Karakana

Address: 443 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LN

https://www.karakana.co.uk/

A new Indian – or not so Indian – restaurant opened in Brixton in the same building as Market Place. Tim Anderson (Masterchef winner) and Rivaaj Maharaj (both in Nanban – see here for a review) are behind this new venture which provides Indian inspired food with a twist. The inside has changed since it’s reincarnation. The music is the not-too-loud kind so you can have a conversation and you sit opposite each other in booths with high backs (potentially Covid-19 proofing). There is a large centre bar that mixes lovely sounding cocktails like – Apricot Rose and a Pino Co-Lassi – that have sweet ingredients that make them more like desserts and they do go down easily. Below see the Apricot Rose and their signature cocktail Karakana (vodka, amaretto, lassi, mango puree and crushed pistachio – at least three of your five-a-day).

The menu is as it says on the tin – eclectic with small plates, big plates and tandoori and a very small dessert list (ice cream), so just choose another cocktail. Vegetarian is marked on the menu and some vegan options can be made to order. Some dishes look nothing like an Indian – Fish and chips and Currywurst, but a closer look at the ingredients shows them to have an Indian twist.

We chose potato salad chaat (with celery, shallots, lime dressing, coriander, peanuts and tamarind sauce) and lotus blossom onion bhaji with spiced yoghurt dip. The salad was crunchy and pretty heavy so do share and the onion bhaji was a whole onion shaped like a lotus blossom and was, as it should be, crispy and great with the dip. There were three of us and the final person chose from the tandoor menu – the Methi Miso Salmon (eclectic!) that came in a fenugreek and miso glaze with tandoori broccoli (although we thought they switched it on the night). The salmon was soft and definitely cooked well with a slippery caramelised outside. What was described as tandoor broccoli split the table – it was very hot, spicy and crunchy so a good foil for the salmon, but it looked innocuous and it definitely was not. Some liked it and others just wanted a health warning on the heat.

We followed this with choices from the large plates – Mutton bourgignon curry, Madrasi Machli and Aubergine Karahi Parmigiano (!). We complemented these with a couple of bowls of steamed rice, and a naan and roti.

The mutton was in a really rich sauce – it was the leg slowly braised in red wine with carrots, potatoes and picked onion. It was spicy, but not so you couldn’t savour the taste of the lamb. The Madras Machli was actually salmon curry simmered in the “house blend of spices from Southern India” – so giving nothing away. The salmon can be easily overpowered by a curry – this wasn’t and I definitely admire the chef’s delicacy with whatever those South Indians use.

The Aubergine was exactly as you might imagine – breaded and fried in a tomato sauce and topped with parmigiano. But the menu description left off any reference to spices and they were there in abundance in the breading and in the tomato sauce. It was how I like this dish, crispy pieces of aubergine with soft insides, any blandness being banished by the tomato sauce.

The menu notes only one dessert, but when we decided to order and discovered that it was in short supply so we had a couple of Hokey Pokey ice creams and a Masala Chai. They come as two large scoops, so plan to ask for a scoop of each and share – it was a labour we endured so that we covered the whole menu, but we were really too full to finish.

We have noticed blogs and comments suggesting this is an expensive meal, but actually we thought it was reasonable. You can cut down on the many courses and the cocktails (£9.50 or so each). We had two cocktails and 2.5 pints of tiger or Coldharbour beer. The total came to a whopping £95.50 with tip, but after removing everything but the food it was £18.25 per head. We will go back as the menu definitely peaked our interest, but this time knowing that unless very hungry we will try to share some dishes.

Only Food and Courses

Address: Pop Brixton

Booking via the website: https://www.onlyfoodandcourses.co.uk/

This is a brand new, top of the range, eatery in Pop Brixton that opened only weeks ago. They have all day dining -12.00 to 5.00 pm and then a supper club in the evening (8.00 pm to 10.00 pm, Thurs-Sat), when they serve a fixed six course tasting menu. They will take walk-ins during the day but not for the evening, but it is best to book any time as there is limited seating. We visited for a long Sunday lunch with friends in May.

