Sam’s Cafe

Sams01Address: 85 Acre Lane, Brixton, London SW2 5TN

Telephone: 020 7274 4215

Opening times:
Monday to Friday – 6.00am to 4:30 pm
Saturday – 7:00am to 3:30pm
Sunday – Closed

Some of us might remember and miss the Goya, here in Acre Lane. But now it’s one of closest things Brixton now has to what’s called a greasy spoon, with formica tables and plastic chairs. Definitely for early risers and those wanting a hearty lunch, as it opens around 6.00 am most days and closes at 4.30 pm. The menu is on the wall and is a mixture of breakfast and lunch dishes, with a focus on carbs and fat. Just right for a wicked interlude in an otherwise blameless dietary intake. There is a daily special but we missed it and instead ordered liver and bacon with chips and peas, and sausage, mash and peas.

The portions are huge and the sausage was fatty and salty as you would expect. But the liver was a bit of a let down – a bit too much like cardboard. The bacon was great, however. The mashed potato and gravy were also a hit and better than some in high end restaurants. We both left most of the peas – all we can say is that they looked like peas.

sams03sams02It was all very great value, as the bill came to only £17, including a cup of tea and a Coca Cola. Next time we go we will order a bacon sandwich – see our review here.

Knife

Address: 160 Clapham Park Road, SW4 7DE London

Telephone: 020 7627 6505

Website: https://kniferestaurant.co.uk/

Opening hours:
Wednesday to Saturday: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Sunday: 12 noon – 4:30pm

We were unsure about this restaurant, mainly because we didn’t like the name – sounded creepy. But we overcame our fears and headed out early on Friday night. But not early enough, as the place was already very full even by 7.00pm. So booking at the end of the week is essential. They describe themselves as offering “Serious Steaks & Sunday Roasts” and their USP is serving ethically sourced meat. They do have a veggie option, but I wouldn’t advise it as there would still be bloody corpses on adjoining tables. It’s small and intimate (read closely packed) and dark – hence the quality of the photos. Continue reading

Llewelyn’s Restaurant

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Address: 293–295 Railton Road, Herne Hill, London SE24 0JP

Website: http://llewelyns-restaurant.co.uk/

Phone:  0207 733 6676

Email: bookings@llewelyns-restaurant.co.uk

Opening times (for food):
Tuesday – Friday 12 Noon – 2.30 pm and from 6.00 pm
Saturday 12 Noon – 3.00 pm and from 6.00 pm
Sunday 12 Noon to 3.30 pm

Despite the Railton Road address, Llewelyn’s is definitely in Herne Hill, just to left of the Station. If it hadn’t been so hot we might well have walked through Brockwell Park but, in the event, we went by bus, calling in en route at the First Aid Box (review here) for some excellent cocktails.

Llewelyn’s inherits a site with a history. Many have mourned the loss of “Pullen’s”, and before that the brasserie “La Provencal” but the site now offers a modern minimalist style. The blank canvas is potentially noisy, especially on a hot Friday evening. But we had the added bonus of one diner on a nearby table having a laugh that was on the threshold of pain. Nevertheless, the three of us enjoyed the food and will doubtless return.

Continue reading

Oxalis at The Shrub and Shutter

Address: 336 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8QH.
Phone: 020 7326 0643
Websites:

Location: http://www.theshrubandshutter.com/

Food: http://www.oxalislondon.com/

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

Our normal approach is to keep you in the dark about what we think about a restaurant but we are breaking with this practice to tell you that Oxalis (the current pop-up caterers at Shrub and Shutter) are brilliant and we are not usually so enthusiastic. It’s not complicated food but it is imaginative with a focus on flavour.

We have reviewed the cocktails before; see here, here and here. But on this hot and steamy night we went for wine and beer. There are lots of things to choose from but we cut out that difficulty by choosing one of the tasting menus. There are two – one veggie and one with meat. We had the meat option. On top of this we were given an “amuse bouche” (aren’t we posh) of a warm squid ink cracker with dark crab meat topped with a lardon. Now you get the way this is moving. It was delicious – so delicious that it was eaten before we could take a photo.

