Duck Duck Goose

Address: Pop Brixton (left avenue) 49 Brixton Station Road, , London, SW9 8PQ

http://www.duckduckgooselondon.com/

Opening times:
Tues-Thurs + Sun: 12-3.30 6.30-10.30
Fri-Sat: 12-4 6.30-11
Mon: Closed
No Reservations

We have been trying to be at least vegetarian in “Vegan January” but this place was too tempting. We thought of posting it in February but that would be cheating, so we are having to own up to a lack of willpower. Duck, Duck, Goose is a small Chinese restaurant in the middle of Pop Brixton that, according to its website, is “inspired by the old school Hong Kong cafes and roast meat shops” and will be “informal, affordable and buzzy.” Housed in a single shipping container it’s certainly cosy. Overall our reaction is favourable, although this is still work in progress. Continue reading

Courtesan – Female Only Wine List

Check out our update review here

address: 69-73 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU

telephone: 0208 127 8677

http://www.thecourtesan.co.uk/

Last week we were invited down to one of our dinner staples, Courtesan for a brindisi to celebrate the launch of their first female-only wine list. Through my very hazy memory (there was a lot of alcohol consumption!) their reasoning behind the launch was that they wanted to highlight the rise in female wine makers in the world. Plus apparently a trhird of women are ‘super tasters’, meaning we are the bomb when it comes to pairing up flavours. Plus as dim sum is one world’s oldest cuisines, all about decadence and flavour, what better food to pair it with. It’s also vital to note that a female chef, Fengjuan, took over the kitchen six months ago and has revitalised the dim sum based menu.

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Courtesan update

address: 69-73 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU

telephone: 0208 127 8677

http://www.thecourtesan.co.uk/

This is a little gem, filling a place in Brixton for a classier Chinese restaurant and there is lots more to read about from us here (click here for our previous post). There is now an extension  downstairs which feels like you are entering an opium den with precipitous stairs and a dark interior. But this downstairs room is surprisingly spacious and would be great for an intimate party.

Our round table for 5 was set up in a corner and other guests were around much larger table for about 12 to 18.

Dim Sum is a sort of Chinese tapas – small plates or steamer baskets of highly flavoured food to share. There are lots to choose from – steamed, fried, baked or grilled and covered in pastry, cotton wool, see through or flaky. Courtesan has enhanced the Chinese dishes with some Brixton flavours like jerk chicken sticky rice in a lotus leaf or the jerk ribs.

This  short post is just to say the food is even better. The fried squid was wonderful, jerk ribs soft and spicy and the grilled sea bass a brilliant way to start the meal. All our dishes were a delight. We had only a few as we had eaten our first course at home in case it was impossible to have a conversation – but it wasn’t. Despite the noise we contributed to the mayhem with political arguments and disagreements about student loans. The bill was about £21.00 per person including cocktails but those who are hungrier should expect to pay more as we had 8 dishes. Continue reading

Mama Lan

Address: Unit 18, Brixton Village Market SW9 8PR

http://www.mamalan.co.uk

We reviewed this restaurant early on in our blog and decided to revisit to ensure it was up to the same standard … in fact we visited several times just to be sure. One reason for returning was because Mama Lan has now opened more locations and we wanted to know if it was possible to maintain the high standards we found when it first opened. It is eponymously named after the chef’s mother and it serves Beijing street food. One difference is that the inside of Mama Lan has been remodelled to make the kitchen more accessible and still leave room for a few customers. Each table is for two and larger groups will have to shuffle the tables to make them more sociable.

This time we visited on a Sunday and early – we wanted a more leisurely brunch, so sat down about 12.30 with a choice of places to sit.  Situated at the main cross roads in Brixton Village it is great for people watching as the Village fills up at 1.00 pm. The menu at Mama Lan is not taxing – a couple of soups which seem to contain everything and lots of it, dumplings (5 to a plate) and, as side dishes, chicken wings, vegetable balls and seaweed salad. We headed into the dumplings (pork and Chinese leaf and the vegetarian version – Woodear mushroom, spinach and vermicelli noodle) and we also chose a portion of spicy chicken wings. We thought we would need other choices for three people but it turned out none of us had a large appetite that day.

With a minimalistic decor and straightforward menu this place knows what it’s about and for a short Sunday lunch seemed ideal. We really liked the dumplings with the pickled carrot and cabbage accompaniment. Our favourite was the vegetarian ones as they had a more interesting texture. The pork, although tasty, was a bit dangerous as the sauce sprayed out as soon as you bit into it. The chicken wings arrived first and were well cooked, spicy without being overpowering and juicy. We mention this last word because as we ate we couldn’t prevent ourselves from comparing this restaurant with the one in Market Row – Happy Dumplings. The food was just not comparable – in Happy Dumpling the chicken wings were like sawdust and the dumplings were best forgotten.

Mama_lan4 Mama_lan5

Mama_lan3We washed everything down with a pot of Monkey Paw green tea, a bottle of Tsing Tao beer and a China Sour mocktail (apricot and lime juice).

It cost a mere £16.50 for drinks and food and we left with satisfied – although we did pop along to Lab G for an ice cream to complete the meal. We will definitely be visiting both Lab G and Mama Lan again.

 

Happy Dumplings

happy_dumpling02

address: 30 Market Row  Brixton, SW9 8LD

This is an unprepossessing restaurant in Market Row which competes with Prima Donna and Provincial on the opposite side of the alleyway. It goes in for small plastic tablecloth coated tables inside or outside the restaurant with plastic chairs (outside) or plastic stools (inside) and a variety of leftover silver decorations from the Chinese New Year or Xmas. It started off in the early days of the transformation of Brixton market as just a small stall offering takeaways, but it has grown over the years, taking over adjoining units. Between us we’ve eaten there a few times but have never felt it lived up to it’s promise – Brixton could do with a really good mainstream Chinese restaurant. But now it does look like a proper sit down restaurant and often seems to be crowded, so we decided we had to give it another go. In the event, we don’t think the other restaurants have much to worry about in terms of competition.

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Wing Tai Supermarket

Wing_Tai0413 Electric Avenue

SW9 8JY

Tel:  020 7738 5898

This is the second in our reviews where we have set ourselves the task of buying all the ingredients (or at least the majority) for a meal from one local shop. We lay out the prices, what they have and hopefully promote buying from local shops in Brixton. This time the dish is Pad Thai and the place to go for all the ingredients is the Wing Tai supermarket in Electric Avenue. Pad Thai is one of those dishes where everyone has their favourite recipe – I’ve used the one on the BBC food website http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/padthai_67953 I’m not an expert but the end result is reasonably similar to the sort of thing I got at cheap local restaurants years ago when in Thailand.

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Courtesan Dim Sum

Courtesan Dim Sum

69-73 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU

0208 127 8677

This is a little gem, filling a place in Brixton for a classier Chinese restaurant. The unassuming entrance leads into a bar area filled with golden birdcages and low lights. The restaurant decor is not the eclectic throw it together kind – it is simple with matching tables and comfortable chairs and benches. Lighting is Chinese style but not on the bling side – no red lanterns. It is an area of calm – until the tables begin to be filled.

This is a Dim Sum restaurant with a Brixton flare. We have the usual steamed Dim Sum (prawn, chicken and roast pork) but there is the oddball of jerk chicken in rice wrapped in a palm leaf. This looked relatively unassuming when it arrived – just green on the outside and white on the inside. But it was really delicious – full of ginger with not a hint of chilli but a big dose that grew in warmth but didn’t overpower the delicate rice and the really well cooked chicken.

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