So, on to our Spanish week initiated by our takeaway from Boqueria and our recent Tapas Room home cooked meal (coming soon). We have a somewhat fixed idea of what should be on the menu, which means the dishes mimic our choices from an Andalucian restaurant. First off was a “tortilla Espagnol” using the basic recipe with fried potatoes, onions, eggs and enormous amounts of olive oil. Cooked on the stove and then the oven. Eaten warm is best, but we were hungry… it was delicious. All the ingredients are readily available from Brixton of course.
Next was an attempt at “Arroz Negra” – rice with a sprinkling of muscles and squid with a squid ink sauce. Despite its rather unappealing photo – it was good to eat. The rice needs to be like a risotto, with a bit of a bite, the main difference being that it doesn’t need constant stirring. Having a crispy bottom – the socarrat – is the objective. Beware of putting in salt too early, as the squid ink has some already. The fish came from Brixton but the squid ink was from packets acquired on a past trip to Spain. Let’s hope it’s not too long before we can restock.
Lastly, we have a chickpea, spinach and roasted pepper dish, which expands on a family favourite with the addition of more tomato and of course chestnuts. This was served with half of a patatas bravas. We were too hungry to wait for the mayonnaise-like sauce, which meant we just ate delicious roasted potatoes. They usually have packets of the ready-cooked chestnuts at Brixton Wholefoods.
Casting around for a new theme for the week we decided on British and as we had already had some haggis, we made a beeline for fish and chips. We reviewed Olley’s Fish and Chips in one of our takeaway competitions – see here and here. We have always given it a high rating (if we ever did ratings) despite the fact that it is expensive. They have with several delivery options – last time we went with Uber Eats, but this time chose Deliveroo. Continue reading →
We have been in-person to Silk Road and loved it, so we thought we would try a delivery. It’s a well-known Sichuan restaurant in Camberwell, where in normal life you have to book to share a table. We went with a takeaway via Deliveroo.
There are hot, cold and Xinjiang Style Dishes, as well as dumplings and side dishes. We avoided the tripe and the gizzards which appear several times – we were just a bit squeamish. There is a very good guide on heat and whether it is vegetarian. We mostly chose slightly hot, which is the right level for us. Hot and very hot are also available.
First there were the dumplings – egg leek and shrimp filled, then we ordered Special cooked lamb noodle (Lamb, onion, cabbage and chili with hand-pulled noodle), Xinjiang Lamb Shish (lamb pieces and fat roasted over charcoal, seasoned with salt, cumin and chili – described as a traditional street food popular throughout China), Homestyle Aubergine (stir-fried aubergine with tomato and green chili) and a box of boiled white rice.
The dumplings were warm and after adding some soy sauce were yummy. There were 10 of them so some were saved for the next day. We can definitely say that the heat is described well, as the Shish lamb described as “hot” was definitely a level up from the other dishes. But the heat was just right for this barbecued dish and barbecuing the fat meant that there was plenty of juice and it was really tasty.
The noodles were great as well. A bit on the soft side, but packed with flavour as well as a gentle heat. Finally, the aubergine dish was slippy and a great complement to the lamb and the rice. It had a bit of bite but not much and was “slightly hot”.
The meal for two (with one meal leftover) was about £31.00. It was more in total, as it involved a service fee, a delivery fee and a rider tip. We drank it all with Brixton IPA beer.
We have written in the past about how to shop locally at Christmas (see here and here). But Brixton has changed so much in recent years, so we thought we would give you an update. This is just a few ideas, as there are now so many great shops to choose from – although we would like Lidl back for their German biscuits and Stollen. It is the time to invest in a little something special, but of course it is also a hard time for many people. You can buy a child a toy by going to Kids Out (See here), or donate to the Brixton and Norwood Foodbank (link here) with money, or put items into their boxes in local supermarkets.
[STOP PRESS: Lidl Acre Lane now due to open after refit on 17th December.]
Pudding – well you can go for some interesting ones in M&S, now that Lidl in Acre Lane is closed until January (or go to the one in Stockwell). [See STOP PRESS above.]
Vegetables – why not go for a box from En Root (see here) £25.00’s worth of surprises (although we will let you into a secret – there’s always a pineapple). There’s also Nour, of course.
Cake – indulgent in the L’Atelier Patisserie, providing chocolate logs (see here) as well as proper french patisserie in Market Row. We still haven’t found the best rum cake. so if anyone knows where to buy one please send us the recommendation.
Fruit – well, for tangerines/mandarins, custard apples and persimmons (my personal favourite), we recommend the My Village shop at the corner of Electric Avenue and Atlantic Road. They also have some small bananas, but they are quite expensive. Note that anywhere you buy mandarins, it’s buyer beware – sometimes they look good but taste awful. Even the same stall can’t be relied on every week.
