Hungry Llama

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Brixton Station Road

Despite recent surveys that most workers in the U.K. fail to take a lunch break or have the same thing every day. We do take a break and would like others to do the same not only at the weekends. Ours is a low brow and cheap version with variety being the key. So we encourage everyone to try Station Road Brixton as it is now a lunch destination that changes daily. Different styles and countries sit side by side and there is always a choice, even on Monday. You can have a takeout or eat alfresco on the chairs and tables scattered around in the street. This Peruvian stall is a new addition to the food outlets and we tried it on Saturday after the gym.

The menu is simple – only two things, one veggie, one meat. Veggie was Quinoa stew and salad, the meat was chicken and rice. But the chefs thought the rice was “too strong” and they were not prepared to serve it. So, on this occasion, I had a mixture – chicken, quinoa and the salad. A large enough portion and plenty of reward for a couple of hours in the gym (well maybe it was only 45 minutes but I was counting every one).

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Quinoa tends to divide our family, a bit like marmite. This version was served in a tomato sauce with extra potato and was more than palatable. I turned down the chilli sauce but that was probably a mistake – I’ll know next time. The salad was a mixture of beetroot, tomato, potato and red onion. So it was mainly sweet with an occasional bite of onion – not unpleasant and definitely a foil for the quinoa. The chicken was cooked on a griddle and covered with a subtle but tasty marinade. It was delicious and I would definitely order it again but perhaps without quinoa.

The best part is the cost – £5 for one of the usual combinations and because I had a mixture, it was a bargain at £6.

 

 

Carioca

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address:   25-27 Market Row, Brixton,  SW9 8LD

http://www.primadonnabrixton.co.uk

This is formally Prima Donna and has now become definitely authentic Brazilian so it now has a USP (unique selling point).  It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and not much has changed except the menu since its earlier incarnation. There are a few tables inside and they are not crowded together so you can hear yourself think above the music – much more Brazilian than previously. There are also tables in the market corridor.

Breakfast is a full English or with a twist (smoked iberico pancetta, free-range scrambled eggs & baked tomato slices on ciabatta – showing multiple influences again as iberico is from Spain and pancetta from Italy). You can be very conservative with the hamburger made with Brazilian beef (seems a long way to go for that ingredient). But we arrived in the evening – 7.00pm to miss the crowds. There is a fixed price two course menu and we chose from that one as it had all the interest we needed. It also did offer an excessive choice, which is something we are both wary . For starters there were – spicy chicken wings. braised beef empanadas, beetroot and blue cheese salad and Pao de queijo with choizo (a sort of cheese roll usually made with cassava flour but we didn’t try this one). The main course were Feijoada described as Brazil’s national dish. A stew made from black beans cooked with an assortment of meat (chorizo, pork ribs, beef and pork); Chicken Caipira – braised chicken; Arepa, which is a flatbread made of maize filled (or they say stuffed) with pulled beef and vegetables; and finally Courgette, Potato and Leek Frittata, which is an explanation in itself. THe main menu also has more grilled items like spare ribs and steak and cassava chips. Continue reading

Jalisco

address: 1 Glanville Arcade, Brixton Village, London SW9 8PR

telephone: 0207 326 1690

After the cool days with plenty of rain on the first Tuesday when you could throw off your thick layers and sit outside Brixton Village was full to bursting and with a guest from the far north, we explored Brixton Village. Our guest was amazed. After having lived in Brixton for 10 years she had eventually ended up back in Scotland and now 10 more years later she was faced with trendy Brixton – a concept we had forgotten was novel as we were now used to seeing adverts in travel books as essential to include Brixton Village to get the cool Britain feel. Continue reading

Last Days of Pisco – Edible Experiences – It was only temporary

11 Rushcroft Road, London SW2 1JS

http://www.edibleexperiences.com

This is a different kind of review as it is a pop-up restaurant that was only available for the day. But we decided to review it as it may reappear later and you can also keep your eye out for new themed pop-ups (see later).  Brixton now has a rich selection of restaurants but what it doesn’t have is one providing Peruvian food. This pop-up filled that gap even if for only a day. Last Days of Pisco is a travelling Pisco bar and cervicheria

The pop-up appeared in Cafe Sitifis, a small café just off Coldharbour Lane on a Saturday night (which has sadly now closed). This pop-up appeared at 6.30 pm for cocktails and at 8.00pm the food began. Of course with the “Last Days of Pisco” there were cocktails of Pisco  – including the traditional Pisco Sour. We were stick-in-the-muds and only went for traditional  – our cocktail (not as strong or long as I remember them from Lima) was a little frothy (the egg white) and with a balance of the sugar and lemon or maybe it was lime (who could tell after the first one…..).

