A short bus ride away – Zumbura

Address: 36a Old Town, Clapham, London SW4 0LB

Website: http://zumbura.com/

Phone: 0207 720 7902

Opening times:
Sunday to Wednesday  –  6:00-10:00pm
Thursday to Saturday  – 6:00-10:30pm

This is a highly recommended, well staffed Indian restaurant in Clapham which is an offshoot of Mum’s Kitchen. It is a small restaurant that is popular with bar and table service – book at busy times. Tables are small and for two or four, with a couple that can accommodate a larger group.

They claim to offer “light, fresh and healthy meals”, with no butter or cream, so there are several dishes described as vegan. The menu is split into small plates (pakora, chaat, samosa and masala calamari), braised and stewed dishes (curry, dopiaza, masala, muttar – all with meat or fish), grills, vegetables (bindi, daal, aubergine etc cooked in interesting ways) and bread and rice.

Brightly coloured and delightful pickles and mild tomato dip arrive on the table with some assorted poppadoms to start us off while considering the menu.zumbura06We chose Railway Lamb curry, which had lamb that was really well cooked and layers of flavour in the sauce. Ghuggni chickpeas (black chickpeas braised in onion and mango powder), which was not as spiced or flavoursome as we hoped, compared to the khatte baigan-aubergine (baby aubergines spiced with tamarind and cumin), which was a definite hit. Both these small plates were vegan dishes. Then we ordered the chicken biryani (braised basmati rice cooked with chicken morsels in aromatic spices and rose water). This was a disappointment – the chicken was dry and the rose flavour a bit overpowering. To finish off the main dishes we had a chapatti which lived up to its description of wholemeal unleavened bread by being pretty heavy.

To finish we ordered a p[istachio kulfi which comes on a stick and a gajjar ka halwa. The kulfi was great, the warm halwa an interesting very sweet dish that tasted of very little.

So the whole meal was a good experience. A short menu, interesting sounding sets of ingredients, but it fell a little below our expectations. We will certainly return, but we will try a few other places before returning. The bill was £59.06 including service with one strawberry cocktail and an alcoholic lime soda (at £7.00).

Serendip Supper Club by Pol Boy

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address: c/o Brixton Pound Cafe, 77 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU

website: https://polboy.co.uk/

email: thuli@polboy.co.uk

This was a Saturday night pop-up that took place at the Brixton Pound Cafe. Following a tip-off on Instagram, we booked on-line through the eatwith.com website, not really knowing what to expect.  What we got was food that’s described as being from Sri Lanka to the streets of London and is aimed being representative of all the different people who call Sri Lanka a home. It’s the brainchild of Thuli, who describes himself as a British-Sri Lankan. Continue reading

Salon

address:   – 18 Market Row, Brixton, SW98LD
telephone: 020 7501 9152
email:  info@salonbrixton.co.uk
website: http://salonbrixton.co.uk/
Opening times:
Monday                         Closed
Tuesday to Friday       noon–3pm, 6–11:30pm
Saturday                       10am–3pm, 6–11:30pm
Sunday                          10am–3pm

Salon won our eatinbrixton annual poll a few years ago and many of our foodie friends really rate it. Since the last lunch we ate here they have made changes. Gone are the uncomfortable chairs and the huge tables. Now there is a mixture of matching chairs and an upholstered bench which even had some back support – bliss compared to the previous rocky furniture.

We made up a foursome with friends. Upstairs in the main dining room they offer four course tasting menu, with only a choice of main course (baked celeriac or ox cheek). We also went for the wine pairing, so that took away even more of the worry and negotiation on what bottle(s) to buy. Continue reading

Courtesan

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address: 69-73 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU

telephone: 0208 127 8677

website: http://www.thecourtesan.co.uk/

Opening times:
Monday                               noon–11pm
Tuesday                               6pm–11pm
Wednesday & Thursday   noon–11pm
Friday to Sunday               noon–midnight

We have reviewed this Chinese restaurant a few times before (see here, here and here). The fact that it hasn’t moved on, as so many others have, suggests it is definitely meeting a market. We thought we would try it at lunchtime, rather than our usual evening meal ventures. It was empty, so no need to book and plenty of time and quiet for a good natter. There is a dining room downstairs but we sat upstairs, all alone in a window seat.

