Canova Hall

address: 250 Ferndale Road SW9 2BQ

telephone: 020 7733 8356

bookings@canovahall.com

https://www.canovahall.com/

We usually wait until we have had a few trips to a new restaurant before we review, but on this occasion we really wanted to provide them with some feedback.

This new restaurant is based in an iconic building which used to be an annex of the Bon Marche department state and was subsequently used as the Brixton Post Office. The renovated interior is designed by Red Deer with the usual exposed brick, pipes and a long Edwardian style panelled bar. Most seats are banquette style which seat 6 people at a squeeze but there are tables outside and inside for bigger parties. Not only do they offer meals and a fully stocked bar with plenty of small vat gins but you can also hot desk with a sessional card which allows bottomless coffee. So were were pretty excited when six of us went for Sunday Brunch.

Brunch menus offer a mix of alcoholic cocktails, a selection of egg dishes, pasta and, of course, a bacon sandwich. The big bacon sandwich was just that – big. Three slices of toasted sour dough with bacon, eggs, and the spicy tomato ketchup (mushrooms were missing on mine) with chips. The chips were delicious but toasting the bread was a complete mistake. You needed good teeth and a sawing method with a knife to get through the thick crust. We advise thinner slices or less crust to begin with.

American pancakes were more like welsh cake size – small and perfectly formed but not the gross US style but were perfectly edible. The Italian baked eggs didn’t need to be called Italian but were also OK. Finally the Chef’s meatballs (‘Nduja tomato sauce, parmesan with pecorino, lemon & red onion focaccia) was also OK but came about 15 minutes after everyone else’s food but we filled him up on the chips.

We washed it all down with three or four cocktails and coffee. One of us had the ‘bottomless mimosa’ but the service was so slow there was no chance of making good use of the option.

This lack lustre review is because we were left without any attention unless we overcame our natural inhibition and grabbed a waitress. Coffee came quickly, cocktails came slowly (took half an hour) and the food took an hour to appear after we managed to order it (more than 90 minutes after we arrived) and then not all the dishes at the same time. We saw every single member of the waiting staff and no-one seemed to be in charge of looking after our table. We were relatively early (11 am booking). The place was full by 1.00 pm and we have no idea if late arrivers got their food by the end of service although other reviews we’ve seen suggest that our experience was fairly typical.

Sunday brunch is a time to relax with family and friends and we were happy to do so but not when anxious that we would be forgotten yet again. This is a management failure in terms of the training and allocation of staff. The bar was within spitting distance and we should have had our drinks in short order. By the time that brunch arrived we were all fed up with the place.

We wish them well in the future and we will make another attempt when they’ve got their act together. The bill (which was wrong on the first attempt) came to £126.00 for six. We didn’t leave a tip.

Smoke & Salt – Pop Brixton

Address: Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, London SW9 8PQ

Telephone: 07421 327556

http://www.smokeandsalt.com/

A new addition to Pop Brixton in the restaurant/shipping container that used to be Kricket. This is a quality small plates restaurant and maybe, like Kricket it will end up in Soho. The layout has changed just a little, with the long passage with a few tables inside and a high bar whilst outside for the foolhardy, are tables for four. The three of us shared the only inside table that takes more than two people – it was cosy.

The short menu is in three parts and the advice for the three of us was to choose two from each section and potentially one on top for the very hungry. We stuck to six dishes so we had room – but not much – for dessert. All dishes arrived at a leisurely pace so we could linger over each and all are small enough not to fill you up but are large enough to share.

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

Salon – Upstairs at Cannon and Cannon

address   – 18 Market Row, Brixton, SW98LD

telephone: 0207 5019152

email:  info@salonbrixton.co.uk

http://www.cannonandcannon.com/restaurant/

Salon won our eatinbrixton annual poll a couple of years ago and so on a slow night with nothing in the fridge and a lack of ingenuity we managed to get an early booking to try it again. See here and here for our previous reviews. Continue reading

The Clink – HM Prison Brixton

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Her Majesty’s Prison Brixton, Jebb Avenue, London SW2 5XF
Telephone: 020 8678 9007
Email: brixton@theclinkrestaurant.com
Website: http://theclinkcharity.org/the-clink-restaurants/brixton-london/

This establishment has seen Mick Jagger, George Lansbury (Labour Leader in ‘30s), Bertrand Russell and Giggs (Peckham rapper) and now a contingent from eatinbrixton. We are, of course, reviewing the restaurant in the heart of Brixton Prison that is run by The Clink Charity (link here) and staffed by prisoners working towards their NVQs in Hospitality and Catering. They provide breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday and we opted for the lunchtime sitting at 12.

