Three Uncles: Brixton Village

Unit 19 & 20 Brixton Village, SW9 8PR

Telephone: 020 3592 5374

Web: https://www.threeuncles.co.uk/brixton-village

Monday: Closed, Tues to Thurs: Noon to 10:00 pm, Fri to Sat: Noon to 10:30 pm, Sun: Noon to 10:00 pm

Address: Unit 19 & 20, Brixton Village, London SW9 8PR

Telephone: 020 3592 5374

website: threeuncles.co.uk

We visited this restaurant shortly after it opened as there was a buzz in Brixton Village. It is a simple, very understated venue with an open kitchen and tables and stool (you might be very lucky to get a chair). Seating is limited inside, so we sat in the alleyway. No blankets are provided, so in chilly weather wear a coat. The place was crowded with people waiting for tables or takeaway, but we managed to arrive at just the right time and slid onto a two-person table. Be prepared to wait, but waiting just means looking at what others have ordered, so it is a benefit and people didn’t have to wait long. This is part of a chain (3 locations) and Brixton does have a slightly different menu, but not much. It describes itself as providing traditional Cantonese roast meats, lo mein (tossed or stirred noodles) and dim sum. Meat runs throughout the menu with varied forms of duck, chicken or pork. These can be served alone or combined with noodle soup, preserved vegetables or variations of noodles. You can also choose wontons, dumplings, fishballs or bao. They have a few vegetables, and I mean a few, so vegetarians should probably shy away.

We chose what was described as a Brixton Special – the Three Treasures platter (Duck, Char Siu, and Crispy Pork) with jasmine rice and pak choi – washed down with Brixton lager

The meat (and we are not big meat eaters) was fantastic. The duck (in the middle) was crisp and unctuous (always wanted to use that word), the pork (on the left) was indeed crispy and the char siu (on the right) was slightly sweet and aromatic. Rice and pak choi were added to make it to the status of a meal and helped to soak up some of the juices on the platter. The pak choi was crispy but not too difficult to eat with chopsticks.

The bill came to £40 including a 10% service charge and included two beers (£9.00). It provided what it says on the menu and was really tasty. We definitely will visit again to try some of the other offerings with less of a meat content, now we know they are all tasty. We also might visit for a late lunch, which will allow more lingering without the guilt of seeing hungry people hanging around.

Wood and Water

412 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LF

Telephone: 020 3910 1870

email: hello@woodandwater.uk

website: https://woodandwater.uk

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.

Upstairs at the Department Store

Upstairs at the Department Store is a members club that offers a social space and opportunities to discover new friends. The joining list seems to be long as one of us waited a few months before finally being admitted. We are not clubbing people – any sort of clubbing people – but this place offered us the opportunity to book some social spaces for private hire and some spectacular views over Brixton (summer only). The bar is always packed and the restaurant offers a range of interesting food and is linked to the two on the ground floor – Canova Hall and Bellefields (both reviewed in this blog). We went with Brixton friends so we could try as many things as possible, but that wasn’t how it ended up.

Two of us chose gnocchi and the other two the beef tatare. The gnocchi comes with beurre noisette, a parmesan crisp, and wild mushrooms. Gnocchi are always a bit hit and miss – these were light and fluffy, and dare I say it this early into the menu, one of the best things we ate. The beef tartare came with a cointreau cured egg yolk, caponata and a sesame crisp with a sprinkling of pink leaves. The dish was fine but the main complaint was – where is the beef? It was more of a veggie tartare – nice but an affront to the trades description act.

Again our group went for just two dishes – the filet mignon and the duck. The beef came with spinach, brioche, porcini hash browns (delicious) and what was called a “truffle demi-glaze”. All these extra ingredients were good, but the beef could have been rested for longer as it was a bit tough despite having the right sharp knife. The duck was similar – needed more resting and a bit more of a crisp skin.

We liked the spinach and chips and those plates were empty at the end of this course.

We did order desserts but forgot to take a photo. Posh apple crumble, sticky toffee pudding, and an even posher creme brulee. We liked them all.

We washed everything down with sparkling water, a bottle of red wine, 2 glasses of white wine and a sherry. All of which were expensive (£77.50) but we did choose an expensive-ish red. The total bill came to £326.81 for four including a service charge. But this was a whole meal, lasting a few hours and very relaxed. If you choose alcohol wisely then the bill will be significantly reduced – about £62 per person. Members only can make a reservation so you may be treated as a guest. In that case do not turn it down.

