Ekcovision

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address: 15 Atlantic Rd, Brixton, SW9 8HX

telephone: 020 7274 7182

website: http://ekcovision.com/

OPENING HOURS

Monday               5.30 pm       Midnight

Tuesday               5.30 pm       Midnight

Wednesday        5.30 pm       Midnight

Thursday             11 am       3 am

Friday                   11 am       3 am

Saturday              11 am        3 am

Sunday                 11 am       Midnight

Last entrance: 2 am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

This is one of the newer bar/cafés to open in Brixton and is probably the bravest, as it is in one of the arches planned for closure and rehabilitation by Network Rail. It describes itself as having “an intimate 1920’s speakeasy setting” and is aimed mainly at the evening crowd. But we went to have brunch late one Sunday morning, when is more in the café mode. Although not mentioned on its website, this runs from Thursday to Sunday from about 11.30am to 5.00pm. You can eat anywhere in Ekcovision – there a tables and chairs; booths with bench seats; and, for those who want a quiet time, the upstairs “Den” is really out of the way.

We sat downstairs, next to the door onto Brixton Station Road. Unfortunately the doors never closed properly and were after left ajar. But, given that it was a cold morning, this helped in a way as it created a community with other brunchers, as we all took turns to close them.

ecko04They have a short menu of pastries (croissants and the like), a full meat or veggie breakfast, soup of the day and various styles for poached eggs (Benedict, Florentine, etc.). We chose a veggie breakfast and an eggs Florentine, washed down with an Americano and pot of English Breakfast tea. It was all very relaxing and we didn’t have to wait long until all the dishes and drinks arrived, although then my dish had to be returned as it was the Benedict not the Florentine. The veggie breakfast was straight-forward, with the potatoes bought-in, most-likely frozen. But the eggs were fresh and it was tasty and filling.

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I assumed that they would just re-plate the poached eggs for my mistaken dish but they actually cooked a new batch. This took a little longer but we were in no hurry and when they arrived they were still piping hot but not overcooked. You can’t say much about an English muffin, so I won’t, but the Hollandaise sauce was great. I suspect that it probably wasn’t really “Homemade”, as described on the menu, but it did have lots of lemon and, when served, the dish had been seasoned with black pepper. So there is attention to detail.

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The whole bill was £18.50 for the two of us. We couldn’t fault it and we would probably return.

Tem Ban at The Lido Café

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Address: Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA

Phone: 0207 737 8183/07969 534 218

Email: info@thelidocafe.co.uk

http://www.tembanthai.co.uk/

Pop-ups keep appearing, with many not living up to the hype, but this one sounded too interesting not to try.  A reported connection to trendy Smoking Goat made it a must try. The first thing we need to tell all our readers is to book, as on our visit every table was full. While the run of this pop-up has been extended, it’s only open in the evening on Thursdays and Fridays (and possibly Saturdays) until 5th March.

You can find a description of the normally daytime only Lido Café here. There was little change with the pop-up, although we did think it looked smarter with the fairy lights.  The menu, which is on the website, isn’t too taxing, although there are specials as well as the list. It comes as small or large plates. For small plates we chose the deep fried grey mullet & star fruit salad and the nam prik pao (Deep fried shredded pigs’ ears & puffed pig skin served with burnt sour red chilli sauce). Well who can resist a shredded pig’s ear. From the large plates we chose hang lae, (Chang Mai curry of pork belly, served with ginger & peanuts) which came with yellow sticky rice and a khao soi gai (free range chicken, curried noodles served with crispy noodles). We ordered a side of stir fried morning glory with oyster mushrooms and yellow beans.

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We were a bit disappointed with the pig’s ear, as some of the crispy skin was pretty chewy, but the mullet and salad was fantastic. For the mains we thought both dishes were intricate and delicately flavoured (although I did need a tissue for the runny nose). We could have done without the side dish which was disappointing and didn’t stand up to the flavours in the other dishes, although was a bit of a relaxation from the chilli.

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We ended the meal with a dessert of sticky coconut rice and mango. We were warned we could share and that would definitely be our advice. It is a large heap of carbohydrate and the sweetest mango with coconut milk sauce  – delicious but if you want to stay in the same waist size, don’t order two.

We turned down cocktails (e.g. Watermelon Bellini and Tamarind Whiskey Sour) in favour of a glass of Salantino red wine and glasses of tap water (after failing dry January one of us is attempting Free-from-February). Service was fine and, while a bit slow, this suited us as we were looking for a relaxing  occasion. The only problem was that the dishes came from the kitchen in no particular order and so dinner for two meant one person watching while the other ate. They probably need more help in the kitchen, so that dishes come out in twos and threes and not one at a time. Pop-ups are inevitably work in progress and we are sure things will improve with practice.

The whole meal cost £56.05 including service but if you want to try this pop-up you’ll need to move fast.

