Location: Electric Avenue and Pope’s Road, SW9
Brixton Market Traders Association: http://brixtonmarket.net/
This is another post in our occasional series about food shopping in Brixton. By Brixton Market I mean the more traditional street market; the actual stalls in Electric Avenue and Popes Road (Brixton Station Road deserves it’s own entry). It’s just enjoyed/suffered a makeover but the six or so food stalls, mostly selling fresh produce, amid the others with a mix of hats, hardware and other stuff, are still there. It might even still be recognised as a traditional street market by your genuine costermonger, keeping up the ancient tradition of closing down by 5:30 pm or earlier, as well as observing early closing day on Wednesdays. Continue reading
Brixton Station Road
phone 079 4911 0691
Brixton Station road is slowly becoming another food court. There’s a stall or two most days but there’s the widest choice during the day on Fridays and Saturdays. You can never tell what will be there as they move around. So when we were out shopping and fancied something different we came upon this pitch towards the Brixton Road end with an Italian offering.
The website describes what is served as “Friulian Street Food” with the strapline is “For the love of polenta and frico”. The chef is Italian from Friuli, which is in the north east where polenta is the staple. Italian food is usually heavy with cheese or with meat with lots of soft pasta or all on a pizza, so it is a revelation that you can have vegetarian, vegan and gluten free – sometimes in the same dish. The polenta comes in slices which is then grilled with toppings of mushrooms and individual fried aubergines in a batter. Polenta can sometimes seem boring but this was soft and moreish, even when heated up. We were offered some mint sauce and that did make it all the more interesting.
address: The Angel, 354 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8QH
telephone: 020 7095 1491
Open: Wednesday to Sunday – 12:00 to 10:00 pm
Mamma Dough have recently opened their second branch on Coldharbour Lane. We thought that the refurbishment work wasn’t quite complete and that the interior does feel somewhat unfinished. But after looking at the website we realise this was the design and that their place in Honor Oak also has the almost finished look. Stripped wooden floors, tables and chairs are scattered in the former pub on Coldharbour Lane past Brixton Village towards Camberwell. There is a bar and well sited pizza oven so you can see all that is going on. Its light and airy with large windows.
Mamma Dough’s bread and butter is their pizza. They offer a decent range of thin-crust sour-dough pizzas with several regularly changing specials. They also provide a gluten-free version, with the toppings served on a bed of cannellini beans. We ordered a pizza each and had some very tasty mixed olives while we waited for our mains to arrive.
We went for a ‘Winter Goat’ with goat’s cheese, caramalised onions, olives, and walnuts; a ‘Lorena’ with squash, feta, pine nuts, and rosemary; and a ‘Jon Bon Chovy’ with anchovy, chilli, capers, olives, and parsley. They didn’t take long to arrive. The pizzas were great, both tasty and very filling. When they arrived piping hot and altogether and we thought we would never be able to finish them – we did but that left us with no room for dessert.
Mamma Dough also offer a selection of wines and local bottled beers and make up their own ginger ale.
Although this restaurant had just opened the staff were well organised and checked several times whether we were ok. The meal was well-priced with the bill coming to £10.00 per head including a couple of beers. We debated how they compare with our long-term favourites Franco Manca. They are certainly in the same class, while being more comfortable as a place and, at least at present, there’s no waiting around.
address: Eurolink Business Centre, 49 Effra Rd, London SW2 1BZ
telephone: 020 7733 9346
This is a café on the way from central Brixton up towards Tulse Hill. So it’s a little out of the way and difficult to spot as it is within the distinctive white Eurolink Business Centre (previously Brixton’s Synagogue). The café is well advertised in the car park. It is a small light venue that is open for breakfast and lunch. They provide sandwiches for the people who work on the premises, which provides space for many small business units. This means there are likely to be a few people sitting around taking a break. We decided to go for lunch and were greeted by a friendly face who explained all the menu and makes a few suggestions. The table tops are also double as menus, so you can review your choices while you wait. The walls also provide a bit of entertainment, so you can guess the country where each photo comes from while you wait.
The menu consists of cold and hot dishes, desserts and a selection of smoothies with a helpful list of calories with them. We chose from the hot menu which has a strong Italian influence – Spaghetti amatriciana, spaghetti pescatora, Pollo al forno (Chicken with rice and vegetables) and a spinach and tomato or a lamb lasagne. We chose the pescatora and the vegetable lasagne. We were asked if we were happy to have the spaghetti spicy. This is hearty food – a large plate completely heaped with spaghetti and the lasagne was a large slab. The spaghetti was OK with enough fish of various types to justify the description although, in the event, not particularly spicy. The lasagne was more disappointing – it needed more seasoning and it wasn’t what was advertised on the menu – not a bit of spinach or tomato in sight. We were asked what we thought of the food and mentioned the menu change. It seems this batch was actually courgette and other stuff, so it was hard to see the filling as it didn’t stand out from the béchamel sauce. The saving of the dish was the reasonable helping of side salad, which had an interesting pesto dressing.