They describe their food as ” From Caf’ clichés, to dinner party classics, and cocktails raided from your mum’s drinks cabinet, this is the best of British nostalgia”. A great description of the deconstructed classics from the 70s and 80s.

We made it simple and ordered one of everything on the lunchtime menu – four starters, four mains and two desserts. The titles of the dishes give nothing away – Bloody Mary’, ‘Ham, Egg & Chips’, Prawn Cocktail and ……..a surprise for you, as we can’t remember. From the pictures you can see that they are splendid renditions, with just enough to interest everyone and it was just too hard to decide a favourite. The Bloody Mary consists of a granita which comes with roast tomatoes and chickpea chips. Ham, egg and chips is a terrine with more chickpea chips and egg yolks. But we don’t want to spoil the fun which is wrapped up in the surprise, so here the detail stops. Even on the first two photos you will see there are “extras” – ask them to describe them in detail. You may need to take notes as we forgot as soon as they moved away from the table.

For the main course we got Smoked Short Rib Hash, Crab Scotch Egg, Lobster Doughnuts and we think it was a duck eclairs, but it was really “pretty as a picture” even on a rainy Sunday. The beef had a rich sauce, the scotch egg was runny and had crab instead of meat and the others…. well my mouth is watering just looking at them.

We were pretty full at this stage and the small plates do ramp up the charges, but we decided to complete the whole menu with the two remaining items – Lemon Meringue and Beetroot Bakewell. Again pretty as all desserts should be. The bakewell was a bit dry, but the lemon tart a sensation.

We washed it all down with several Brixton brews.

This is not a cheap meal, but it is an excellent one. We ate far too much and each plate was between £10 and £14 – so you can see that splashing out on every part of the menu increased costs considerably. These were quirky plates, pretty but also good to eat – next time we visit we will try not to be too hungry and just look at them for a bit longer before pulling them all apart. Their six course tasting menu (which we will have to try, but maybe for a special occasion) is £65.00.

Salon – lockdown takeaway again

Address: 18 Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LD

Website: http://salonbrixton.co.uk/

Phone: 020 7501 9152

We have reviewed Salon several times before (here and here and here, and most recently, here for an earlier home delivery). So another delivery for another celebration apropos of nothing – just to cheer us up. They have started to offer special ‘big night’ menus where the only choice, essentially, is between veg and non-veg. The menu changes with the seasons too, so by now the offer is likely to have moved on from the one described here. Most dishes come in recycled cartons, but also reusable plastic and foil containers. Don’t throw everything away. Labeling is also good, as we have sometimes had to make guesses on other place’s deliveries.

It looks a lot and it was, with four courses. But it was well balanced and it all got eaten that night. Some assembly was required but nothing more than identifying what was what and putting stuff in the oven for the requisite time. Everything that needed heating was in appropriate packaging. To make it more of a treat we made a proper meal of it with candles, table cloth and the posh cutlery.

The first course was actually our favourite – the peperronata mixed roast vegetables with a goat’s curd cheese. It came with plenty of sourdough bread.

Then there was a salad of warm roast calçots, the Catalan green onion, served on the garlic emulsion with radicchio. There was more bread. This time focaccia.

The main was a bean stew, tastier than it looks, with flatbread, not as burnt as it looks, and broccholi tops in a chilli dressing.

Final course was a millefeuille with roasted rhubarb and cream – great way to finish the meal, but beware the crumbs.

The bill came to £63.50, which was a lot, but it was a special ‘let’s have a treat’ occasion. We know that during lockdown we tend to blog about expensive meals, but usually, with smaller appetites and generous portions, they feed us for a couple of days. But this night the food was good and tasty, and we were particularly hungry.

