Vera Cruz

veracruz01Address: Arlington Parade, Brixton Hill, Brixton, London SW2 1RH

Telephone: 020 7733 4810



Opening times:

  • Monday to Saturday: 7am to 6pm
  • Sunday: 8am to 4pm

Brixton isn’t all about the new places. There are plenty of relatively unassuming cafes and restaurants, where the newer Brixtonians will rarely be seen. These places will never be reviewed in Time Out or the Guardian and Vera Cruz is just one of those local places and it has been in our sights for a while. It’s in the small row of shops just at the beginning of Brixton Hill but isn’t looking its best at the moment covered with scaffolding that mean you can easily miss it. We went on the off chance but we guessed that it would have a long stretch at lunchtime – we were right.

The decor consists of red vinyl chairs and Formica tables, walls covered with plastic covered pictures of Madeira. The menu echoes these routes and is much too long to explain. We chose the special (creamy chicken curry and rice or bravas) and picado (pieces of tender sirloin steak cooked in garlic, gravy and red wine sauce).

As you can see from the photo, the chicken curry was creamy and lurid but had little flavour. A bit of salt might have helped. I was worried about the rice but it was good with separated grains.


The picado did not live up to its name – it was good exercise for the jaw and certainly took more than 15 chews. The sauce was ok although had a bit too much cornflour. The best bit one either plate was the chips. Homemade, golden brown and crispy and went well dipped in the gravy.


The really interesting part of this eatery was the choice of reading material on the bar – The Journal of Psychological Studies sounds pretty mainstream but not when it comes from the spiritist psychological society. This is a society that link philosophy and religion to the spirits with three main protagonists God, Jesus and someone called Alan Kardec. I might return just to flick through the pages but this time I will not roam from the egg and chips menu.

The meal for two cost was around £14 including one Coca Cola.






234-244 Stockwell Rd, Brixton, London SW9 9SP

Opening times

Monday 11.30am – 11pm
Tuesday 11.30am – 11pm
Wednesday 11.30am – 11pm
Thursday 11.30am – 11pm
Friday 11.30am – 12am
Saturday 11.30am – 12am
Sunday 11.30am – 11pm

First a disclaimer. Nando’s for me has always been a place of comfort and consistency. A visit to Nando’s as a teenager in South London was a rite of passage. Where you would go after the cinema, swimming, or even your first date. I Love Nando’s.

When we started this blog we said that we wouldn’t review chains. But our blog, our rules, and over time they have slowly crept in. After finding out that Nando’s in Brixton is one of the least well known, out of its 339 UK branches, we decided this was reason enough to pay it a visit.

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Cinco Quinas


13 Atlantic Road, SW9 8HX

020 7501 9540

Closed Sundays

This is a Portuguese butcher in one of the railway arches in Atlantic Road, so vegetarian readers might wish to stop right here. For some time I thought that the name was “Talho Acougue”, because that’s what it says most prominently above the shop. But this just means “butcher butcher” using two terms for the same thing, depending on what variety of Portuguese is being used. The shop sign also displays the flags of Portugal, Brazil, Madeira and the UK, which also suggests something of the background. Continue reading


Address: 45 Tulse Hill, Brixton, London,  SW2 2TJ
Telephone: 020 8678 0697

This “authentic Portuguese cuisine in the heart of South London” is a Brixton staple. It is not in Brixton Village but nearly opposite the large Sainsbury’s on Tulse Hill. We’ve reviewed it before but the people who ran it previously have  moved on to Prima Donna in Market Row. However, the food on offer is basically unchanged.

It has an unprepossessing exterior and at first glance the interior looks like a local cafe. But venture further into its Tardis-like interior and you will find a proper restaurant at the back and, like the Tardis, it is much bigger than it seems as the restaurant area runs across two buildings. Tables are plain, have a couple of red flowers and a candle. Picasso styled paintings adorn some walls. None of this provides a warm interior and it was so chilly that we kept our coats on.


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Brixton Village Grill’d

Brixton Village Grilladdress: 2nd Avenue 43-44 Brixton Market; Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8PR

telephone: 07894353561

This is a fusion of Portuguese and English cuisine – so says the trendy website which also has funky music. We decided to update our previous review as it has been no little time since we visited.  It was a Thursday evening and we were worried that we wouldn’t find a table because Brixton Village is often packed. We also wanted to have a more leisurely meal than is usual in most of the restaurants. But at 6.30 it was absolutely fine. We were the second customers and in February we chose an inside table. The décor is the ubiquitous slightly wobbly tables and wooden chairs. The inside décor is described on our previous post but we think you need to see it all for yourself. The decor is plain (I’ve given up on the word minimalist) apart from the two extra large black chandeliers.