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Pedler – a 5 minute bus ride away

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Address:: 58 Peckham Rye, Peckham, London SE15 4JR

Telephone:  020 30305015

website: http://www.pedlerpeckhamrye.com/

We thought we would travel further afield and go to the nearest hipster area – upcoming Peckham. This restaurant styles itself as “Your vibrant neighbourhood eatery, set up by a team that live in and love Peckham.” How could we resist, especially for a special treat on a weekday to entertain a guest. The smallish restaurant has a bar and mostly 4 person tables so they have two sittings between 7.45 and 9.00 and allow two hours. We hit the 7.30 one. Our four person team were shown to a table in the space near the toilets (worth a visit for a look at the décor) but really close to the kitchen where all the action is.

Dinner comes as a series of plates one at a time so you share, making it all very communal with lots of time for conversation. The plates are different in size but you can only tell that by the price. Dishes and influences come from all over the world, although the ingredients are sourced relatively locally.

We chose a series of smaller and larger dishes including: chilli & bean arancini, patatas bravas, tuna, mac and cheese, veal belly, fried chicken, beef suet pudding with a side order of beef dripping chips.

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The service is slow, but deliberately so, and it does allow you to savour each dish, But with four of us it might have been easier if we had two dishes at any one time. The starving fell on each dish as it arrived and it was a bit of a scrum at the beginning (you can tell by the pictures which were often taken as an afterthought). We really loved the beef suet pudding and the mac and cheese (we ordered two!). The chicken was very spicy so might have had a bit of a warning, but despite that the plate was wiped clean. Sometimes there was a detail or two we would have changed (e.g. crispier fat on the veal) but we thought everything was high quality and interesting. We failed to take a picture of that day’s menu but you can see by the pictures that all looks pretty.

We also ordered puddings – some to share including chocolate mousse and  treacle sponge. We enjoyed them but occasionally there was a slightly bum note as one of our company lost a tooth in the very sticky caramel but we don’t blame that on the restaurant.

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We washed the food down with cocktails and some wine. The bill (including £33.50 of alcohol) came to £113 for four people which we thought a bargain. When we have another set of guests in the neighbourhood we will definitely go again. An exciting place that is pushing boundaries and definitely somewhere to celebrate. Our loyalty to Brixton is undiminished but, if pressed, it does seem that currently the food scene in Peckham is a bit more interesting.

 

 

 

The Chip Shop

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address: 378 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LF  (on the corner with Atlantic Road)

tel: 07894 353561

email: info@chipshopbxtn.co.uk

website: http://www.chipshopbxtn.com/#!home/c9l

Opening hours:

Tuesday to Thursday: 11:30pm – 3pm / 6pm – 11:30pm

​Friday to Sunday: 10am to 11:30pm

​Monday CLOSED

I suspect our readers have made New Year Resolutions about increased physical activity, weight reduction and are perhaps even partaking in Dry January. But there is no chance of fulfilling any resolutions if you go to Chip Shop this month.

This new restaurant opened in the first week of November and is already pulling in the punters. It was opened by the people who own The Brixton Village Grill in Brixton Village. They sell…. wait for it … fish and chips but this is not the usual takeaway (although you can take it away if you want to). It labels itself as a hip hop chip shop and we can vouch for the steady stream of music which definitely does not stay in the background. Small and perfectly formed tables of two, three or four allow for reasonable conversation.

The menu has the usual cod and haddock but then it also has sea bass, monkfish, lobster and specials like swordfish. We chose a starter between the two of us – scallops with chorizo on a bed of samphire, which was easily enough for two.The scallops were cooked as they should be and the samphire wasn’t  woody but still had a good crunch.

To follow we had a special – swordfish – and the fishcake. Most of the mains, although not the fishcake,  come with two of the following: rice, chips and salad. We watched the monkfish and chorizo for other diners come by on skewers hung upside down and a really large lobster but our meal proved to be more than a match for the “show”.

The swordfish, which is a meaty fish anyway, was also enough for two, especially with the salad and chips plus some beans we had ordered as a side.cs05

The salmon and haddock fishcake was of the same size and it doesn’t come with chips, although it really needs an accompaniment to make it interesting. Perhaps it would be better as a lunch dish and, anyway, it now seems to have disappeared from the menu..cs04

We fitted in a shared dessert of pannetone bread and butter pudding. This was not up to the standard of the other parts of the meal as it was a hefty slab – no lightness that you would have expected from the pannetone. Clearly it was chilled and then heated and perhaps they need to consider another option. If you ate this for lunch you would be asleep all afternoon. The cheesecake or the sticky toffee pudding might have been better choices.

cs02We washed it all down with tap water and a Sangres beer. The total bill for two was £42.65, before adding a tip and we thought this was value for money. We had really good food, the service was attentive and we came out really full. We ate at 8.00pm but by 9.00pm it was very full, so choose your time carefully. We will be back, with the £20 whole grilled lobster a likely target.