Clink@Home – delivery from Brixton Prison

clink21The Clink Restaurant at HMP Brixton

https://athome.theclinkcharity.org/

This seems a fitting end to English week. This is a very late post as just after we ate this meal – Clink delivery closed their kitchens because of an outbreak of COVID-19 in the prison. We are posting it now as they have opened up again from 3rd March! So if you live within 10 miles of Brixton Prison you can now get an order – we suggest you do that quickly to support a worthwhile charity.

We’ve visited once – see here – and ordered once before – see here. This order was placed just before Christmas just after moving into Tier 4. We were keen to try it all again as a treat at home and we weren’t disappointed. So, don’t wait to the end of this review – just order as it is wonderful and incredible value. And if you eat it at home. you can also choose the wine accompaniment, which is not available on site.

All dishes come with lids that explains what each one is and how to heat or serve it. This is really helpful, as we have tried other meals and had to guess how they were all put together – sometimes with interesting and unpredictable results. The food has a shelf life of three days so you can put some in the fridge for another day.clink22

There are three in our bubble so for starters – Arancini (sun-dried tomato & parmesan arancini with rocket pesto) for two and a portion of Fougasse with rosemary and garlic garlic butter. There were plenty of really tasty and crispy Arancini – even some left over – but we wolfed down all the bread (beware of the very garlicky butter). The Arancini were as good as the last time we ordered them. Well done guys.

For the mains we ordered three – potato. leek and Cornish yarg pie; slow cooked beef brisket with colcannon potatoes; and barbeque pork ribs with spicy rice and coleslaw.  We also ordered (again eyes bigger than stomachs) potato wedges and roast root vegetables. We saved the pie and the colcannon potatoes for another day, as we were overwhelmed by the meat dishes. We have been mostly vegetarian and this was a bit of a treat with the soft and spicy ribs and the really soft salty and “umami” brisket. We ate them with the wedges, vegetables, rice and coleslaw. There were enough ribs to satisfy the three of us and, although we ate the vegetables, there was still some rice left over, as we were absolutely full.clink23

Well not quite totally, as it doesn’t matter how stuffed you are there is always room for the spiced autumn fruit crumble with creme anglaise. Lots of apple and red fruit with a particularly good crumble topping. not the usual crumbs but more shortbread and crunchy. We all loved it – even the person who “doesn’t usually eat dessert”. We still had some for the next day’s breakfast.

We ordered £54.35 worth of food and paid £4.95 for the delivery. This served three people with a really high quality meal that cheered us all up. We had some left over for lunch another day. The intervention of Christmas meant that we ate it beyond the three days that were promised, but we’re still here, so it must have been OK. All in all, brilliant value for money. So order now and if you are in a bubble, this is definitely an easy cheat for a dinner party box.

Salon – the Lockdown takeaway

salon21

Address: 18 Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LDWebsite: http://salonbrixton.co.uk/

Phone: 020 7501 9152

Salon now offers a timed delivery service. We have reviewed this restaurant, which offers a tasting menu several times ( here and here and here) It is a past winner of our @eatinbrixton public vote for Brixton’s favourite, so we were really enthusiastic to try their takeaway service on the first Saturday in Lockdown 2.0.

There are a meat and vegetarian three course meals on offer, both for two to share. We chose the meat one. The starter and dessert need little preparation, but the main course needs cooking. But, very helpfully, everything was labelled and there was a handy set of instructions to guide you through the meal – it made sure that we could eat the starter without worrying about the oven.

First came a pork terrine, luxuriously covered in salty ham/bacon with an accompaniment of mustard mayonnaise and bitter leaves. The other starter was a beetroot salad, caraway crackers with goats curd. Both were great and we just shared. All come with warm bread, whipped butter and cheese custard. Yum…. and honestly this would have been enough food for the evening.salon22

Next course was hispi cabbage and braised venison pie with potato topping. There was plenty for two (in fact I had seconds the next day). The meat was soft and succulent and we served it with a hefty red wine to make it a real celebration.salon23

salon24Finally – and we did then move to a comfy sofa and the TV – we had the dessert and each one is enough for two. It was a coffee panna cotta (although actually more of a fluffy mouse) with a chocolate ganache top and some crumbs to sprinkle over it. This was also when the top trouser button was undone – fantastically delicious end to the meal.