The service was friendly and helpful. They seem to share responsibilities, so it meant that we had several people moving plates and checking up on how we were. It is good to have someone taking notice, although a few less checks might be better. But it does mean that it is easy to attract someone’s attention – not that we needed anyone. They do want to turn the tables over quickly and it did get packed later, so consider a two hour slot as your limit.

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A&C Continental Delicatessen

2013-12-11 16.14.03

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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Brick Box

address: Brixton Village, Brixton SW9 8PS

telephone: 020 727-4221


Brick Box, in the heart of Brixton Village, describes itself with some hyperbole as a place for art, love and magic. We were not totally convinced; however, it does serve food, so of course we had to review it. With the usual wooden tables and mismatched chairs, it squeezes in tables at angles in the small internal space and outside in the alleyway so it has much seating. It is extremely popular so at 6.45 on a Friday the outside tables were full and we were lucky to even get an inside table. This was in comparison to other restaurants which were relatively empty at that time. One explanation fir this might be the happy hour which starts at 5pm.

The venue says it provides for a number of events including screenings, live art (?) and theatre which will be a bit of a coup given the size of the place. Most events seem actually to happen in their Tooting site although the walls are covered with art.

This community arts group have partnered with Senzala in Brixton to provide the food- a  range of sweet and savoury crepes and galettes – and of course a fully licensed bar which seemed to be attracting the most custom. We ordered a Caprinha and a lemon daiquiri to get us into the spirit  and, sorry but they were both a bit of a disappointment. They were more like alcopops rather than cocktails so we wished we had chosen the wine.

The menu comes in two section – the savoury and the sweet crepes. There is some allergy advice on the menu and you can get a wheat, gluten, lactose and egg free gallette which is what we chose. We ordered the Senzala and the Caramelised goat. These were very similar – rocket and cheese (gorgonzola or goat’s cheese), caramelised red onions and mixed herbs with the addition of sun dried tomatoes in the Senzala. They were plump and the gallette was thin and crispy but stuck together enough to allow you to get all the bits into your mouth at the same time. We enjoyed them but we want to point out that if you highlight the caramelised red onions on the menu then they do need to be caramelised and not just a bit sweet and limp.

Service was fast for ordering and helpful  – pointing out that we should try the homemade chili sauce as we would never have noticed it in the sugar container. A little of it went a long way – but it does add spice to the cheesy mix. We were surprised at how much better the galettes were on this occasion from a previous visit when we had the Spaniard which was a bit limp with too little filling. We didn’t repeat the choice so we can’t verify a change in this one.

We didn’t have a sweet crepe but they looked more variable with mixtures of the following ingredients – bananas, nuts, Belgian chocolate (white, milk or dark), rum, coconut, nutella and maple syrup. We just went to Lab G for an ice cream – two pancakes in the same meal definitely seemed one too many.

Our bill was £21.00 for two including the drinks and they do provide tap water on the table. Wine is about £15.00 and cocktails around £6.00

We might go back next time for a cup of tea and a sweet pancake which would make a change from the cupcake offerings in most of the other tea shops in Brixton Village.

O Cantinho de Portugal

Address: 137 Stockwell Road SW9 9TN

telephone: 020 7924 0218
The largest Portuguese community in London is near Brixton so it is obvious that some of the best Portuguese and Madeiran food  would be right here – it is  – but not in the new pop-ups in Brixton Village. The best Portuguese food is found in a well established restaurant on Stockwell Road. It is also genuine – the main language is Portuguese, the TV is switched to Portuguese game shows and news channels (we assume there was no football that evening) and the tables in the restaurant are covered in clean white cloth with the ubiquitous wooden chairs with turned tops.

 You enter the restaurant through the bar which has finger food and salads. The ambience is friendly as well as formal enough to make it a special occasion. Our only complaint is that the mobile phone connections are not good enough to quickly search for the Portuguese words on the TV News. But we did in the end learn about the movement of parish boundaries currently being discussed in parliament!