Alcohol – well there are the little cans of made-up cocktails in M&S or you buy a bottle in The Wine Parlour (89 Brixton Village), or from Salon Wine Store. Our favourite recommendation is a bottle of Palo Cortado – a nutty dry, but dark, sherry – a great accompaniment to opening your Christmas stocking.
Where to get yourDecorations
We have lost many of the shops selling decorations, but there is still the Brixton Party Shop in Brixton Village that sells paper plates, balloons and lots of other paper items you can use for Christmas. The Arts and Crafts shop upstairs at 387 Brixton Rd (over Kingshield Chemists) is great for coloured paper, so you can make your own paper chains. Please use it, as it’s an underused resource.
Tinsel is sold in all those hardware shops along Atlantic Road that sell large pans and colourful plastic bowls – just look up and it will be hanging there.
Red paper napkins from Tesco.
Tablecloth from Morleys, or a Table runner and napkins with silver reindeer.
From Poundshop there are the stick-on snowflakes – £1 for a set of 6. They are plastic, but ours have lasted for 5 years and are coming out again this year.
And some ideas for presents
Granville Arcade (Brixton Village)
If you want some really colourful fabric shopping bags (£5.00), or a dress or a headband, then go to African Queen Fabric shop in Third Avenue (aka little Africa).
The same alleyway has lots basketware for the table and for your laundry. Another shop there sells blue and white enamel plates and bowls that are often sold at a higher price in expensive kitchen shops.
For children’s books stop off in Roundtable Books (see link here) – only one customer at a time in the shop, but we are told they are very helpful.
Soap and Candles – always a good choice – then go to Cornercopia – Soap is only £2.00 so good for a Christmas stocking. Soap dishes can come from Artisan Stories (£12)
Of course there is the Jewelry shop (Rose and Thorne), the clothes (we can’t keep up as the open and close frequently) and the delicatessens (like Guzzl) selling everything you might want and consumables are definitely a plus this year.
I have always wondered if there was something I could buy from the Voodoo shop – but it would be ironic and I don’t have any friends who would understand the joke. There is also a shop on the corner of Electric Lane selling incense and smelly candles, which has a good range.
There are Toys, headbands again, hats, leather satchels and little gifts all along this Arcade. But you can also buy someone delicious food from the Salon Delicatessen.
Pop Brixton: There’s Japanese knives (with instructions) from Kataba Japanese Knifeshop ( see link here). Or some wine from the (mainly) New Zealand wine shop, Specialist Cellars – they do delivery (see link here).
Loved Again Limited is a secondhand shop 140 Stockwell Road SW9 9TQ for some beautiful secondhand vases or decorative objects or treat yourself to a turn of the century desk or dining chairs.
Top floor of Morleys sells Charbonnell and Walker chocolates at a 20% discount (I’ve hinted at the egg nog ones). Lower floors also sell make-up of course and the kitchen department has almost everything you might need to prepare a slap up Christmas dinner.
Quirky vintage and artisan or vintage clothes, and decorative pieces for the house can be found at 61 Acre Lane. Choose from an upcycled sari sun dress or shirt or a timeless set of cocktail glasses. See https://www.quirkydovetail.co.uk/
Tonight is Diwali, the festival of light for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, but we can all join in. So here’s a short round-up of the local south Asian restaurants that we’ve reviewed, where you can order food for delivery. Then just light some candles.
Just fancied an Indian takeaway on a Friday night, so we remembered that we used to have them from Curry Paradise. Read on because we want you to include it in your choices too – especially as Covid-19 is spreading and we need to keep supporting our local restaurants. We now can’t remember who delivered this, but I think most of the delivery companies have Curry Paradise in their lists.
Leave a little time to peruse the menu, as it is worth having a detailed look given the appetizing descriptions. So we didn’t order a Mathi – Hyderbadi style cooked with spring onion, fresh fenugreek leaves and crushed spices, but now wished we had. Most of the dishes come with different types of meat or vegetables. Unusually for the three of us we chose two meat (unusual as we generally veer towards the veggie options) and tarka dahl and an aubergine dish. We had rice, two naans – one garlic and one peshwari – and of course poppadoms. Extras weren’t necessary, but we had some onion bhajis anyway – three in a portion.
We had chicken korma, in recognition of Friday night in front of the TV with the children and a chicken tikka masala, because we didn’t collaborate at all on the order. Both were exactly what was expected. The korma was smooth and sweet and the tikka massala was also smooth but also had a great spice and a little chili.
The aubergine was a dish of small slippery aubergines and, of course, with lots of tomatoes and onion. The dahl was really good not at all mushy or watery. Both dishes went well with the Naans. And the bhajis were as crisp and tasty as required.
We drank our own Brixton IPA – a great combo with the poppadoms. We want to recommend this takeaway and will definitely be returning. The food was really good and the portions were so large we had another two lunches out of it. So, in effect, it provided seven ample helpings and, at a cost of £57, including delivery fee, offered great value.
