Hakkasan – a special present delivery

Takeaway website – https://hakkasan.com/mayfair/delivery-takeaway/

We ate it in Brixton, but it didn’t come from Brixton. Hakkasan is a Cantonese restaurant in Bruton Street, Mayfair – we know it isn’t open, so we couldn’t squeeze it into our five minute bus ride section. But it was a Christmas present and we think that every now and again we need a bit of a boost with a high class meal – this was it for the month. The website talks about the Michelin star and that it has “…dishes inspired by ancient recipes”. It has a fantastic menu and a fantastic way to begin the Year of the Ox

Our set menu for two included starters of Classic steamed dim sum and Crispy pork salad, main dishes of Stir-fry black pepper rib eye beef with Merlot, Grilled Chilean sea bass in honey, Black truffle roasted duck, stir fried pak choi and Steamed jasmine rice. This is a lot of food for one evening so we left the duck for the next day.

I think I will run out of hyperbole in describing the food – the dim sum was pretty and incredible, the pork – just as it is described crispy and the best (I am not prone to over-promising) the best I have ever had). the beef was peppery, the fish just cooked (they clearly solved the scientific equation for cooking and steaming on the Deliveroo journey), while the next day’s duck was easily eaten and came with homemade rice and vegetables.

No more words – just pictures.

We were delighted to receive a promissory note for this posh dinner as Christmas present from a friend. So we don’t know the cost, but we would like to thank him again for such a fabulous gift.

Chinese Week during Lockdown

The Year of the Ox has started, so it is Chinese week. It began with a blow-out meal from Hakkasan, which we didn’t quite finish. So with the leftovers we produced a duck inspired meal with wok fried vegetables and jasmine rice – both from the Chinese supermarket in Electric Avenue. None of the pictures looks that appetising, but they were all delicious.

We love mushrooms (Tesco’s finest) so this is again a stir fry with seaweed and coriander – again from the Chinese supermarket

Mapo tofu – tofu again from the Chinese supermarket. They have loads of things to browse but it is difficult to choose one type of soy sauce from the many on offer. But they do have some that is gluten free. The only problem with Mapo tofu is the grit from the ground Sichuan pepper that never seems to be in small enough grains.

To make a change from rice, our last dish in Chinese week was spicy spinach (chili spice) with noodles – an incredibly tasty but fantastically easy dish to make. A long time family favourite that introduced the children to spicy food. Back then the only place to buy oriental ingredients was the little Chinese store in the long-lost Station Arcade.

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.

Courtesan

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address: 69-73 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU

telephone: 0208 127 8677

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

Opening times:
Monday                               noon–11pm
Tuesday                               6pm–11pm
Wednesday & Thursday   noon–11pm
Friday to Sunday               noon–midnight

We have reviewed this Chinese restaurant a few times before (see here, here and here). The fact that it hasn’t moved on, as so many others have, suggests it is definitely meeting a market. We thought we would try it at lunchtime, rather than our usual evening meal ventures. It was empty, so no need to book and plenty of time and quiet for a good natter. There is a dining room downstairs but we sat upstairs, all alone in a window seat.

The menu is full of Dim Sum (a sort of Chinese tapas). But as well as steamed, fried, baked or grilled buns there are also lotus leaf parcels and Courtesan has tried to fit into the Brixton vibe with jerk chicken sticky rice in a lotus leaf or the jerk ribs. Continue reading

Mamalan

https://eatinbrixton.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/mama_lan.jpg

Unit 18, Brixton Village, SW9 8PR

https://www.mamalan.co.uk/

OPENING TIMES

Monday 12:00 noon – 4:00pm

Tuesday – Sunday 12:00 noon – 10:00pm

We haven’t reviewed this restaurant for four years (see here and here), so  a revisit was essential. Mamalan is named after the chef’s mother and serves Beijing street food. They have developed a thriving takeaway and delivery service and spread its wings from Brixton to a couple of other venues. We needed to give up people watching to concentrate on other things so we chose to eat inside. Although there are tables for two or four they are really squeezed in, so you need to do a bit of mountain climbing to settle into place.

The Village fills up at 1.00 pm and so to make sure we had a table we arrived at opening time, 12.00. The menu isn’t taxing – four soups, three rice dishes, a salad and side dishes which all warn you about the level of chilli. Side dishes include hot chicken wings (“some say the best in London” – a bold comment in the heart of jerk chicken land). We ordered the Wonton Noodle soup and the Sweet Chili Chicken rice which were easily enough for lunch.

The Chicken lived up to its name, crispy chicken pieces with sticky sauce on rice with a little side salad.

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The Wonton soup was also pronounced delicious, but the broth didn’t have much depth of flavour. The menu described it as “light” so was definitely not oversold. There were plenty of pork and prawn wantons.

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Both bowls were demolished and were washed down with a ginger ale and a can of diet coke. My only complaint – plastic straws. The bill came to  £27.50 for a very satisfying meal.

 

Tiger and Pig

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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

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.

Continue reading

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.

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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.