Vera Cruz

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

Telephone: 020 7733 4810

Website: http://www.vera-cruz.co.uk/home

Email:  Vera.Cruz.Brixton@gmail.com

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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

Nando’s

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

https://www.nandos.co.uk/eat/restaurants/brixton

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

Talho01

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

Brazas

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

http://www.brazas.co.uk/

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

http://www.brixtonvillagegrill.co.uk

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

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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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Brick Box

address: Brixton Village, Brixton SW9 8PS

telephone: 020 727-4221

email: hello@thebrickbox.co.uk

http://www.thebrickbox.co.uk/brixton.html

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.