The menu is full of Dim Sum (a sort of Chinese tapas). But as well as steamed, fried, baked or grilled buns there are also lotus leaf parcels and Courtesan has tried to fit into the Brixton vibe with jerk chicken sticky rice in a lotus leaf or the jerk ribs. Continue reading

Mamalan

https://eatinbrixton.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/mama_lan.jpg

Unit 18, Brixton Village, SW9 8PR

https://www.mamalan.co.uk/

OPENING TIMES

Monday 12:00 noon – 4:00pm

Tuesday – Sunday 12:00 noon – 10:00pm

We haven’t reviewed this restaurant for four years (see here and here), so  a revisit was essential. Mamalan is named after the chef’s mother and serves Beijing street food. They have developed a thriving takeaway and delivery service and spread its wings from Brixton to a couple of other venues. We needed to give up people watching to concentrate on other things so we chose to eat inside. Although there are tables for two or four they are really squeezed in, so you need to do a bit of mountain climbing to settle into place.

The Village fills up at 1.00 pm and so to make sure we had a table we arrived at opening time, 12.00. The menu isn’t taxing – four soups, three rice dishes, a salad and side dishes which all warn you about the level of chilli. Side dishes include hot chicken wings (“some say the best in London” – a bold comment in the heart of jerk chicken land). We ordered the Wonton Noodle soup and the Sweet Chili Chicken rice which were easily enough for lunch.

The Chicken lived up to its name, crispy chicken pieces with sticky sauce on rice with a little side salad.

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The Wonton soup was also pronounced delicious, but the broth didn’t have much depth of flavour. The menu described it as “light” so was definitely not oversold. There were plenty of pork and prawn wantons.

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Both bowls were demolished and were washed down with a ginger ale and a can of diet coke. My only complaint – plastic straws. The bill came to  £27.50 for a very satisfying meal.

 

Franzina Trattoria

Address: 395 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LQ

Telephone: 07802 473444

Website: https://franzinatrattoria.com/

Open everyday from 12.30 pm to 11 pm: except Tuesday 6-11 pm

This is a new restaurant that has relocated from Brixton Pop. It is now a real restaurant, but in a venue that has not had a good run of restaurants. They have all been pretty good (Calcutta Street, The Phoenix, etc.) but all have found it taxing and have moved on or closed. This new incarnation has just opened and we wish them well. The new decor is stripped back but happily it is light and airy. We were so pleased not to be turning on our camera torches to read the menu. This is a Sicilian style trattoria serving small plates and homemade pasta to eat in or take away. It’s the sort of restaurant where you would find Montalbano chatting to the waitress and discussing all the ingredients of an arancini. Continue reading

Dumplings and Bao (formerly On Cafe)

Address: 31 Clapham Park Road, London, SW4 7EE

For reservations: Bookatable

Telephone: +44 20 3759 0162

Opening times:
Monday: 17:00 – 21:00
Tuesday – Wednesday:: 12:00 – 21:00
Thursday: 12:00 – 21:30
Friday – Saturday: 12:00 – 22:00

This restaurant in Clapham (not Brixton but near enough) has recently changed its name, so it now makes clear what they actually serve – dim sum. Also known for its macarrons. It is small, with about 15 covers at the front and a table for a party of 18 in the back.

Their menu states that they do not use MSG, but have different spices to make their baos and fried and steamed dumplings taste good. We thought the addition of chilli or the soya sauce might be the boost they need. Much of their custom seems to come from takeaways but we sat inside for a early Sunday lunch. Continue reading