A short bus ride away – Kudu

address: 119 Queens Road, Peckham, London ​SE15 2EZ
Tel: 020 3950 0226
https://www.kudu-restaurant.com/

Peckham seems to be blooming at the moment, with new restaurants that spring up in unprepossessing line of shops. Kudu is no exception, amid cheap grocery stores and worldwide pay stores sits this little gem. South African inspired food but no South African inspired decor. Rather they have gone for small tables, stools at the bar and lots of wood. It’s open for lunch, brunch and dinner except for Mondays and Tuesdays. For our Wednesday business dinner we booked (OpenTable), and went straight from work. Later it gets very busy so booking is essential.

The main theme is barbecue and there is lots of flame from the open kitchen often looking like a game of chicken by the chefs – highest flame without singeing your eyebrows. The menu consists of snacks, small plates and medium plates and dessert (we never made it that far).

From the snack menu we chose Kudu bread with seafood butter (lots of tasty shrimps swimming in salty butter). The bread is light, slightly sweet and more like brioche. Fried artichokes with miso mayonnaise, which were not a favourite. As the artichokes cool down they become more difficult to eat as their crispiness disappears – be warned eat it all in one go.

kudo03kudo02

From the small plates we ordered onion and beer tarte tatin with goat’s curd, Pigs head tortellini, mushroom & hay broth, crispy onions and the Mussel potjie pot with seaweed gnocchi. A potjie means “small pot food” usually cooked outside on a braai (barbecue of some sort) and in our case was a small cast iron pot – it was definitely our favourite and I was glad we had saved some bread. But the tart also got a thumbs up, really sweet from the caramelised onions set off by the curd … oh no … I sound like Greg Wallace. The tortellini were tasty and the broth delicious – unfortunately I had run out of bread by this time.kudo06kudo05kudo04

Finally we ordered the Braai lamb neck, smoked yogurt, lettuce, sprouting broccoli from the medium plates menu. It was also lovely but I am channelling my inner Jay Rayner and will just say the plate was bare at the end of the meal.

There were six plates in all and they came at just the right speed, so we didn’t feel rushed and could draw breath and extra wine in between. The bill was £136.58 including two bottles of wine and service. It might seem a lot but the quality of the food was great and you could make it cheaper by drinking water! Wine, however, allowed a full and frank discussion of work issues.

Canova Hall

address: 250 Ferndale Road SW9 2BQ

telephone: 020 7733 8356

email: bookings@canovahall.com

https://www.canovahall.com/

This is our second visit to this restaurant and we hoped for a better experience than on our first occasion that you can read about here. Luckily it was nothing like the earlier disaster, but service was still a bit slow and they still have a few raw edges to smooth off. We also need to report that we did get an apology following our previous visit and an offer of hospitality in compensation (which we didn’t take up as we are still anonymous).

Canova Hall is based in an iconic building which used to be an annex of the Bon Marche department store and was later the Brixton Post Office. We describe the interior in our  earlier review but, in brief, it’s like a proper brasserie where eating and drinking both have their place. It is a squeeze fitting in six people at a table on the side but we are all reasonably slim, despite all the eating. Continue reading

A short bus ride away – Peckham Refreshment Rooms

address: 12–16 Blenheim Grove, London, SE15 4QL

Telephone: 020 8022 2852

http://peckhamrefreshment.com/

Booking via OpenTable

We had been thinking of going to this restaurant for some time, as it has been highly rated by friends. They are open all day for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, so we dragged ourselves out of our comfort zone and visited with friends on a Saturday evening. They only do a couple of sittings, so we agreed on a 9.00 pm booking. We were on time but the table wasn’t clear, so we had free, and creative cocktails from the bar. Mine was a sort of Kir Royale but with Cherry liqueur but the others were also colourful and refreshing, even the non-alcoholic salted grapefruit.I have been a bit tardy about writing this up and we have lost the bill, so I’m sorry to say that some details are sketchy. There is a short menu and you cannot always depend on what it says, as they run out and substitute ingredients too. With no photos to jog my memory I can’t remember what we had as first courses. But I do recall that we were delighted and all plates were empty.

For the main course we had sea bass, with samphire and clams, which was made even more delicious with roasted lemon (I am a great fan). We also ordered aubergine parmigiana, which was not a great success, as it was more like ratatouille – perfectly tasty but not what was expected.
Finally, there was a bavette steak with hassleback potatoes. The steak was pink but the potatoes weren’t finely cut enough and so were not as crisp as we hoped for. We ordered a side of broccoli with garlic and chilli oil  (substitute for the Kale, which I would never have ordered).

