The Joint

Address: 4th Avenue, Brixton Village Market SW9 8PSjoint03

telephone: 07717 642812

http://www.the-joint.co/

We have taken our time to go to Joint. This is not because we were unwilling or because we have decided to go on a vegetarian diet, but because the queues are so long. But on this cold Saturday morning in February we thought we owed it to our readers to brave the long lines. So after much feet stamping and wishing we had two pairs of socks and gloves, we got a table – only about 15 minutes, although it seemed longer, even with the ideal opportunity to stare at the tourists who are now flocking to Brixton Village.

Joint is a small kitchen with all its tables outside in one of the cross avenues in Brixton Village. The base of the tables is made up of three of the plastic baskets that the bread buns are delivered in, which are topped with squared off black wood. The seating is a hard stool or, if you are lucky, a bench where you can rest back against a shop window. That is probably why it is pretty quick – the service is speedy and it is only comfortable for 30 minutes or so.

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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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Cornercopia

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

telephone: 07919542233

emailt: Brixtoncornercopia@googlemail

http://brixtoncornercopia.co.uk/

This was a small restaurant but it has grown and grown into the surrounding shops and now has more than 30 spaces. Also acting as a deli, Cornercopia uses locally sourced products not just including buying from the market but also foraged from local allotments. Even the honey comes from South London bees although we have no idea how they can be certain they haven’t made it across the river.

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The Lido Café

The Lido Café

Address: Dulwich Road, Brockwell Lido SE24 0PA

Phone: 0207 737 8183

Email: info@thelidocafe.co.uk

http://www.thelidocafe.co.uk

Having wanted to visit this place for some time, we took a whim and headed down on a Wednesday evening to check the place out. As a child I frequented Brockwell Park and the Lido many times, although back then the food was usually a cheap and cheerful burger, chips and a coke. Therefore the idea of going back there to fill out stomachs has never been particularly appealing. However after hearing so many good things about this place we knew we had to check it out.

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Cannon and Cannon

address   – 18 Market Row, Brixton, SW98LD

telephone: 0207 5019152

email:  info@cannonandcannon.com

http://www.cannonandcannon.com/say-hello/

Cannon and Cannon is in the less fashionable part of Market Row and is mainly a shop selling bread, cold meat and cheese with pickles and other mainly English goodies. The shop is on the ground floor and above is a large room with the usual odd mix of large and small tables and chairs and even a couple of vinyl covered bar stools next to a raised bar against the wall. The room is very light as it has windows on two sides with views on the busy market below.

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The Duck Egg Cafe

address: 424 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LF

telephone:

This small cafe on Coldharbour Lane is a favourite throughout the day for those wanting a fix of a Full English. We have had breakfast and lunch at the Duck Egg Cafe and so thought it was about time for a review.

For breakfast we arrived at about 10.30 and it was already pretty busy (there was even a queue for tables at one point). It is so small that sharing tables is almost essential and you are so close to the other diners that it is very hard not to eavesdrop. However I’ve noticed this is a theme throughout restaurants in Brixton so I say embrace it. The service was very friendly and the seating comfortable.

We ordered a bacon and egg sandwich (boring choice I must confess) and the Full English (obviously had to try this!). You get a choice between hen or duck eggs and of course we went for the duck eggs as it seemed silly not to. Service was quick, big plus as my stomach rumbles were getting louder and louder. The full English came with all the trimmings, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, toast, egg (poached) and baked beans. The egg was cooked to perfection with the yolk breaking to reveal the golden runny centre which all poached eggs should have. Sausages were also a plus point, not sure if they were local or not, but they were a stand out part of the meal.

Tea, coffees and juices are the drinks of choice with the juice coming fresh. Other breakfast options include eggs Benedict, which is most definitely on the list to try on our next visit.

Breakfast was £8 for the full english and a cup of tea, while the egg and bacon sandwich was about a fiver with a coffee. Great choice for a lazy weekend brunch.

For lunch again it was a sharing experience and crowded. We had the special soup of the day but we noticed that other plates were heaving with pasta and chips. Again not a cheap meal but it was hearty and filling.  You can also choose breakfast options throughout in the day  as well as the pasta options.

We will be returning when we are very hungry to make the most of it.

Hive bar and restaurant – NOW CLOSED

This place is now closed

address: 11-13 Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PA

telephone:  020 7274 8383

email gm@hivebar.net

website    http://www.hivebar.net/

This is a small restaurant near the recreation centre which has been a long term fixture in Brixton in various guises. Its current incarnation is as a bar upstairs (not visited) and a restaurant on the ground floor. The restaurant is cosy, although  the position of the table leg requires three or four people to negotiate how to sit in relative comfort. We didn’t book on this Thursday night but we arrived relatively early – just after 7.00 – and within half an hour it was full and many people popping their head round the door who had to find sustenance elsewhere.

The food is simple.. There is a menu and almost as many things on the specials list on the wall. There are also a variety of different ways of eating – tapas, “boards to share” as well as the usual starters and main course. Being traditional we went for main courses and chose a burger, beef pie and greens and crispy pork belly and extra chips with a starter of mixed olives. The olives were not a great start which is a great shame as there is a Portuguese delicatessen just round the corner that provides some of the best olives in London.

