speciality. There are drinks available including Japanese beers and sake, but we just shared a bottle of still water. So the bill came to only £16.70, allowing for a £2.00 off lunch deal. This could well become a lunchtime regular.

Domino’s Pizza – the Quarantine weeks

Website: https://www.dominos.co.uk/deals/storedeals

Address: 328 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8QH

Phone: 020 7737 0000

Domino’s didn’t do so well in our previous pizza challenge (see here) but subsequent comments suggested that it had been under-rated. Anyway, we were craving some on a Friday night and decided to give it another go. It had to be a delivery, as we are just emerging from quarantine and still taking things really carefully.

The menu is reduced but actually it makes it much easier to choose and there seem to be all the favourites. We chose a large (13.5) Veggie Supreme and a large (13.5 again!) American Hot. And here they are.

Even when we finished they didn’t look very different, as we only managed about a third of each. Delivery does bring out the “eyes much bigger than stomachs” in me. On the bright side we have lunch and breakfast for the next two days.

My Veggie was delicious and somehow despite the cheese I felt virtuous even while I was dipping the crust in the garlic sauce. The American hot was well received as well, with good pepperoni and enough chilli to make it interesting. Apologies for the poor quality picture though.

It was good and inexpensive as the deal is £10.99 for any large pizza so £21.98 for the two pizzas and whatever you decide to tip the delivery guy. There are lots more deals too and we definitely think a large is enough for two no matter how hungry you are.

Tsunami – the quarantine weeks

Address: 5-7 Voltaire Road, SW4 6DQ

Website: https://tsunamiclapham.co.uk/

Phone (for deliveries): 020 7720 2922

Opening hours:

Monday to Thursday 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Friday 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm

Saturday 12 noon to 3:00 pm/5:30 pm to 11:00 pm

Sunday 12 noon to 4:00 pm/5:30 pm to 9:30 pm

So it’s our second week and I’m desperate for some sushi. Easier said than done, at least if you are quarantined and you want half decent sushi. There is good sushi in Brixton, but if you want straightforward delivery and a wide choice you have to go further afield. So it’s Deliveroo and Tsunami at Clapham North. It’s only later I spot on their website that you can order direct, although I haven’t looked to see if it would have been any cheaper. Continue reading

Clink@Home – the quarantine weeks

The Clink Restaurant at HMP Brixton

https://athome.theclinkcharity.org/

The Clink now delivers! We’ve been once – see here – but we are currently quarantined and need to eat at home. So decided to be nice to ourselves and set up a booking to look forward to when we returned from holiday. But beware, eyes can be bigger than your stomach and this was certainly the case with our order.

For starters we ordered lemon & coriander hummus with handmade flat bread to share – certainly enough for two but we rather fancied the Arancini (sun-dried tomato & parmesan arancini with rocket pesto) and this was for one or two. Those two dishes served us for a really good lunch. When I say really good, not really good – it was fabulous. The Arancini were crisp and soft on the inside. The flatbread crispy on one side with oil and the hummus needed no adjustment for seasoning. Well done guys.

For dinner we had the sweet potato katsu curry with rice and what a revelation it was. The sweet potato had a bit of bite and even looked like a chicken katsu. The pickle had crunch with the occasional scotch bonnet surprise, and the katsu sauce was smooth and full of flavour. I am not keen on having my mouth tingle too much and this didn’t do that at all. If you like more chili then have a small bottle on the side to add. The rice steams so be careful removing the lid.

For some reason we also ordered extra vegetables – the Soy & Ginger Asian Greens which we ate with the katsu. It added a little crunch. What was surprising was the portion size. This was a curry for one but we shared and it was easily enough.

Then we were left with the Sea bream en papillote with Mediterranean vegetables & salsa verde. Delicious again – fish just right, vegetables superb (not enough hyperbole) and lovely sauce (requires a spoon).

Finally, we had the summer fruit crumble with crème anglaise which was definitely a sharing plate. Not just your boring apple one, but some sharpness of raspberry and red or black currants – we can’t check as we ate it all rather too quickly. Custard was smooth….mmmmm

Apart from being astounded by the quality of this meal, we really appreciated that every dish came with a description of what we needed to do with it. So we didn’t have to remember what we ordered or try to work it out for ourselves. We ordered £39.85 worth of food and paid £4.95 for the delivery. This included a couple of drinks (Cranberry Crush and Sicilian Lemonade). We got three meals out of this order, so it was brilliant value for money. We enjoyed every one and it cheered up our quarantine which was not like the original lockdown challenge, but became boring after the first couple of hours. We are definitely going to order again, probably before we are allowed to dine out again. But it would also make a really easy dinner party for your two households to enjoy.

The Kennington – a short bus ride away

Address: 60 Camberwell New Road SE5 0RS

Telephone: 020 7735 9990

info@thekennington.com

http://thekennington.com/

Missing my colleagues, so we set up a date in The Kennington – winner of the best newcomer in the 2013 Great British Pub Awards. This is on a busy road but does have some outside space – although it is a bit noisy. Inside there is plenty of attention paid to safety with distanced seating, clear screens and socially distanced staff. Only two households allowed together, which was fine as there were only two of us. Continue reading

Whiskey Tumbler

Address: 401 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LQ

Telephone: 020 3298 2358

https://thewhiskeytumbler.com/

Although we are still working on reducing the number of open bottles in our home tavern, we thought it would be good to support a new Brixton bar – so here we are. Saturday night, early and we dropped by for a quick cocktail. But this is a whiskey and bagel bar – the spelling of whiskey tells you it is an Irish bar – we also noticed the Irish potato crisps.