Finally we ordered one, and only one, orange marmalade posset which was smooth and just the right balance of sweet and bitterness of Seville oranges.

We washed it all down with wine – a lot of it and all white.

The bill was large but not as large when you remove the wine. The mains are under £20, starters £6 or 7 and desserts about a fiver. The staff were very helpful and we encourage you to turn up early and have a cocktail.

Asmara

,As01

Address: 386 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8LF

telephone: 020 7737 4144

We reviewed this restaurant six years ago, which brought it home to us how hard it is to keep up with the widening choice and turnover (Calcutta Street now closed). But this  Eritrean restaurant on Coldharbour Lane is no newcomer. It is a Brixton staple and has been here for years and years. The fact that it is still here must mean that it appeals to those with a sense of adventure, as well as those who come back over and over again. It is small and so reservations do help secure seats unless you go very early. But they will try to fit you in. Choose from the tables for four or for more fun (but not much space) the cosy basket-weave chairs with a round table – especially if you are sharing. The walls have a few African adornments but it is not overwhelming cultural apart from the waiting staff who make jokes (usually at your expense). Here the experience is about eating the tablecloth with your fingers.

The menu is heavy on meat although there are vegetarian options. The reference to the tablecloth is that some options are served on injera, large sourdough pancakes. They rapidly cool so you need to be quick.  If you don’t like sourdough you can choose rice or cracked wheat.

There are spicy or not so spicy choices like kulwa ( lamb with tomatoes) and derho alicha (mild chicken stew).  We chose the Royal feast for two people (although there were three of us). It was a good choice as we didn’t finish it all. This was the most expensive meal but included a “coffee ceremony”.

The Royal feast consists of injera laid out on a large tray with about eight different portions of curried meat or vegetables plonked on top. We definitely had favourites and sometimes the subtlety of the different meat versions was lost on us. We knew some were hotter than others but couldn’t discern the different spices We all agreed that we would choose it again, until we felt we had more expertise to make an informed choice.

As02The coffee at the end of the meal comes in a ceramic pot with something stuck in the spout to prevent the coffee grounds coming out. You drink small cupfuls with as much sugar as you want. It is accompanied by a large bowl of slightly salted popcorn. There were desserts but we definitely didn’t need one after this lovely end to the meal.

The bill came to about £40 (we lost the receipt) which included one beer. We will come back again but we know that after a few months we will not remember what everything was.

Meat Liquor

address: Unit 12 Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LD

Telephone: 020 733 2842

https://meatliquor.com/brixton/

After a Veggie January we have headed to some very meaty restaurants and this is one of them. This is open every day and although there is a bar which attracts customers, it is a restaurant that attracts families early and those who need a meat fix before a night on the tiles. We were rather boringly going home to watch Newsnight or Graham Norton. This place is open to the elements, so we sat under a heater in this freezing weather but there were brave souls outside – well wrapped up. Continue reading

El Rancho de Lalo

RdL01

Address: 94-95 Brixton Village Market, SW9 8PS

Telephone: 020 7737 2648

Opening times:
Monday to Wednesday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Thursday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
Sunday: Closed

email: elranchodelalo@hotmail.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/pages/El-Rancho-De-Lalo/156815314336773

El Rancho de Lalo has been in Brixton Village for as long as we can remember and has just re-opened after a bit of a spring clean and paint. It was one of the first places we reviewed, favourably, back in 2012 and it still holding its own. Thankfully, the menu hasn’t changed much and it is sticking to filling (see photos below) simple Colombian food. We went around 12:30 pm on Friday lunchtime and had to wait, briefly, for a table. By the time we got our food there was a lengthy queue, both for sit down meals and takeaways.

The inside has not changed except there are fancy new extractors and three large colourful paintings that could have a Columbian origin. Thankfully, the seating is more comfortable as well.  Tables outside now have a heater and all seats (including those inside) have a blanket. There are only eight tables inside and we shared with a single woman who clearly knew the menu better than we did. The service was friendly, came with a smile. Most diners were South American and Spanish was the main language spoken on the tables near us. So the hipster community can regard this restaurant as authentic. Continue reading

Tiger and Pig

TigerandPig01

Unit 9 First Avenue, Brixton Village, London SW9 8PR

Telephone 020 7501 9362

Tiger and Pig is in the alley to left as you enter Brixton Village from Coldharbour Lane. The name is a play on the Chinese zodiac. They indicate compatibility in relationships, although what it has to do with the food is anyone’s guess  – although it is a Chinese establishment. Small with just a few plain tables with benches inside and out. The ceiling is covered with lots of different sized white paper lanterns – really jolly. Continue reading