The food is divided into the usual starters, mains and desserts with a long list of meat dishes (mainly pork), half a page of bacalau dishes and then other fish. We chose “porco Alentejana” – pork cubes, fried potatoes and clams with a sprinkling of chilli and pepper which was unusual, enormous and delicious – and “bacalau con natas” which is dried salted cod, potatoes and onions in a cream sauce which was also enormous and delicate with none of the over saltiness that usually comes with such dishes. We liked it although we could understan
We washed it all down with water and half a bottle of red wine – Casa de Santar which was very dry but grew on us. We finished off (despite our tight waists and in the spirit of curiosity) with two of their desserts that are on display just beneath one of the two TVs. We had “molotov” a caramel souffle  with a caramel sauce – again huge -which was an Italian meringue which had been lightly cooked. It was probably a mistake and certainly is not something I would choose again unless I hankered after burnt sugar. We also ordered “leite creme” which was a pleasant creme brulee.d if people complained about the undifferentiated flavour. Did we mention they were enormous portions? Even after we had stopped eating we easily had enough for another meal or two or three.

As we sat down we were presented with basket of bread and butter and a bowl of olives. We were charged for the bread (very Portuguese) but not the olives which was a good thing as we certainly would have complained. The olives were not at all interesting and, as we have said several times in this blog, there is a very good delicatessen in Brixton under the arches which sells very good and well flavoured olives.

Per person price is about “20 per person including the most expensive wine on the menu – so clearly a bargain.

Brixton Village Grill

Brixton Village Grilladdress: 43-44 Brixton Market; Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8PR

telephone: 07894353561

This is a fusion of Portuguese and English cuisine – so says the trendy website which also has funky music. We decided to write this review after our second visit as the first was early on when they were just learning the ropes. It was a Saturday and we were worried that we wouldn’t find a table anywhere in Brixton Village but on this Saturday we got lucky with an inside table at BVG. This allowed us to investigate the banksyesque pictures- Winston Churchill with a mohican hairstyle, Thomas the Tank Engine being grafittied and a cute take off of Bart Simpson (but we’ll let you see for yourself). The decor is plain (I’ve given up on the word minimalist) apart from the pictures and the two extra large black chandeliers.  On our first visit we missed all this because we decided to sit outside as the atmosphere inside the restaurant caught at the back of your throat –  burnt fat. But we are glad to report that they seem to have sorted out their kitchen extractor and it was absolutely fine inside this time.

The service was very helpful and pleasant from all the waiters and waitresses as they seem to share responsibilities. This meant we never had to try to attract someone’s attention as someone was always on hand. When we arrived they checked whether we wanted a leisurely meal or to cut and run to our next appointment and then chose a place for us – that made us feel they were taking an interest but also means they can turn over tables quickly.

The food – a short menu which is always a blessing –  is a fish and meat paradise but not much except olives and one main course for vegetarian.It is after all a grill and exactly what you would expect from a Portuguese/English restaurant. There’s steaks, chicken, ribs, and fish – relatively plain but there is peri peri chicken as a starter which may be spicy but we didn’t try it on either of our visits. So for starters we had the rock salt sardines which were good but perhaps could have done with a bit more salt. For main courses we had the ribs,and the fish of he day which was whole sea bream both with chips and salad. The bream was delicious and worth negotiating the bones. The ribs were tasty but a bit chewy. They were washed down with Sagres beer. We asked another table for their views of the red wine and they were in favour of the middle one on the menu – Casa Antiga. For dessert we shared a dime bar cheesecake – a good decision as they don’t go in for meager portions.

Overall we would visit again despite the wealth of choices in Brixton Village. It offers simple well cooked food which they can turn out quickly to a good standard and the relaxed ambiance where you can talk without shouting but still feel a buzz means we will take more friends next time. Later reports suggest that the vegetarian dish was very disappointing so perhaps they need to work on extending their menu to attract all types of customers.

The price per person is probably around £15 – 20 without too much alcohol but a welcome addition is their loyalty card which means that your 6th meal will have a 50%  discount –  so you can save yourself for the future blowout.



Address: 45 Tulse Hill, Brixton, London,  SW2 2TJ
Telephone: 020 8678 0697

This is a SouthAmerican restaurant with a very unprepossessing exterior and the interior at first glance looks like a local cafe. But venture further inside and there is a restaurant at the back which is such a surprise. similar to the Tardis it is much bigger than at first glance as the restaurant area runs across two buildings. Argentina is about meat, chargrilled. We chose piri piri chicken and a speciality of Argentina – a stew that had ingredients that no-one now remembers but they did sound exotic.

Booking is necessary unless you are there early as it gets very full. We had a main course and then took advantage of the fantasic range of cakes as a takeaway for later. There is a really good selection of cheesecake with imaginative toppings and no-one should pass without taking something home for later.

Wine list looked ok – we were on a no alcohol until the weekend so didn’t try it. The menu isn’t cheap but it isn’t outrageous either.