Morrocan Food

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Brixton Station Road – near to Brixton Road

Opening hours – most days

The changes to the arches on Brixton Station Road has meant the loss of many of the cafes and shops – but not the Moroccan Cafe. We reviewed the Cafe back in 2014 – see here – but we a pleased to report that it lives on in the form of the catering truck section, with tables and chairs nearby. The vegetable stews and soups have gone but the grilled meat dishes live on with a short menu of sandwiches and plates with a choice of baguette or wrap for the sandwich.

I chose the beef kofta in baguette which comes with salad (no surprise) but then there is a sprinkling of chips on the top. A choice of chili sauce or no chili sauce so not really a choice at all – chili is essential.

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It was HUGE. Even half was a bit of a challenge and the other half is still in my fridge until there is space in my stomach. Next time I will be brave enough to ask for even more chili sauce as it tends to sink into the bread but it was delicious, hit the spot and again, given that I was on my way back from the gym, put on the calories I had worked hard to burn off.

At only a fiver it was a bargain.

Bean and Bun – Vegan Burgers

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Website: www.beanandbun.co.uk

Brixton Station Road Market – Saturdays

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bean-and-Bun

As reported before, Brixton Station Road is now a food court with a range of different outlets and have slowly been working our way through them. Coming back from the gym (first time in four years) we stopped to pick up lunch. There are many different foods on offer, but when you have decided on the stall, the choice is generally limited. Although we had given up on Vegan eating at the end of January, this place caught our eye. Continue reading

French and Grace

French_Graceaddress: Unit 9 First Avenue, Brixton Village SW9 8PR

telephone  0207 274 2816

email info@frenchandgrace.co.uk

http://www.frenchandgrace.co.uk/

This a trip down memory lane, as French and Grace was one of our initial posts. We went for lunch and here we are again … lunchtime … and on a strict timetable. The restaurant is one of the minority that are open on Tuesday and, even so, was sparsely furnished with customers although this is fast food, so there is a quick turnover.  The eponymous owners used to run a supper club and then opened this restaurant in 2011 serving wraps. This remains their core business and we are pleased to see it survive in the now crowded food market of Brixton Village. Others have not been as lucky or have made it in a big way and now have extra outlets (e.g. Honest Burger and Mama Lan). French and Grace just have a travelling wrap shack (see http://www.frenchandgrace.co.uk/the-streets/ for their  locations this summer).  Continue reading

Lambeth Country Show – a culinary cornucopia

The Lambeth Country Show is in its 40th year and is on this weekend, if you hadn’t noticed. We never miss it, even if we are in our wellies trying to traverse the acres of mud. This sunny year (with showers) we discovered the amusing vegetable sculptures (how do they come up with the ideas), homemade cakes, worthy tents about health and community groups you might join or support which are all the usual fodder. But this year we also found a wealth of food and drink tents to tempt us even though we thought we were feeling too hot to eat.

We passed by French and Grace and the Koi Ramen tents as we have already reviewed them and tried the Food Hall which had many cupcake stalls, a sprinkling of mango juices as well as sauces to add to anything to make a boring meal sparkle. Mango spicy sauces in various heat strengths, lime coriander and chilli sauce, and many others …. too many to recount here just visit them on the three stalls in this tent.

I stopped at a stall selling hot Caribbean food – Dreens – who have curry goat, jerk chicken and fried fish – all with sides (rice and peas, festival coleslaw), corn on the cob and fruit salad. I chose the meal deal – goat curry, rice and peas and coleslaw. A hearty amount too. The goat was really well cooked, still on the bone but very easy to eat with a flimsy, plastic fork. It was really well spiced and not so hot that there was no subtlety to the individual flavours which included fresh thyme. The meal deal was £7.00 reduced from the menu price of £7.50 and well worth it – we shared it between two people.

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Dreens also serve beetroot, carrot and ginger juice, or apple, celery and kale but I chose some freshly made mango juice – from Senegal – Ecopeace. It was thick and very sweet and more a pudding than a refreshing drink but you feel worthwhile providing the support to this group who we have seen before at LCS. It also cost £3.50 a cup so not for the short of change. lcs2

We are writing this post-haste so you can all get down tomorrow (Sunday) and try the delicious options. There are a lot of jerk chicken stalls reflecting our Lambeth culture and so any that are great please let us know – especially if they are to appear again in Brixton.

But also take a walk around the country show – do see the Big Stage and the camels in the arena but also stop and provide some support for the Lambeth Time to Change campaign which is working to reduce discrimination and the stigma of mental ill health.

Moroccan Cafe

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Address: Brixton Station Road – near to Brixton Road

We have passed this restaurant several times, before deciding to push on to Brixton Village. It seems that others have also passed by as we can see no other reviews online. Passing by is easy as distinguishing this restaurant from the other cafes on Brixton Station Road is really difficult. But we had heard some good reports and were on a mission to get couscous, which is reputed to be on the menu for Friday. They start late so we arrived about 2.00pm to see some large pots on the stove with steam and nice smells. Continue reading

Khamsa

KhamsaAddress: 140 Acre LaneBrixtonLondon, SW2 5UT

Telephone: (020) 7733 3150

Khamsa@khamsa.co.uk

http://www.khamsa.co.uk/

This return visit was in the early evening and we managed to get a seat – so be warned you need to book for any later than 7.00pm. You can do that online and at the time of this post it was not open at all on Monday or Sunday evening.