 

Carioca

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address:   25-27 Market Row, Brixton,  SW9 8LD

http://www.primadonnabrixton.co.uk

This is formally Prima Donna and has now become definitely authentic Brazilian so it now has a USP (unique selling point).  It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and not much has changed except the menu since its earlier incarnation. There are a few tables inside and they are not crowded together so you can hear yourself think above the music – much more Brazilian than previously. There are also tables in the market corridor.

Breakfast is a full English or with a twist (smoked iberico pancetta, free-range scrambled eggs & baked tomato slices on ciabatta – showing multiple influences again as iberico is from Spain and pancetta from Italy). You can be very conservative with the hamburger made with Brazilian beef (seems a long way to go for that ingredient). But we arrived in the evening – 7.00pm to miss the crowds. There is a fixed price two course menu and we chose from that one as it had all the interest we needed. It also did offer an excessive choice, which is something we are both wary . For starters there were – spicy chicken wings. braised beef empanadas, beetroot and blue cheese salad and Pao de queijo with choizo (a sort of cheese roll usually made with cassava flour but we didn’t try this one). The main course were Feijoada described as Brazil’s national dish. A stew made from black beans cooked with an assortment of meat (chorizo, pork ribs, beef and pork); Chicken Caipira – braised chicken; Arepa, which is a flatbread made of maize filled (or they say stuffed) with pulled beef and vegetables; and finally Courgette, Potato and Leek Frittata, which is an explanation in itself. THe main menu also has more grilled items like spare ribs and steak and cassava chips. Continue reading

The Lido Café

The Lido Café

Address: Dulwich Road, Brockwell Lido SE24 0PA

Phone: 0207 737 8183

Email: info@thelidocafe.co.uk

http://www.thelidocafe.co.uk

Having wanted to visit this place for some time, we took a whim and headed down on a Wednesday evening to check the place out. As a child I frequented Brockwell Park and the Lido many times, although back then the food was usually a cheap and cheerful burger, chips and a coke. Therefore the idea of going back there to fill out stomachs has never been particularly appealing. However after hearing so many good things about this place we knew we had to check it out.

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Prima Donna

address:   25-27 Market Row, Brixton,  SW9 8LD

http://www.primadonnabrixton.co.uk

I never wanted to start a review with the sentence ‘The problem with this restaurant is…’ but I don’t feel creative enough to say it another way. So … the problem with this restaurant is its USP (unique selling point). It has an Italian name, a Portuguese/Brazilian style of food at dinner and it plays music from Radio 1. Described as an cafe/restaurant the breakfast menu looks English yet lunch seems to be more Brazilian. I quite like novelty but this is so eclectic that may be difficult for passers by to understand (and be drawn to) its open doors. This is a shame as it probably deserves encouragement.

This is a new restaurant in Market Row rather than in Brixton Village and it builds a new epicurean alleyway particularly as the Village is getting fuller and fuller and hard for the casual visitor to be sure of getting fed. Small tables (for two) are inside and outside. Its white walls have little adornment (well there isn’t much wall in there) and across the back wall is the kitchen.

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Rosie’s Cafe

Address:

14e Market Row,

Brixton Market, SW9

Telephone: 07807 505397

http://rosielovell.co.uk/

booking: rosie@delicafe.com

Rosie’s is one of the older venue’s in Market Row. It is a very small cafe during the day and will do dinner in the evening in the latter part of the week but only if you book. During the day Rosie’s offer’s sandwiches, wraps and limited hot food.  The excellent sandwiches are not cheap but worth it. The addition of a small amount of salad though doesn’t justify the hike in cost particularly when the salad promised so much but in the end they had run out of stuff.

This is a small perfectly formed cafe/deli – about eight tables closely packed with a mixture of old school tables and chairs. You insert yourself into a space and almost everyone needs to move when you need to get out again. It is styled in the 50s with things you might want to buy but unless you have been sitting there for a while you don’t notice they have them as its part of the background.

So you go to Rosie’s for some good food (probably organic) or more likely to hang out with a coffee and a cake. The menu changes regularly and the website hadn’t been updated for many months but based on my last visit I recommend their hot salt beef sandwiches mainly because it is difficult nowadays to get one so cheap yet so tasty!

You can go to the “supper club” starting at 7.00pm on Thursday and costing £30 per head. AN UPDATE – Rosie’s is now opening late on Thursday and Friday and you don’t need to book although it is advisable.

This is BYO so make sure that you bring some along as there isn’t much wine nearby on Coldharbour Lane but plenty of beer. On our night it was lamb ragou and couscous with pickled lemon followed by earl grey rice pudding -both delicious. We also had scented chocolate truffles that came with tea (our choice instead of masala coffee) at the end of the meal. The tea (and the rice pudding) was served in lovely delicate cups. Of the truffles there were some that were very, very good and some were more of an experiment you might not repeat.

Rosie has already produced one cookery book and she is now writing her second.