Address: Arlington Parade, Brixton Hill, Brixton, London SW2 1RH
Telephone: 020 7733 4810
- 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.
Address: 10 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, London, SE24 9HU
The Half Moon pub is now transformed back into its Grade II listed glory. It is now a “dining destination” and it has 12 “boutique” bedrooms. The grand opening was only a month ago, so we thought we would get in early as the destination for a family outing on Easter Monday.
The grand dining room – I have given up with the quotation marks – is ….no I can’t resist…. “eclectic”. Large baskets act as light shades, plenty of plants on rugged looking stacked shelves but luckily the tables and chairs were comfy and not the stolen from a skip variety. We went at 6:00pm, when it looked half empty but it gradually filled up . We were glad we had booked, as they were turning people away.
There were five of us and we were given the Sunday evening menu. It changes by the day and also by the time you eat – because they have rooms, they also serve breakfast. We opted for three courses including some puddings to share.
The stand out dish was the goats cheese and pumpkin tart with a walnut salad. The tart was warm and the pumpkin and goat’s cheese was light and airy. We had a couple of potted brown shrimps, which were emptied before I could try and some garlic wild mushrooms, that went even faster.
For the main course you can choose smaller portions. I chose the spiced roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, pine nuts and herbs, which I wouldn’t recommend. I thought it would be at least warm but it was straight from the fridge. We had two small sized goat’s cheese and hazelnut salad (again pretty icy), fish and chips (the fish was overcooked and hard in places) but the salmon with chorizo and butterbean cassoulet disappeared fast. So a mixed bag.
For dessert there was banoffee pie with caramel, a cheese plate and coffee ice cream.
After a couple of gendered pints, we stuck to the wine – a cheeky Albarino. It was not particularly cheap. Even with small plates, shared puddings and not a lot of alcohol, it came to £152.50 for the five of us.
105 Brixton Hill, SW2 1AA
phone: 020 3417 0471
Sun – Sat 12:00 – 23:00
Another week, another relatively new pizzeria, opening earlier this year. This time it’s on Brixton Hill, halfway up on the stretch that the New York Times, no less, has described as “successfully eschewing the onslaught of gentrification and proving that cool doesn’t have to come with a high price tag” (see here). There’s quite a lot of journalistic licence here but if you want a friendly neighbourhood eating place without any great pretensions, this might save you the walk down to central Brixton. One thing that was noticeable when we ate there was a distinct shift in the customers, compared to places in the centre of Brixton, in that it was more family orientated, and rather less ‘hipsterish’. Continue reading
192 Ferndale Road, SW9 8BA
phone: 020 3302 8106
Monday – Friday 12.00 noon till 11.00 pm
Saturday 11:30 am till 11.00pm
Sunday 11:30am to 10.00pm
I really would like this relatively new pizza place, part of a small chain mainly across south-east London, to do well. It’s conveniently located on Ferndale Road, at the Brixton Road end, just opposite the new Post Office. Unfortunately, on our first visit it fell a little short, particularly when up against the tough competition in the world of Brixton pizza. Continue reading
Brixton Station Road Market – Saturdays
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
address: 36 Atlantic Road, Brixton SW9 8JW
telephone: 020 3393 8562
This is the ninth in the chain of Rosa’s Thai restaurants and the first to venture south of the river. This was a brave move as Brixton already has two good Thai restaurants, see Yum-D and Kaosarn, as well as others such as Satay Bar serving up decent Thai dishes, so this new one has strong competition. It is on Atlantic Road with a wide view of the street and small tables for two or booths for up to six. Continue reading
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).
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.