Our main course were much better. The piping hot beef pie came with a spoon as well as a knife and fork. The beef was soft and the gravy unctuous and the spoon was definitely required. The pork was as described – tasty and crispy and the chips were flavoured slightly with garlic and even though we didn’t need them we were glad we did. The only problems were the burger which was described as a bit boring (probably in comparison to Honest Burger). No-one asked how to cook it but it seemed ok and not too overdone. The greens were just that different kinds of cabbage. The problem with that is although steamed some parts need more cooking than others so the darker cabbage was a little chewy.

It was £15.00 per person inclduing wine and beer and so very reasonable for the quality of the food. You can eat much cheaper as at the beginning of the wek they have specials. The cheap dates section (e.g. 4 tapas and a bottle of wine for £10.00) all seem very good value. The bar has music nights but we didn’t explore that. We thought we would visit again especially as the weather will certain deter us from sitting in Brixton Village and then we do intend to order the cocktails.

Cornercopia

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

telephone: 07919542233

emailt: Brixtoncornercopia@googlemail.com

http://brixtoncornercopia.ning.com/

This was a small restaurant but it has grown and grown into the surrounding shops and now has more than 30 spaces. Also acting as a deli, Cornercopia uses locally sourced products not just including buying from the market but also foraged from local allotments. Even the honey comes from South London bees although we have no idea how they can be certain they haven’t made it across the river.

We chose to sit inside the main restaurant rather than the aisles of the market as the winter chill has obviously settled in at the market (bring a coat!). All the seating is meant to be shared but they do ask for permission before seating extra people. The walls were covered in pictures but unusually I didn’t take much notice as I was drawn to investigating the food and drink menus both proving to be interesting enough to keep us talking until the first course arrived.

As it was a Sunday lunchtime they were only serving two or three course meals from a blessedly short menu. Our two courses were  a starter and main course and all three of us chose the sweet potato and squash soup with hazelnuts and truffle oil. It was served in a blue and white enamel bowl as was the whole meal. The truffle oil on the soup was delicious but there were mixed comments about the hazelnuts. It also came with a piece of sourdough bread from Peckham. This whole course was really filling and I made the mistake of eating the bread which was very good but left little room for the immense main courses.

We chose pork, a shallot and Blackstick blue cheese tart and a fillet of grey mullet. The pork was succulent and came with a very large faggot and there was no remote chance of finishing it. The faggot was made of all things pork and was wrapped in caul fat (don’t ask just believe it is delicious). It was the size of a tennis ball. The mullet was served on a bed of capers, saffron and smoky vinegar and was perfectly cooked and although the contrast of hot and cold was surprising, it too was designated a success. The tart had immense roasted shallots on top of a cheesy base of flaky pastry.  But in addition to the large portions there was also a big bowl of roast vegetables. This was a meal for three in itself. There were roast carrots (black, white and orange), kale, huge roast parsnips as well as roast potatoes. This course was a definite hit and as we had no space to put the vegetables we asked for boxes to take the food away for heating up for the next day. They were delivered to the table by the chef who said he was so glad he didn’t have to throw anything away.

Ultra-local food also includes ultra-local beers from Kernel’s micro-brewery in Bermondsey and we chose pale ale which although as bitter as pale ale also smelled and tasted fruity. Wine is English which we can’t vouch for and, very surprisingly, they offer an organic gin and tonic. The gin is also local and is distilled in Clapham. You can now see why we spent so long reading and not looking at our surroundings.

The meal was a little on the pricey side for the market – £18.00 per person for two course and three course for £21.00 without drinks –  but it was certainly well worth it for the quality of the food. Next time I might try the main course and dessert. because I am never going to be able to work my way through the gargantuan three courses, particularly when the desserts are sticky date pudding and spotted dick. Even after turning off the hyperbole key on my computer I can say that this is the best restaurant in the market and….it is certainly value for money.

ps  There is a deli attached to the restaurant which has a selection of chutneys and jams made by local people with the furthest being from Croydon. But it also sells more exotic fare.

Breads Etcetera

Address: 88 Brixton Village Market, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8PS

telephone: 07717 642812

www.breadsetceterabakery.com/

This is a bread shop with a difference. It isn’t exactly a restaurant but you can eat so we decided to review anyway. It is a small offshoot of a place in Clapham so they do have some experience which was lacking in many of the restaurants in Brixton Village.

The inside of Breads Etcetera allows about two people room to breathe and a third means you have to shuffle around to see the breads on sale. It is essentially a bakery with a couple of ovens. But you can sit down – outside the shop on a few tables.  As you can imagine that means it is a bit chilly in the aisles of the Village so they thoughtfully provide a blanket which is definitely needed in all months except a sunny day in July. So is your coat.

Food is, of course, bread based but you can get eggs (soft or hard boiled) and side orders of ham or cheese. The staff are really very helpful and cheerful which you need first thing in the morning. Coffee is very good and comes with a design on top to make you smile. But the main deal is the DIY breakfast with toasters on the table and butter and spreads provided. You can go for English breakfast with sausages etc. and at the moment this is only on Sundays but that can change. The charm is in the toast, always hot and ready to take the melting butter, and the coffee. So what about the bread. It’s sourdough – wheat or rye .

This is a good product but…… we usually save discussions of cost to the end of the review but I have moved it forward as this is its drawback. It is expensive. We would eat breakfast here as but we wouldn’t go back for the bread and I really like sourdough.

Breakfast is about £5 to £6 per person if you have side orders.