This is a delivery that requires a table, candles and good wine – as good as a dinner out. It cost £59.00 for two and we thought it was excellent value. We have got into the habit of watching the 7.00 pm news during the week with our meal (lunchtime it is Bargain Hunt), but this as enjoyable as dining out and broke the spell. Great offering and we would certainly do it again.

Naughty Piglets – the takeaway

address: 28 Brixton water lane, SW2 1PE

telephone: 020 7274 7796

Website: http://www.naughtypiglets.co.uk/

We are carrying on with our take away and delivery reviews and this week we went to the 2019 winner of the EatinBrixton Favourite Restaurant – from our annual public vote. Our full review was back in 2015 – see here. This is not the cheapest takeaway and you do have to pick it up. The only other problem is that this is not quick – you need to order a week before you need it. But it was worth the wait. Continue reading

Donnelly’s at The Shrub and Shutter

Address: 336 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8QH.
Phone: 020 7326 0643
Websites:
Location: http://www.theshrubandshutter.com/
Food: https://donnellysrestaurant.co.uk/

Monday – closed
Tuesday 5pm – midnight
Wednesday 5pm – midnight
Thursday 5pm – midnight
Friday 5pm – 2am
Saturday 5pm – 2am
Sunday – closed

We have reviewed the Shrub and Shutter cocktails before; see here, here and here. But we had heard that a new residency providing the food, so in order to keep our readers up to date we visited on a freezing Friday night. It is an easy menu to work through with five sections containing just two plates. Choose a couple for each guest and then take stock for the puddings. Continue reading

The Laundry

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374 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8PL

https://thelaundrybrixton.com/

020 8103 9384 (Note. No reservations)

Mon – Wed 7am – 11pm, Thu & Fri 7am – 12am, Sat & Sun 8am till late

Newly opened at the Walton Lodge Steam Laundry, this eating establishment clearly needs to exist on turnover. With the rain tippling down on their outside tables, when we visted, this is going to be a bit of a task. But this is a bar as well as an eatery and, as we ate very early one evening, it was filled with many young women having cocktails. The place itself is smaller than you would expect from outside and oddly proportioned, with a down staircase taking up a lot of space in the middle. Continue reading

Salon

salon20

Address: 18 Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LD

Website: http://salonbrixton.co.uk/

Phone: 020 7501 9152

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 12:00 – 15:00 & 18:00 – 23:30
Saturday 10:00 – 15:00 & 18:00 – 23:30
Sunday 10:00 – 15:00

Salon is now a long-standing presence in Market Row and is one of the places in Brixton that takes food seriously. We have reviewed Salon before in its present incarnation here and here. But we like to catch-up, especially when this restaurant is a past winner of our @eatinbrixton public vote for Brixton’s favourite. It hasn’t changed much except that there are a few more seats and the tables don’t wobble.We had booked but the place wasn’t full for most of the time we were there. Continue reading

Salon

address:   – 18 Market Row, Brixton, SW98LD
telephone: 020 7501 9152
email:  info@salonbrixton.co.uk
website: http://salonbrixton.co.uk/
Opening times:
Monday                         Closed
Tuesday to Friday       noon–3pm, 6–11:30pm
Saturday                       10am–3pm, 6–11:30pm
Sunday                          10am–3pm

Salon won our eatinbrixton annual poll a few years ago and many of our foodie friends really rate it. Since the last lunch we ate here they have made changes. Gone are the uncomfortable chairs and the huge tables. Now there is a mixture of matching chairs and an upholstered bench which even had some back support – bliss compared to the previous rocky furniture.

We made up a foursome with friends. Upstairs in the main dining room they offer four course tasting menu, with only a choice of main course (baked celeriac or ox cheek). We also went for the wine pairing, so that took away even more of the worry and negotiation on what bottle(s) to buy. Continue reading