We are impressed that the place is still open but perhaps the rising house prices in the local area are actually supporting the local economy.

Khamsa resides in a little oasis of shops and restaurants in the middle of Acre Lane opposite Upstairs (french) and a coffee shop. It still looks like a corner shop but inside it has turned into a warm dining area with wooden floor, ceiling and Algerian knick knacks over the walls. The tables have a large metal plat on them and the meal is served on this – a bit of a struggle to get the cutlery, glasses and plat (well more of a bowl really) so they might consider whether this is the easiest arrangement for eating even if it does contribute to an ethnic atmosphere.

North African food is pretty easy to get hold of in London but it is mainly from Morocco so it was a treat to visit something rarer and so close to home.  All the food is made on site and include as starters selections of Algerian salads. The names are definitely confusing but consist of vegetables e.g. carrots with lots of cumin and coriander. There is the usual merguez (spicy sausages) and more familiar things such as houmus. The main courses you may think you have seen in a Moroccan restaurant such as tajines and couscous but there are definitely some differences with more roast vegetables and unusual ingredients such as salmon or with sauces thickened with ground almonds. The choice is limited but there are specials on the chalk board which differ each day. We chose the salmon and a modern couscous. Both were delicately flavoured although the vegetables with the salmon were a bit boring.

The speciality is Algerian pastries and we took these away with us as we were definitely full after just a main course. The cakes are definitely the stars of the show – delicate and flavoured with rosewater and filled with nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts) – we had six to take home and they really are delicious but perhaps not as dessert. The chef originally trained as a pastry chef and so you really shouldn’t leave without trying something.

It still doesn’t have a drink license and so there were lots of plastic bags with beer or wine and they are happy to provide glasses and there was no corkage fee. They offer the ubiquitous mint tea but also make their own juices – I had apple and mint which went down all too easily.

The reason that we thought it would fail early is that the nearest thing pulling in likely passing trade customers was Lidl on the other side of the street. That went with our view of pricing at the time – competition mainly being with the greasy spoon, Chinese takeaway and chip shop down the road. Our main courses, bread, cakes and drinks came to £42.30 with a service charge. So not unreasonable and clearly they have customers so there is a local market. We will go back again but perhaps not for a little while for dinner but will certainly bear it in mind for the pastries.

Cafe Sitifis – NOW CLOSED

11 Rushcroft Road, London SW2 1JS

We’ve been running this blog for less than a year and we’ve already covered almost 50 places where it’s worth eating out in Brixton. That’s 50 places just a short walk from where we live and I also work. There can’t be many places that offer such a rich diversity of food, most of it good and at reasonable prices. And that’s not counting the places we haven’t managed to get too yet. For example, we have yet to cover all the pubs that offer reasonable meals. (fn1)

But there is a drawback to all this richness. Sometimes it is simply difficult to keep up, which means that some places get missed out, even though they are excellent. So I was concerned when I read on the Urban 75 Brixton forum that Cafe Sitifis is “is struggling to stay open”. (see the thread here http://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/cafe-sitifis-review-rushcroft-road-great-for-kids.269737/) I’ve already been a couple of times and it’s great but I never got round to writing a post. I have to admit that I’m not as good at writing up reviews as other members of the team. So I’ve just been again, just to check it still delivers, and I’m pleased to report that it’s as good as ever.

Cafe Sitifis is named after a town in Algeria which is where the owner comes from. So the food is North African. What it offers is straight-forward – a range of meze served with flat bread and a choice of cakes. And coffee or tea to drink. Within that there’s a wide choice of dishes but, because it’s such good value, I’ve always had the Chef’s Special, which is simply a bit of everything crammed onto a plate.

I actually lose count of what’s on the plate but it’s uniformly excellent. But this time I had the vegetarian version which included hummus, olives, couscous, tomato and cucumber salad, aubergine salad, marinated peppers, dolmades, tzatziki, lentil salad and so on. It comes with a dressing that’s just asking to be mopped up with the bread. This latest time I had the mint tea but I’ve also had the coffee, which are both great. This all costs £7.45 but there are cheaper dishes with, in effect, your choice of meze out of what’s on offer. The fresh cakes and middle-eastern pastries all look good as well.

So this is a strong recommendation if you want a light meal at lunchtime or maybe just a coffee and a pastry during the day. However, it’s not open in the evening. It’s got a welcoming atmosphere and, more practically, wifi.

fn1. The coverage excludes the Brixton branches of chains, which we don’t cover as a matter of policy, and a handful of other places that we know from bitter experience simply aren’t worth including. But please let us have your recommendations if you think there is somewhere else in Brixton we should cover.