The Great Indian Kitchen

Address: 21 Tulse Hill, London SW2 2TH

Hours: Monday to Sunday 12 noon to 11:30 pm

Phone: 020 8671 9343

Just in case you are thinking about an Indian takeaway – then consider this one

If you look for this restaurant on food delivery sites (Just-Eat) it will be the one called The Brixton Cafe. They serve a long list of tasty treats and if you are hungry you will definitely over-order – but then reheated the following day is good too.

We ordered via Just-Eat but you can order and pick it up. The menu we chose follows but there is enough to choose from without being overwhelming: Punjabi samosa chaat (crushed samosa on a bed of chickpeas), tandoori broccoli (see later), Alleppey vegetable curry (with raw mango and coconut), bombay aloo (with cumin), lamb hyderabadi dum biryani (speaks for itself), bread – lacha paratha – and a dessert – watalappam

This is a short description because it was all delicious. We have ordered again, but this time left out the tandoori broccoli – it was a bit hard and not enough of the tandoor spices stuck to this vegetable. Pomegranate seeds gave a sweet burst to some very hot dishes. They do not hold back on the spicing – even when a dish is described as moderately hot so have a tissue or three handy.

The watapallam is a steamed egg custard with jaggery (cane sugar), coconut milk and cardamom – a sweet treat which was very welcome.

The bill came to £52.38 but gave us three separate meals. We have already returned and it remains on our list for the future – well done for introducing another good Indian to Brixton.

La Nonna

Address: 7 Market Row, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LB 

Telephone: 02035896645

Email: ciao@lanonnaldn.com

Website: https://lanonnaldn.com/

Delivery with ubereats and deliveroo

We have tried to get a table by just dropping by and didn’t have any luck so this time we booked online for lunch. Saturday lunchtime is not so busy and there were tables (inside and out) and counter service while we were around. This is a minimalist restaurant – a few photos on the walls and a bar along the wall. It is in the space that used to be Seven. It started in a market elsewhere and moved to Brixton in the summer. The website says that the pasta is made daily with Italian zero zero flour and all the sauces are made in- house and that fresh pasta goes better with butter based sauces and fillings (they say).

They have antipasti, pasta (all fresh of course) dolci (desserts) and even a kids meal section. We chose some foccacia and polpettine di melanzane con bagnacauda di peperoni (aubergine balls with pepper sauce). The foccacia was crispy and salty on the outside and came with olive oil and we wished we had had more to dip into. The aubergine was very good but mainly because the sauce was delicious – I want to know the recipe.

Then we ordered mains – ravioli a la zucca mantanova (pumpkin, leek and ricotta ravioli, with sage butter and 24 month parmesan) see above, and below is Cozze e N’duja tagliolini al nero di seppia (nduja, mussels, anchovy pepper sauce, breadcrumbs). The ravioli were really good and the sauce incredibly rich and delicious, but, not advertised on the menu, was a crumb of biscuit so it was incredibly sweet. The Parmesan was very sparse so I asked for more.

The black pasta with mussels was fantastic – salt might be added as the only salt is the anchovy in the sauce – but that is a little niggle.

We drank the house red and a blood orange San Pellegrino – water came from the tap. The food came to £32.75 and because i was not at all keen on the biscuit addition to the pasta, they offered a free dessert, but by that stage we were too full. We can’t remember what the drinks cost. We will be going back, but will choose wisely and check for potential sweet additions to the pasta mains.

A short bus ride – Rock Steady Rum Lounge

Address: 128 Gipsy Hill, London, SE19 1PL

Telephone: 020 8670 4030

Open For Dine in: Wednesday – Saturday 5pm – 10pm

Deliveries: Tuesday – Saturday 5pm – 10pm, Sunday: 4pm – 9pm

​website: https://www.rocksteadyrumlounge.com/

This is a restaurant next to Bull and Finch where you can get a pre-prandial beer or cocktail – even a good supply of no/low alcohol beer. But the small restaurant on Gypsy Hill is definitely good for a visit. With friendly staff and reasonable food. They have a thriving delivery service, but not many people in the dining room (in fact only the four of us and a couple who came in later). We will tell you now that we didn’t have any rum and, as we live in Brixton, we know how filling festivals are (sweet fried dumplings), so in the interest of trying several dishes we steered clear. We did share a starter but we now cannot remember what it was – the menu online was no help.

So what did we try – Brown Down chicken stew, Jerk Chicken and the fish Escovitch…….with sides of plantain and rice and peas. Totally too much so our advice is to ditch the extras unless you are only having the mains.

We liked the jerk chicken with its crispy skin (warning – it is fiery), and the Escovitch was delightful. We were a little disappointed in the Brown Down Stew as the chicken was a little dry, but the sauce was lovely. Despite not needing the plantain, it was very soft, slightly spiced and was definitely good next to the spicy sauces. The rice and peas was also really tasty.