We drank a coffee and tapwater (which came with ice) but there were lots of smoothies to choose from.
We were absolutely full and didn’t finish either of the plates but we will probably only go back to try to breakfast for a little while and will certainly ask for more information about each dish. They seem to be a socially responsible as there is a post on Brixton Buzz about their contribution to the Macmillan Coffee Morning and the coffee was good, so it may be more of a place for a mid-morning snack.
The hot dishes were all £5.50 and because of the mix up with the lasagne they didn’t charge for ourcoffee, so it came to £11.00.
Address: 67/68 Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8PS
Telephone number – 077 9249 2112
Monday: Closed, Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday: 11am-5pm, Thursday: 11am-11.30pm, Friday: 11am-11.30pm, Saturday: 11am-11.30pm, Sunday: 11am-5pm
Casa Sibilla is an authentic Italian restaurant in the heart of Brixton Village. The market used to be full of sharks and fish of varying colours with vegetables that had to be boiled for days and then still seemed uncooked. It now has Italian restaurants – not only Italian but which actually say they serve food from particular areas of Italy. Casa Sibilla serves us food from Puglia and Piedmont. We have visited on and off but had not reviewed it for some time – so here goes. We booked – yes booked – on Opentable. This is certainly more organised than they were – or anyone is – in Brixton Village. Continue reading
Address: 5th Avenue, 81 Granville Arcade, Brixton Village SW9 8PS
Focaccia GB is a newish addition to Brixton Village although we have eaten there a couple of times before. However, this was after trips to Snugg (more later) and Champagne and Fromage, so we decided on this occasion to approach it when sober. This is a small restaurant with no space to eat inside but with tables out front. Because it is near to Snugg it can get quite loud at the end of the week with the live DJ but on this occasion it was early on a Thursday so it was quiet and there was plenty of room.
During the day Focaccia GB sells filled fresh baked focaccia and ciabatta with the bread being baked each morning. Fillings include prosciutto, tomatoes, mozzarella and salami as well as caponetta. In the evening they serve assaggini which are small plates and are presumably the same as cicchetti, which are from Venice. These are small tapas like dishes such as pasta –two types on the night we went – ravioli funghi porcini (ravioli stuffed with mushroom with butter and sage) and quadrotti ricotta spinaci (like ravioli but stuffed with ricotta and spinach with a tomato and parmesan sauce). The menu also included meatballs (beef and pork with tomato sauce) and cod with spinach and walnuts. There are also some specials on a blackboard but we now can’t remember what they are. However, there is enough to choose from and a blessedly short menu is what we like, as we don’t get overwhelmed or suffer from regret for not trying something later. They also have a dessert but you have to ask what that is each day.
We chose the two types of pasta and started with the Antipasto Italiano to share. The antipasto consisted of salami (quite peppery wrapped around a Puglia olive), sundried tomatoes, thick pesto, cheese (we don’t remember which one) and the most delicious aubergine which we would have eaten as a main course. All the antipasto sat on crisp bread which allowed you to scoop it up, although we had to resort to the fork a couple of times.
Both kinds of ravioli were soft and slid down easily and both came with a soft bread stick to wipe up the sauce. We preferred the little parcels of ricotta and spinach and our only criticism is that we would have liked more porcini in the ravioli. We washed these small plates down with small glasses red wine – one from Montepulciana and one Pugliese – both of which were good.
The staff are enthusiastic and willing to explain all the dishes so you feel you really are making the right choice. They did explain that we needed more dishes than three for a whole meal but we were not really very hungry, so stuck to three and shared each one. The bill came to £21.60 – we will definitely be going back to try the other dishes.
392-394 Brixton Road, SW9 7AW
Telephone 020 7738 4002
Creams is one of a growing chain, so strictly speaking, outside our terms of reference. But it’s an interesting new addition to places to eat in Brixton, so worth a mention. First, it’s a place to go and hangout, as much as place to eat. And secondly, it’s unlikely to appeal to your typical visitor to Brixton Village. While they say they source the ice cream from Italy the place itself is more North American in inspiration.
There’s an extensive menu (see here on their website) but it’s almost all variations on the theme of ice cream. My companion had the Oreo Sundae while I went for the Coffee Bean Sundae. The latter came without the chocolate shavings and chocolate syrup promised by the menu but the cappuccino, dolce latte and vanilla ice cream layered with chocolate coffee beans and caramel sauce was sufficient for all but the most dedicated sweet tooth. The ice cream, while nothing special, is authentic enough.