Then we moved on to the main menu – a delicious tomato salad with elderflower and mustard. I am soon going to run out of superlatives as it was the best thing to start us off – fresh with little bursts of mustard flavour. All four of us were delighted.

Fennel tortellini, poppy seeds and crayfish – even though these are tasting menu portions there was definitely enough crayfish. So just sublime with a crunch.

Pork, kohlrabi and sea buckthorn came next- sounds interesting and it was but also excellent.
The empty half of the plate left room for some vegetables; new potatoes and grilled gem lettuce as shown in the photographs, plus some mange-tout.
The simple dessert was cherries, cream and a garnish of the eponymous oxalis (Google just said it was an edible weed, which doesn’t sound very appealing, but most of you have probably heard of wood sorrel).
All this flavour and innovation for £30.00 a head. The bill of was larger, of course, as it included our wine and beer. As we were celebrating in company we didn’t stint ourselves, although I paid for it with a hangover. Oxalis popped up in Shrub and Shutter just a month ago. It will be around for another 4 or 5 months but don’t waste any time – go and eat as soon as you can.

Pieminister

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Address: 10 Market Row, Brixton SW9 8LD

Phone: 07713 322507

email: brixton@pieminister.co.uk

website: https://www.pieminister.co.uk/restaurants/brixton/

Opening times:
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – Thursday 11.30am – 10pm
Friday 11.30am – 11pm
Saturday 10am – 11pm
Sunday 10am – 10pm

We can still just remember Brixton’s last pie and mash shop (where Nanban is now), although there are still examples of the real thing in other parts of London. The nostalgia can be overdone, as the meat filling could sometimes be questionable and the ‘liquor’ watery. But now Brixton has gained a ‘new-wave’ pie shop, in the form of a branch of a chain going by the name Pieminister. Prepare yourself for some rather feeble puns. Continue reading

SW9 bar and restaurant

sw9_01Address, 11 Dorrell Place, Brixton SW9 8EG

telephone: 020 7738 3116

Opening times:

Monday – Friday: 10:30am to 11:30pm

Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 am to 1:30 am

This is not to be confused with the sushi bar on Brixton Road, which is from the same stable. This is the restaurant and bar behind M&S, at the end of the alley way just off Brixton Road. It has been here for years (we even went in an earlier incarnation, when it was the Brixtonian) and has evolved into a bar with food. See a previous review from more than five years ago, here. Happy hour (when we visited) has cheap cocktails but they still serve food to slow down feeling tipsy.

Decor is bar style with more low level seating and a few chairs that allow eating easily at the tables which are round and square and scattered. So choose a sofa or a table for the more substantial meals. Most people were drinking with snacks but we opted for the standard menu as the special board was unavailable on Monday.

So after ordering a margarita and a vodka martini, we had fried squid with chili sauce and steak and chips with grilled tomatoes. Both come with a bit of salad, so you can feel a little bit healthy. The squid was crisp and appropriately starter sized. sw9_03

The steak came on a wooden board making it even higher on the table, so the low seating was definitely not a good choice. But it was suitably “medium”, as requested, and had great seasoning. The tomatoes were also well cooked, so they were sweet, tart and easy to eat. Just as well, as it you have to juggle to keep everything on the board. The potatoes in the chips had the skins on them and were a bit soggy, perhaps because they came in a metal dish. sw9_02

After two vodka martinis and a margarita (£5.00 each at happy hour) we had a bill of £35.50. Our view – well the menu was limited but we enjoyed the food and drink. It is not a place for a quiet drink but it is open on Mondays, which is a bonus for us.sw9_04

 

A short bus ride away – The Rosendale

rosendale0165 Rosendale Road, West Dulwich, London SE21 8EZ

Tel: 020 8761 9008

https://www.therosendale.co.uk/

We set off for our usual Christmas walk with friends and family on a fresh but beautiful sunny day. Our Christmas walks have not always such an enjoyable day out as this one, taking us through Brockwell Park and on to Dulwich before heading for West Norwood. But it is easy to catch a bus too. Continue reading