We also ordered desserts but shared them – lemon tart and a chocolately thing. You don’t need them and they are not inspiring so we suggest going to town on the mains.

We drank beer and homemade lemonade for the designated driver (although you can catch the No. 3 or the 322).

Latelier Patisserie – Xmas treat

Address: Unit 29 Market Row, Brixton

Telephone: 07576589244

Order online from ubereats, deliveroo, goodsixty

We mentioned this cake shop in the 2020 Christmas post, but we like it so much we thought it needed a special place on EatinBrixton. We ordered a Red Velvet cake for a Dad’s birthday, which was gorgeous, but in this post we want to concentrate on the Canelé de Bordeaux. The styles and tastes are different almost every time and, for our readers of course, we decided to buy one of each – 13 on this visit – so we could try them all. These little cakes are cork-shaped fluted pastries and come from Bordeaux, where the nuns are said to have made them. Now you find them all over France. They have a caramelised crust and soft middle.

Momo – the chef from Atelier – lets his imagination run wild with different styles. We used to stick to the passion fruit ones, but have recently decided this is the chocolate season. As you can see in our photo the small indentation at the top allows you to fill it with small oreos, cream and a nut, or fruit, or chocolate creams and small crispy biscuits. Inside is a mixture of lemon curd, chocolate and hazel nuts or… or … we don’t want to spoil the surprise.

We thought that we would reach a conclusion about which ones we liked best – but we loved them all. Try some, or buy a large cake to share or just some of the lovely tarts on offer. The canneles are £2.95 each and a really tasty morsel. They make a change from mince pies, chocolate logs and stollen. They will keep a little while if you choose carefully.

They also sell bread!

Maremma

address: 36 Brixton Water Lane, London SW2 1PE

https://www.maremmarestaurant.com/

We visited Maremma in a brief flurry of going out to dinner earlier this year. We have reviewed it before (see here and here) but just as a reminder, it is all about Tuscan food. They have a short very Italian menu with antipasti, primi, secondi and contourni (vegetables) and then cheese and desserts. We found these photographs on a phone we hardly use, and are stretching our memory to work out what each of them was. The menu changes regularly, so it wouldn’t be that much help, so we are just providing you with some notes. We do remember that it was all good.

As you can see we ordered pasta with seafood, pasta with a ragout and tortellini – all scrumptious. Note that we dived into some of the dishes before remembering our duty to our readers to take photographs. The first photograph after the pasta is a bit baffling – possibly an Italian gaspacho, but I know we ate it all! We did also try for some beef and vegetables, followed by desserts.

We all had a good time, but now have lost the bill. Our advice is to try this place as a treat, as it is expensive especially with cocktails, but the food has never disappointed us.

Kricket

Address: 41-43 Atlantic Road, SW9 8JL

Website: kricket.co.uk/brixton/

Telephone: 020 3826 4090

Opening Hours:

Tues-Thu 5:00pm-10:30pm

Fri & Sat 12pm-10:30pm

Sun & Mon – closed

Kricket has come a long way from the premises in Pop Brixton and we have reviewed it a couple of times (see here and here). We often find it hard to get a table, so we advise booking or going very early. We have complained in the past about the sound level in the main dining room. So we were delighted to be able to sit at a table in the bar, which is less crowded and you can have a reasonable conversation with your companion without getting a sore throat.

Food is not the usual small plates and big plates malarkey but vegetarian, fish, meat and sundries. So we didn’t order fish – seemed simpler to say that and although we were determined on dessert, we never got that far.

Our first was a favourite when they were in Pop Brixton – a Bel Puri – raw mango, tamarind, sev and yogurt. Sev is the crunchy chick pea noodles that are flavoured with turmeric and other spices. It is the sort of thing you get in “bombay mix”. As it is a favourite we were not let down. The size of the portion though was a surprise and from this point onward we knew we had ordered too much for two people.

Next was another favourite and a staple of this restaurant – Samphire Pakoras – fried with samphire with chilli garlic mayo, date and tamarind chutney. This was mostly a success as the samphire can be a bit prickly and we did find a few sticks among the salty greenery. Again a huge portion – plenty for four as a starter.

We always order Tarka Daal – on this menu it is described as – Burnt Garlic Tarka Dal. Sometimes it is too bland, sometimes too watery…. but this time it was perfect – clearly the baby bear’s choice. Choose it from the Sides menu. It was thick and very garlicky and a joy to eat and ….if I haven’t said this before, a largish portion for a “side”. We ordered two parathas to eat it with – on the suggestion of the waitress we didn’t over order these as they do go dry and biscuitty.