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Prima Donna

address:   25-27 Market Row, Brixton,  SW9 8LD

http://www.primadonnabrixton.co.uk

I never wanted to start a review with the sentence ‘The problem with this restaurant is…’ but I don’t feel creative enough to say it another way. So … the problem with this restaurant is its USP (unique selling point). It has an Italian name, a Portuguese/Brazilian style of food at dinner and it plays music from Radio 1. Described as an cafe/restaurant the breakfast menu looks English yet lunch seems to be more Brazilian. I quite like novelty but this is so eclectic that may be difficult for passers by to understand (and be drawn to) its open doors. This is a shame as it probably deserves encouragement.

This is a new restaurant in Market Row rather than in Brixton Village and it builds a new epicurean alleyway particularly as the Village is getting fuller and fuller and hard for the casual visitor to be sure of getting fed. Small tables (for two) are inside and outside. Its white walls have little adornment (well there isn’t much wall in there) and across the back wall is the kitchen.

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El Rancho de Lalo

Address: 94-95 Brixton Village Market, SW9 8PS

Telephone:

email: elranchodelalo@hotmail.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/pages/El-Rancho-De-Lalo/156815314336773

El Rancho de Lalo has been in Brixton Village for as long as we can remember and, despite the area’s recent renaissance in smart modern eateries, its simple approach to Colombian food still seems to be holding its own. Located on the Coldharbour Lane side of the Village, the restaurant’s exterior still manages to stand out with a tidy awning, dark wooden detail, and half a dozen tables outside. The interior is simply furnished with an open kitchen displaying hanging sausages and a couple of chefs hard at work. The service was friendly, came with a smile and, although not advertised on the menu, provided us with a couple of Corona beers served with lemon, and a surprisingly refreshing Kiwi juice.

The menu was short with similar looking dishes throughout. As with other South American Cuisines Colombian food is relatively simple mostly consisting of meat, rice, and beans. A couple of us ordered the Colombian National dish, the £10 Bandeja Paisa, which was more of a platter than a dish, consisting of a large Colombian Sausage, thinly cut steak, crispy pork belly, kidney beans in a dark sauce, a mound of rice topped with a fried egg, corn bread, avocado, salad and a slice of plantain. All in all it was pretty delicious. The sausage was beautifully spiced, the steak well cooked, the avocado perfectly ripe and the unlikely presence of an egg somehow seemed to work. The other member of our party went for the £10 pork that came with similar trimmings plus a potato and was, by all reports, pretty tasty. As is probably clear from the sheer quantity of components, the portions were huge, and could quite easily have been shared.

Dessert was super sweet figs, a semi solid serving of caramel and a white Colombian Cheese. The saltiness of the cheese worked well with the sweetness of the figs and the caramel bound the two together perfectly.

El Rancho de Lalo is a simple restaurant serving simple, well executed food. If you’re a big fan of meat, looking to fill yourself up, and not willing to spend more than a tenner when doing so, this is probably the place for you.

Opening Hours Mon – Wed: 09:00 – 19:00 Thurs: 09:00 – 22:00 Fri – Sat: 09:00 – 19:00

Restaurante Santafereño

SantaferinoAddress: Brixton Village Market, Coldharbour LaneLondon SW9 8PR

contact:

Santafereño is the name of a soup in Colombia made up of some broth and then bits of egg, meat etc. It is more like a stew than a soup and when it comes as only the first course of three you know you’ll never reach the end of the meal. This is the ideal place for lunch if you are very very hungry and want to fill up on the cheap. But it is not gourmet food but it is definitely authentic – many people don’t even speak English and the menu is in Spanish. Eating on tables surrounded mostly by families and friends who are definitely part of the local Colombians provided colour and confidence in its authenticity – the tourists I noticed are now swelling the crowd sitting outside. There are a couple of rooms and a spillover in the market itself and it is certainly the largest restaurant in Brixton Market with a capacity for about 40 inside and probably the same outside. The decor is basic – in fact I think the word decor is out of place. There are unmatched chairs and tables, plastic table cloths on most of them and an unfinished air about the place. This is despite this being one of the old school restaurants with a much longer history than the newer places after Brixton Village was founded.

When we were perusing the menu we decided to have just a little something and we thought we had ordered a bowl of soup but what we hadn’t realised was that this was the appetiser. It was huge with a choice of various meats in it – I had pork. Then came the main course lots of meat again as well as rice and peas and a vegetable. Either course alone would have been enough to prevent most people from doing anything afterwards but doze off.  We decided to deny ourselves and didn’t even attempt the pudding which was a small jelly or a flan. Our Sunday lunch meant we were unable to move for the rest of the afternoon and slothlfully walked home to digest.

Restaurante Santafereño is open throughout the day and I have heard good news about the breakfast – but can anyone start the day with eggs, meat, rice, peas and plantain followed by coffee and cake. If you can it is the place for you.

The service is orderly and very friendly. They showed us the fresh green salsa to eat with the main course and even tried to press us to have a taste of the pudding but we were firm. The whole three courses came to about £7.00 per person and we even had a soft drink thrown in. No wonder it always has customers.