Domino’s didn’t do so well in our previous pizza challenge (see here) but subsequent comments suggested that it had been under-rated. Anyway, we were craving some on a Friday night and decided to give it another go. It had to be a delivery, as we are just emerging from quarantine and still taking things really carefully.
The menu is reduced but actually it makes it much easier to choose and there seem to be all the favourites. We chose a large (13.5) Veggie Supreme and a large (13.5 again!) American Hot. And here they are.
Even when we finished they didn’t look very different, as we only managed about a third of each. Delivery does bring out the “eyes much bigger than stomachs” in me. On the bright side we have lunch and breakfast for the next two days.
My Veggie was delicious and somehow despite the cheese I felt virtuous even while I was dipping the crust in the garlic sauce. The American hot was well received as well, with good pepperoni and enough chilli to make it interesting. Apologies for the poor quality picture though.
It was good and inexpensive as the deal is £10.99 for any large pizza so £21.98 for the two pizzas and whatever you decide to tip the delivery guy. There are lots more deals too and we definitely think a large is enough for two no matter how hungry you are.
The Clink now delivers! We’ve been once – see here – but we are currently quarantined and need to eat at home. So decided to be nice to ourselves and set up a booking to look forward to when we returned from holiday. But beware, eyes can be bigger than your stomach and this was certainly the case with our order.
For starters we ordered lemon & coriander hummus with handmade flat bread to share – certainly enough for two but we rather fancied the Arancini (sun-dried tomato & parmesan arancini with rocket pesto) and this was for one or two. Those two dishes served us for a really good lunch. When I say really good, not really good – it was fabulous. The Arancini were crisp and soft on the inside. The flatbread crispy on one side with oil and the hummus needed no adjustment for seasoning. Well done guys.
For dinner we had the sweet potato katsu curry with rice and what a revelation it was. The sweet potato had a bit of bite and even looked like a chicken katsu. The pickle had crunch with the occasional scotch bonnet surprise, and the katsu sauce was smooth and full of flavour. I am not keen on having my mouth tingle too much and this didn’t do that at all. If you like more chili then have a small bottle on the side to add. The rice steams so be careful removing the lid.
For some reason we also ordered extra vegetables – the Soy & Ginger Asian Greens which we ate with the katsu. It added a little crunch. What was surprising was the portion size. This was a curry for one but we shared and it was easily enough.
Then we were left with the Sea bream en papillote with Mediterranean vegetables & salsa verde. Delicious again – fish just right, vegetables superb (not enough hyperbole) and lovely sauce (requires a spoon).
Finally, we had the summer fruit crumble with crème anglaise which was definitely a sharing plate. Not just your boring apple one, but some sharpness of raspberry and red or black currants – we can’t check as we ate it all rather too quickly. Custard was smooth….mmmmm
Apart from being astounded by the quality of this meal, we really appreciated that every dish came with a description of what we needed to do with it. So we didn’t have to remember what we ordered or try to work it out for ourselves. We ordered £39.85 worth of food and paid £4.95 for the delivery. This included a couple of drinks (Cranberry Crush and Sicilian Lemonade). We got three meals out of this order, so it was brilliant value for money. We enjoyed every one and it cheered up our quarantine which was not like the original lockdown challenge, but became boring after the first couple of hours. We are definitely going to order again, probably before we are allowed to dine out again. But it would also make a really easy dinner party for your two households to enjoy.
Missing my colleagues, so we set up a date in The Kennington – winner of the best newcomer in the 2013 Great British Pub Awards. This is on a busy road but does have some outside space – although it is a bit noisy. Inside there is plenty of attention paid to safety with distanced seating, clear screens and socially distanced staff. Only two households allowed together, which was fine as there were only two of us. Continue reading →
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Special Instructions for the driver
Every now and again we need some sweetness in our lives and Ice Cream Union based in Bermondsey can provide it with home delivered ice creams. They have a great assortment from worthy vegan sorbets (rhubarb, blackberry, blackcurrant, blood orange, cucumber etc) to the creamy strawberry, vanilla, chocolate. But they also roam into unusual flavours like breton caramel, peanut butter, matcha and cornflake. The list is long but has helpful notation for gluten free, vegan, soy, egg, nuts, alcohol (surprisingly in the cucumber sorbet) and milk options.
They deliver in batches and four is the minimum. We ordered salted caramel, lemon pie, fior de latte and coffee. They come in polystyrene boxes and so far we have tried two of them. The lemon pie (contains egg and milk) tastes like the best lemon curd, sharp but rich. The salted caramel went well with the rich chocolate cake we made to use up some of the cocoa powder we found in the back of the cupboard.
They come quickly and are filling the space in the freezer which used to house the frozen peas. We are really looking forward to trying the rest of them on these warmer days. You can pay by cash or card – there is a card payment handheld with your driver. They are expensive – £10 per large tub but worth it for decadence, especially when there is no Easter egg delivery. The cost for four large tubs is £40 including delivery.