Fishmongers

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For some time I’ve promised myself that I will write about shopping for fish in Brixton. Because one of the most fantastic things about central Brixton is the number of fishmongers. Across the country fishmongers have become an endangered species, largely replaced by supermarkets. But here in Brixton we have more fishmongers than there are in the whole of Hertfordshire. By this I mean proper fishmongers, where they offer a good range of types of fish with knowledgeable staff who will clean and fillet your purchases. This is great, of course, but it does pose a problem when you have to choose which shop to use. So, unlike earlier posts in our series about shopping, I’m not going to focus on a single shop.

I’ve actually lost count of the number of shops in Brixton that sell fish but not all of them, in my mind at least, count as proper fishmongers. Quite a few of the Afro-Caribbean grocers sell some fish and there are others that specialise in fish but just sell it frozen, straight out of the boxes in which it arrived. I rarely use these, apart from the fish section in the Wing Tai Supermarket in Electric Avenue which is often useful, particularly for prawns.

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Faiz Latin and Caribbean Groceries

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10-12 Granville Arcade
Brixton Village SW9 8PR

Telephone 020 7274 0005

Open 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (closed Sundays) Now open on Sundays as well

There are lots of shops like this in Brixton that fall into the general category of Afro Caribbean food stores. I’ve often wondered what’s the difference. How do you decide to shop at Abdul’s Fruit and Veg rather than the A1 Superstore? Or SW Foodstore rather than Brixton Foodbase? I’ve got a theory that they are really all the same. Certainly there doesn’t seem to me much competition on price, or service come to that. However, Faiz is my favourite. I’m not really sure why but the people who work there are friendly and helpful, the fresh produce is good and it’s got what you need if you are interested in Caribbean food.

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A&C Continental Delicatessen

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3 Atlantic Road, SW9 8HX

020 7773 3766

A&C Continental Delicatessen is the best food shop in Brixton. It’s also, incidentally, the friendliest. It’s been around for twenty years or more and runs the risk of being taken for granted. But it’s a gem of a place and can easily withstand any competition from the newcomers now coming to Brixton. I’ve always assumed the people who run the shop are from Portugal but the stuff they stock ranges across the whole of southern Europe.

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Brixton Wholefoods

59 Atlantic Road, Brixton, SW9 8PU
020 7737 2210 (but surprisingly, no email address)
http://www.brixtonwholefoods.com/
OPEN:
Mon 09.30-19.00
Tue, Wed, Thu 09.30-17.30
Fri 09.30-18.00
Sat 09.30-17.30

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We all love Brixton Wholefoods. It’s a touchstone for long-term Brixtonites and, while we might not shop there all that often, we are glad it’s still there like a 1970’s time capsule. Which is a bit surprising as it didn’t open until 1982. It even stayed the same when moving across Atlantic Road from what was the site of the first David Greig’s grocery store and where the Lounge can now be found – hence the “Transatlantic” on the shop front.

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Wing Tai Supermarket

Wing_Tai0413 Electric Avenue

SW9 8JY

Tel:  020 7738 5898

This is the second in our reviews where we have set ourselves the task of buying all the ingredients (or at least the majority) for a meal from one local shop. We lay out the prices, what they have and hopefully promote buying from local shops in Brixton. This time the dish is Pad Thai and the place to go for all the ingredients is the Wing Tai supermarket in Electric Avenue. Pad Thai is one of those dishes where everyone has their favourite recipe – I’ve used the one on the BBC food website http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/padthai_67953 I’m not an expert but the end result is reasonably similar to the sort of thing I got at cheap local restaurants years ago when in Thailand.

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Nour Cash & Carry

23 Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LD

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Although everyone at EatinBrixton greatly appreciates the culinary delights that Brixton now has to offer, it is hard to ignore that these additions to Brixton have come with both perks and downfalls. The rent hikes in the market are beginning to push out those businesses that have been serving the residents of Brixton for years, this fact was even mentioned in a  4 page spread in the Evening Standard magazine a couple of weeks ago – click here to view. Therefore we are starting a new venture for the blog. We are giving ourselves the task of trying buy everything (perhaps the majority) for one meal from one local shop. We will lay out the prices, what they had and hopefully promote buying from local independent shops in our beloved Brixton.

To begin we start with the one shop that has been spoken about a great deal in the debate of the gentrification of Brixton, Nour Cash and Carry. It’s currently getting coverage on Urban 75 and the Brixton Blog, because it’s facing a significant increase in its rent and service charges, with a petition being promoted in its defence. Basically it sells fruit and vegetables at low prices and a wide range of Caribbean/African/Middle Eastern /Asian foodstuffs. From salted lassi, through to pomegranate molasses, a range of marinades for jerk chicken and palm oil to an impressive range of herbs and spices. If you are into cooking food with powerful flavours, this is the place for you. It’s also a family-run business.

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