We were hungry when we sat down so we also ordered Pork Cheek Vinadloo with fennel, date & pork skin chaat. This was after agreeing with the waitress that it was more like the Goan version than the “blow-the-top-off-male-bravado” type. The fennel added crispness to the soft meat. I tend to steer away from pork because it is so often over-cooked but this was really good. There were some hefty bits of pork scratchings in the mix so beware of your teeth. Perhaps they might scrunch it up a bit more.

Pilau rice – too often a funny colour and overly flavoured but in this case it was again….perfect.

We washed everything down with a fresh lime soda – sweety and salty and their signature cocktail – Dark Matter (green chilli rum, mango, pink peppercorns). Both delicious and although I approve of no straws the Dark Matter ice cubes made my top lip go numb. We followed this with a couple of beers.

The bill with services and everything thrown in was £69.98 but the food was £20 per person and that could have been less if we had worked out portions. We were so used to small plates – don’t make the same mistake. Service was delightful.

Karakana

Address: 443 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LN

https://www.karakana.co.uk/

A new Indian – or not so Indian – restaurant opened in Brixton in the same building as Market Place. Tim Anderson (Masterchef winner) and Rivaaj Maharaj (both in Nanban – see here for a review) are behind this new venture which provides Indian inspired food with a twist. The inside has changed since it’s reincarnation. The music is the not-too-loud kind so you can have a conversation and you sit opposite each other in booths with high backs (potentially Covid-19 proofing). There is a large centre bar that mixes lovely sounding cocktails like – Apricot Rose and a Pino Co-Lassi – that have sweet ingredients that make them more like desserts and they do go down easily. Below see the Apricot Rose and their signature cocktail Karakana (vodka, amaretto, lassi, mango puree and crushed pistachio – at least three of your five-a-day).

The menu is as it says on the tin – eclectic with small plates, big plates and tandoori and a very small dessert list (ice cream), so just choose another cocktail. Vegetarian is marked on the menu and some vegan options can be made to order. Some dishes look nothing like an Indian – Fish and chips and Currywurst, but a closer look at the ingredients shows them to have an Indian twist.

We chose potato salad chaat (with celery, shallots, lime dressing, coriander, peanuts and tamarind sauce) and lotus blossom onion bhaji with spiced yoghurt dip. The salad was crunchy and pretty heavy so do share and the onion bhaji was a whole onion shaped like a lotus blossom and was, as it should be, crispy and great with the dip. There were three of us and the final person chose from the tandoor menu – the Methi Miso Salmon (eclectic!) that came in a fenugreek and miso glaze with tandoori broccoli (although we thought they switched it on the night). The salmon was soft and definitely cooked well with a slippery caramelised outside. What was described as tandoor broccoli split the table – it was very hot, spicy and crunchy so a good foil for the salmon, but it looked innocuous and it definitely was not. Some liked it and others just wanted a health warning on the heat.

We followed this with choices from the large plates – Mutton bourgignon curry, Madrasi Machli and Aubergine Karahi Parmigiano (!). We complemented these with a couple of bowls of steamed rice, and a naan and roti.

The mutton was in a really rich sauce – it was the leg slowly braised in red wine with carrots, potatoes and picked onion. It was spicy, but not so you couldn’t savour the taste of the lamb. The Madras Machli was actually salmon curry simmered in the “house blend of spices from Southern India” – so giving nothing away. The salmon can be easily overpowered by a curry – this wasn’t and I definitely admire the chef’s delicacy with whatever those South Indians use.

The Aubergine was exactly as you might imagine – breaded and fried in a tomato sauce and topped with parmigiano. But the menu description left off any reference to spices and they were there in abundance in the breading and in the tomato sauce. It was how I like this dish, crispy pieces of aubergine with soft insides, any blandness being banished by the tomato sauce.

The menu notes only one dessert, but when we decided to order and discovered that it was in short supply so we had a couple of Hokey Pokey ice creams and a Masala Chai. They come as two large scoops, so plan to ask for a scoop of each and share – it was a labour we endured so that we covered the whole menu, but we were really too full to finish.

We have noticed blogs and comments suggesting this is an expensive meal, but actually we thought it was reasonable. You can cut down on the many courses and the cocktails (£9.50 or so each). We had two cocktails and 2.5 pints of tiger or Coldharbour beer. The total came to a whopping £95.50 with tip, but after removing everything but the food it was £18.25 per head. We will go back as the menu definitely peaked our interest, but this time knowing that unless very hungry we will try to share some dishes.