A short bus ride away – Peckham Refreshment Rooms

address: 12–16 Blenheim Grove, London, SE15 4QL

Telephone: 020 8022 2852

http://peckhamrefreshment.com/

Booking via OpenTable

We had been thinking of going to this restaurant for some time, as it has been highly rated by friends. They are open all day for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, so we dragged ourselves out of our comfort zone and visited with friends on a Saturday evening. They only do a couple of sittings, so we agreed on a 9.00 pm booking. We were on time but the table wasn’t clear, so we had free, and creative cocktails from the bar. Mine was a sort of Kir Royale but with Cherry liqueur but the others were also colourful and refreshing, even the non-alcoholic salted grapefruit.I have been a bit tardy about writing this up and we have lost the bill, so I’m sorry to say that some details are sketchy. There is a short menu and you cannot always depend on what it says, as they run out and substitute ingredients too. With no photos to jog my memory I can’t remember what we had as first courses. But I do recall that we were delighted and all plates were empty.

For the main course we had sea bass, with samphire and clams, which was made even more delicious with roasted lemon (I am a great fan). We also ordered aubergine parmigiana, which was not a great success, as it was more like ratatouille – perfectly tasty but not what was expected.
Finally, there was a bavette steak with hassleback potatoes. The steak was pink but the potatoes weren’t finely cut enough and so were not as crisp as we hoped for. We ordered a side of broccoli with garlic and chilli oil  (substitute for the Kale, which I would never have ordered).

Finally we ordered one, and only one, orange marmalade posset which was smooth and just the right balance of sweet and bitterness of Seville oranges.

We washed it all down with wine – a lot of it and all white.

The bill was large but not as large when you remove the wine. The mains are under £20, starters £6 or 7 and desserts about a fiver. The staff were very helpful and we encourage you to turn up early and have a cocktail.

Asmara

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Address: 386 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8LF

telephone: 020 7737 4144

We reviewed this restaurant six years ago, which brought it home to us how hard it is to keep up with the widening choice and turnover (Calcutta Street now closed). But this  Eritrean restaurant on Coldharbour Lane is no newcomer. It is a Brixton staple and has been here for years and years. The fact that it is still here must mean that it appeals to those with a sense of adventure, as well as those who come back over and over again. It is small and so reservations do help secure seats unless you go very early. But they will try to fit you in. Choose from the tables for four or for more fun (but not much space) the cosy basket-weave chairs with a round table – especially if you are sharing. The walls have a few African adornments but it is not overwhelming cultural apart from the waiting staff who make jokes (usually at your expense). Here the experience is about eating the tablecloth with your fingers.

The menu is heavy on meat although there are vegetarian options. The reference to the tablecloth is that some options are served on injera, large sourdough pancakes. They rapidly cool so you need to be quick.  If you don’t like sourdough you can choose rice or cracked wheat.

There are spicy or not so spicy choices like kulwa ( lamb with tomatoes) and derho alicha (mild chicken stew).  We chose the Royal feast for two people (although there were three of us). It was a good choice as we didn’t finish it all. This was the most expensive meal but included a “coffee ceremony”.

The Royal feast consists of injera laid out on a large tray with about eight different portions of curried meat or vegetables plonked on top. We definitely had favourites and sometimes the subtlety of the different meat versions was lost on us. We knew some were hotter than others but couldn’t discern the different spices We all agreed that we would choose it again, until we felt we had more expertise to make an informed choice.

As02The coffee at the end of the meal comes in a ceramic pot with something stuck in the spout to prevent the coffee grounds coming out. You drink small cupfuls with as much sugar as you want. It is accompanied by a large bowl of slightly salted popcorn. There were desserts but we definitely didn’t need one after this lovely end to the meal.

The bill came to about £40 (we lost the receipt) which included one beer. We will come back again but we know that after a few months we will not remember what everything was.

Meat Liquor

address: Unit 12 Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LD

Telephone: 020 733 2842

https://meatliquor.com/brixton/

After a Veggie January we have headed to some very meaty restaurants and this is one of them. This is open every day and although there is a bar which attracts customers, it is a restaurant that attracts families early and those who need a meat fix before a night on the tiles. We were rather boringly going home to watch Newsnight or Graham Norton. This place is open to the elements, so we sat under a heater in this freezing weather but there were brave souls outside – well wrapped up. Continue reading

El Rancho de Lalo

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

Telephone: 020 7737 2648

Opening times:
Monday to Wednesday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Thursday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
Sunday: Closed

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 has just re-opened after a bit of a spring clean and paint. It was one of the first places we reviewed, favourably, back in 2012 and it still holding its own. Thankfully, the menu hasn’t changed much and it is sticking to filling (see photos below) simple Colombian food. We went around 12:30 pm on Friday lunchtime and had to wait, briefly, for a table. By the time we got our food there was a lengthy queue, both for sit down meals and takeaways.

The inside has not changed except there are fancy new extractors and three large colourful paintings that could have a Columbian origin. Thankfully, the seating is more comfortable as well.  Tables outside now have a heater and all seats (including those inside) have a blanket. There are only eight tables inside and we shared with a single woman who clearly knew the menu better than we did. The service was friendly, came with a smile. Most diners were South American and Spanish was the main language spoken on the tables near us. So the hipster community can regard this restaurant as authentic. Continue reading

Tiger and Pig

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Unit 9 First Avenue, Brixton Village, London SW9 8PR

Telephone 020 7501 9362

Tiger and Pig is in the alley to left as you enter Brixton Village from Coldharbour Lane. The name is a play on the Chinese zodiac. They indicate compatibility in relationships, although what it has to do with the food is anyone’s guess  – although it is a Chinese establishment. Small with just a few plain tables with benches inside and out. The ceiling is covered with lots of different sized white paper lanterns – really jolly. Continue reading

Ganapati – a short bus ride away

Ganapati01address: 38 Holly Grove, London, SE15 5DF

telephone: 020 7277 2928

closed on Monday

http://www.ganapatirestaurant.com

It was an outing from work and this restaurant was chosen to fit with all the different dietary commitments. It serves a South Indian menu and many reviews discuss how good the food is and how uncomfortable the chairs are. On our visit we were very involved in the conversation and didn’t notice the comfort. Within the five people we had a couple of keen “foodies” and a couple of pretty accomplished chefs, so this was a definite test of the food. But you will need to wait for our final judgement. Continue reading

Louie Louie – a short bus ride away

address: 347 Walworth Rd, London SE17 2AL

Tel number: 020 7450 3223

Reservations: resdiary.com

Website: http://louielouie.london

This restaurant is easy to miss – I did – walking right past even though the restaurant is clear, it is hard to spot the name above the door. On a corner in the Walworth Road this is a small, well tiny really, restaurant with tables for two and four and not many of them. But it was ideal for a night of business and pleasure in a Dry January. It is a cafe with cakes and brunch during the day and a restaurant/bar in the evening with pop-up chefs . We hit it on Taco Tuesday – a Mexican pop-up for the next few weeks. Continue reading