We looked at the list which you need to read carefully for the description or the history. But this is meant for the connoisseur, as they give you little information on the ingredients. If in any doubt, just ask the bartender when you order – they will also give you a choice of gin or whisk(e)y (bourbon, rye etc.).

We chose a classic Perfect Manhattan (has dry as well as sweet martini) and a Corpse Reviver. I can’t remember whether the latter was a no.1 or no.2. They arrived in a neat little Mad Men glass. Both delicious, although we missed checking that it would be a cherry in the Manhattan.

In terms of C19 compliance – they have spaced seating and we had a clear plastic screen by our seats but none of the waiters had masks on. I would definitely advise they think carefully about that so that they protect us and them. Waiters are one of those front-line services where you meet lots of different people so increasing the chance of catching coronavirus.

We will visit – early in the evening to avoid the rush and taste their delicious cocktails again.

 

Enish Nigerian Restaurant & Lounge

Address: 330a Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8QH

Website: https://www.enish.co.uk/

Phone: 020 7326 0530

Opening hours:

Monday-Thursday – 12 Noon -12 Midnight

Friday-Saturday – 12 Noon – 4am

Sunday – 12 Noon -12 Midnight

Enish is very new Nigerian restaurant in Coldharbour Lane, taking the place of The Majestic (see here), which was our introduction to this national cuisine. This incarnation is part of a group of restaurants peppered around the capital. The Majestic was a little down at heel, but it is now all dolled up – shiny tables, comfy chairs and wooden floors in place of the dubious red carpet. This bar and restaurant with knowledgeable clientele (I’ll come back to that later) eating and drinking from their complex menu. Cocktails are sweet and served in jars, beers are from Nigeria and the menu has a glossary to help the naive – like us. Despite having read about Nigeria recently, we needed the guiding hand of the waitress to make our choices. Continue reading

Mamalan – takeaway

Unit 18, Brixton Village, SW9 8PR

https://mamalan.co.uk/brixton/

Opening times: Monday 11:30am – 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday 11:30am to 10pm

You can Click and Collect or go through Deliveroo.

I usually save the punchline for the end of the review but I have to say – this is the best Chinese takeaway I have had in many years. We are long-term fans and have reviewed the restaurant before (see here, here and here). It is currently possible to eat outside, but for our Friday night treat we ordered through Deliveroo and ate in the confines of our house.

The menu is just the right length – long enough for variety, but not overwhelming with the suspicion that they are over-extended. It has everything you might expect from its Beijing roots – stir fry, noodle soups, bao buns, salads and posh sides (Dumplings, Hot wings, prawn toast, spring rolls etc.). The list is different on the website and Deliveroo. But they do now have meals for two and cater for vegans. We chose the miso wings, Sesame oil Chicken noodle salad, the miso, tofu rice and some prawn crackers.It comes in paper boxes or bags and is clearly marked – a blessing if some look similar to each other so preventing a few mouthfuls before you swap boxes. First the wings – bottom centre in the picture.They were delicious, hot, soft and the meat falls off the bone. Sticky, so you either need the chopsticks or just get messy.

The miso, tofu rice comes with some vegetables – bottom left in the picture. Even though it didn’t have far to travel, we were amazed that the rice still has separate grains and didn’t go into a mush with all the steam. The tofu was a little soft, but the whole meal a delight.

The noodle salad – bottom right – was also great.  It was really a whole meal in itself with vegetables and spicy sauce with a reasonable amount of chilli.

Finally the prawn crackers. They come with a sweet chili dipping sauce and are not the normal airy white one but were more like crackers. After adjusting our expectations, we decided we enjoyed them, particularly as they were not at all oily.

The bill came to £26.80 – a bargain even though, unlike other times, we ate it all. We will return soon.

Moroccan Cafe

Address: 4 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PD

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 8:30 pm

Friday & Saturday: 8:00 am to 9:30 pm

Sunday: 8:00 to 7:00 pm

This is a long-standing pre-foodie Brixton favourite that serves up great value North African food. You can read a little about the proprietors – Tareq & Driss – here. We’ve been here before – see here – but that was long ago, before they were hit by the renovation of the railway arches and forced into exile. But they sort of held on, with the associated food truck – see here–  and the Moroccan Fish stall that we enjoyed, but never got round to review.  Continue reading

Address: 4 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PD

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 8:30 pm

Friday & Saturday: 8:00 am to 9:30 pm

Sunday: 8:00 to 7:00 pm

This is a long-standing pre-foodie Brixton favourite that serves up great value North African food. You can read a little about the proprietors – Tareq & Driss – here. We’ve been here before – see here – but that was long ago, before they were hit by the renovation of the railway arches and forced into exile. But they sort of held on, with the associated food truck – see here–  and the Moroccan Fish stall that we enjoyed, but never got round to review.  Continue reading

Fish, Wings n Tings

address: Brixton Village, 3 Granville Arcade, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PR

Tel number: 020 7737 4888

Opening Times: 12pm-10pm Sun, Tue-Thurs; 12pm-11pm Friday-Sat

Website: https://www.fishwingsandtings.com/

Restaurants are now beginning to open, so we decided to get out of our comfort zone and celebrate where there’s enough outside space for us to feel relatively safe. So Fish, Wings ‘n’ Tings was a great stop in the sunshine at the Coldharbour Lane end of Brixton Village. They don’t take reservations, so it is pot luck whether there will be space. On a warm Saturday and you are with a lot of people, then go very early. We caught a break as there were only two of us and we arrived just after 6.00 pm and got a table relatively quickly. The staff were helpful and squeezed up a small group to one end of the table, so we were socially distanced. Continue reading