The Beast of Brixton

UpstairsAddress: 89B Acre Lane, entrance on Branksome Road, SW2 5TN

Telephone: 020 7733 8855

email: hello@thebeastofbrixton.com

http://www.thebeastofbrixton.co.uk/

 

 

Although the restaurant overlooks Acre Lane the door is in Branksome Road and even with these instructions it can be missed. There is a doorbell just round the corner of Acre Lane and a discreet notice. Gone is loved Upstairs and to replace it we have a bar with food with the unlikely and unlovely name of the Beast of Brixton. The first noticeable change is the speakeasy-imagelooking door on Branksome Road is now open if you push it. Up the stairs you find the same two small rooms one with a bar and the other an extension with seating for about 20 people. The interior is different with only the long beige couches left on either floor from the previous owners. The walls are now covered with colours and on each floor there is a feature wall of silver or flock skulls. As I said an unlovely name and unlovely walls.

This is really a bar with snacks which are small or large plates. The bar has a few drinks options – cocktails, wine and beer – but limited doesn’t mean uninteresting. The cocktails are cheap by Brixton standards and so are the other drinks and they sell it in the right quantities, i.e. 125ml glasses of wine are available here.

Each week they are now going to have a pop-up chef. We missed the Japanese street food and were there on the first night of El Marinero. Pop-ups seem to be all street food that can be prepared in the very small kitchen on the top floor so they will probably be chefs used to a van at a street market. Again the choice is limited – about 6 small and 5 large plates. Plates is a misnomer as they are served in a cardboard box. As El Marinero implies this week it is Spanish fish dishes like whitebait, scallops and chorizo and squid. Large plates are served with spinach salad (well more of a garnish) and rice.

BoB02We chose scallops and chorizo and the squid with a small plate of fried chillies. The chillies are not for the faint-hearted. The first bite is sweet and warm but that is before you get to the seeds which are fantastically hot. In fact the menu did warn that it was hot but as we left we noticed they had changed it to “very hot”. They came with a sweet tomato sauce and a lemony mayonnaise. The squid was cooked perfectly with enough flaked salt and pepper to make it interesting. The scallops were also cooked well, soft but not slimy.BoB06BoB05

The chef came out and gave us an extra dish – whitebait – which was to the same high standard.

 

BoB01We drank a Verdita (coriander, vodka and green chilli) which was a shock at first but very interesting and not too much like an alcopop, a rum, sorrel and spiced hibiscus (which was too sweet) and a glass of white wine. The whole lot came to £30.00. So for a fast food and cocktail restaurant this is reasonable value. But this is not fine dining but the food was good and the menu will change each week so there will always be something new to try.

Shrub and Shutter

ss01

address: 336 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8QH

telephone: 020 7326 0643

info@shrubandshutter.co.uk

http://theshrubandshutter.com/

This is a new venture – so new that it doesn’t have a large sign but just a discreet one fitted earlier on the day we visited. So when you get to Brixton Village, just keep walking down Coldharbour Lane but keep a look out, as it’s easy to miss. It lies in an unlikely position on a stretch that has plenty of restaurants (see our post about Majestic), but none of these are for the higher end of the food market. It’s opposite the Barrier Block, between a Morley’s Fried Chicken and a Fish and Chip shop. This is a new bar/restaurant with a narrow frontage but stretching back a long way so don’t be put off if it looks full from outside. The front part is really a bar with two tables for four and some bar stools around the edges. The back room has many more tables and is set for the evening dinner trade. It was opened by two entrepreneurs Chris Edwards and Dave Tregenza who have 25 years of experience in the industry. I don’t know whether that is by drinking or preparing the cocktails but they do describe themselves as drinks impresarios and we have to agree that they are very creative – more of that later. There’s been some discussion on the Urban 75 Brixton forum here. Continue reading

Unit 16

Unit16

address: Unit 16 Market Row Brixton

This is a small pop-up in Market Row just next to Salon. We have passed it several times and it has always been full or filling up but on this Friday night it was empty when we arrived and they were “just setting up”. This was a bit of a surprise as it was after 7.00pm and they were clearly missing the first wave of people eating before going off to the Ritzy. They also told us that they had no food except bar snacks – so we left to get something to line our stomachs. On our return through the market we popped in again. This time there were a few others – now about 8.00pm – we were still worried that this place would not survive.

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The Botanical – pop-up cocktails

address: 65 Brixton Village Market, Coldharbour lane, London, SW9 8PS

telephone: 07919542233

emailt: Brixtoncornercopia@googlemail.com

http://brixtoncornercopia.co.uk

Botanicals is a pop-up cocktail bar in Brixton Village which is in one of the main parts of Cornercopia. Look for the large martini glass in lights. There is no booking for the bar but it is open just after the sun goes under the year arm so if you get there early you are allowed to use the tables outside and inside until diners arrive.

We visited on a Tuesday and it was empty, so a seat in the alleyway watching the Village fill up was perfect. The list of cocktails is not extensive -only 10 – but they are all definitely unusual. The ingredients have a bias towards the English fare served in the restaurant with Boxer Gin and Old Salt Rum and Chase Vodka (which according to their website is best in the world above Russian makes). Some of their bitters come from across the alleyway – Federation Coffee bitters.

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