Best restaurant in Brixton 2016 – Top 5 Shortlist

Britain’s Favourite Restaurant 2016 – Top 5 Shortlist

So after around a week and a half of voting we have our shortlist. Click on the below to see what we thought of them.

Again we will be giving around seven days for you to pick your next favourite before the big unveiling next Wednesday. Share and get voting!

Etta’s Seafood Kitchen

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Address: Unit 46 Brixton, Village, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9

Phone: 020 7737 1673

Email: info@ettaskitchen.com

Website: http://www.ettasseafoodkitchen.com/

Opening Hours:

12:00pm – 6:00pm (Tues, Weds, Sun)

12:00pm – 11:00pm (Thurs – Sat)

This is an update as we have visited Etta’s a couple of times and our views have gone up and down. See here for our review in 2013 and here for our review in 2011. This is our first time since there was a change of décor and a change of menu.

It’s still in the same double unit in Sixth Avenue in Brixton Village and still painted outside in pastel blue. So what has changed inside. Gone is the kitsch mural of the seaside and now it is all black and white – although the chairs are still multi-coloured. We have the very small napkins but now they are presented in a little black paper sleeve, together with a knife and fork. The menu has also changed with items that imply more finesse and we were assured that it also changes regularly.

Service has not changed. It is cheery, helpful and as laid back as before.

The menu is still focussed on fish but now includes a wider variety of starters including ackee soup (ackee is the Jamaican national fruit although it is eaten as a vegetable in ackee and saltfish) and the menu describes this soup as coming with salt fish flakes, sweet peppers and crispy croutons. Then there is crispy calamari, garlic peppered prawns and marinated tuna. The ackee soup can be ordered without saltfish for the sole veggie option.  There are four salad options and then the mains have spaghetti, risotto, fish soup and confit cod. The veggie option is sweet potato and pumpkin curry. We did miss the superb battered fish in Etta’s tasty batter.

They now serve alcohol – red, white and fizzy wine by the glass or bottle – as well as a few rum based drinks.

We chose the ackee soup, the confit cod and the fish curry. We are sorry to report that we were disappointed with every dish. The soup is an interesting idea but it tasted as if the saltfish had not been adequately soaked and so was too salty. The rice and peas that came with the fish curry was also over-salted and the potato and leek cream under the confit cod was bland and cold. We guess there were lots of interesting flavours in all the dishes we chose but they were simply swamped. We came out desperate for more water, even though we had drunk a whole carafe plus a glass of lemonade. and the salty taste in our mouths lasted for several hours.

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We have to admit to being cowards. The staff are so attentive but we couldn’t tell them our verdict, except to mention rather feebly that the soup was a bit salty. Clearly the chef’s taste buds are not like our own but you can add salt to taste but you can’t take it out. We hope that this was an unfortunate one-off and that others will have more luck, but I am afraid we are unlikely to visit again any time soon.

The bill was modest at less than£30.00 (sorry, we’ve lost the bill) for three dishes and a glass of lemonade (it is dry January!).

Kumasi Market

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3rd Avenue

27-28 Brixton Village

SW9 8PR

020 7737 6277

Kumasi is a city in Ghana and the capital of Ashanti. It gives its name to Kumasi Market in Brixton Village, one of a trio of stores in Third Avenue selling mainly food and goods from West Africa. Together with the African Queen Fabric store, it’s like a little bit of Africa in the heart of Brixton. I have intended for some time to cover one of these stores in our series of posts on food shops in Brixton but I always found them a bit daunting. The dried and smoked fish is particularly exotic. However, I’ve occasionally chatted to the shopkeepers, and found that they are really helpful in explaining what they have on offer.

So, the intention in these posts is to buy the ingredients at a Brixton store and to make a typical meal. As we have reported before, we have been to Ghana and enjoyed the Ghanaian food at May Foods – see the report here – but this has been my first attempt at actually cooking the food. It has been more of a challenge, as many of the key ingredients are less familiar to those of us with a European background. This is particularly true of the key part of any true Ghanaian meal, the carbohydrate.

The dish I’ve gone for is chicken in peanut sauce served with banku and spinach. I’ve used an amalgam of different recipes. All of the main ingredients have come from Kumasi Market, apart from the chicken which came from Jones the Butcher.

The ingredients for the chicken in peanut sauce are: 1 kilo of chicken (legs, thighs and wings are best); 3 tbsp vegetable oil; 1 large onion, chopped; a 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced; 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly; 1 kilo of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks; 1 can of chopped tomatoes; 1 litre chicken stock; 1 cup groundnut paste/peanut butter; 1 cup peanuts, roasted; 1 tbsp ground coriander; 1 teaspoon cayenne; Salt and ground black pepper; and lots of chopped coriander as a garnish. Most of the heat in the dish, and in an authentic version there’s plenty, comes from the ground black pepper. I

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The first step is to brown the chicken and put to one side. Then fry the onions, adding the spices when it has softened. Finally you put everything in the same pot and stew until the chicken and sweet potato is all cooked – check after an hour. After it cooled a bit I removed the bones but this is a matter of taste. The finished article probably benefits from being left to stand for a while, before reheating. You can garnish with lots of coriander.

The accompaniments were banku and spinach. The banku is balls of fermented dough and takes a bit of getting used to, as well as being hard work to make. I did make my own, with a mixture of readymade cassava and corn dough bought from Kumasi and it was an education in itself. However, my tip is to buy it readymade from May Foods in Market Row. It should also be understood that the term spinach applies to almost any green leaves. I just chopped and washed mine and fried it in garlic infused oil.

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Everyone enjoyed the chicken and spinach but views were mixed on the banku. We found a little goes a long way. It would be good with rice of course.

Valhalla

address: 29 Market Row, SW9 8LB

We have tried many times to visit this sandwich bar but their opening times are erratic to say the least. It seems to be closed for most of the week and even on a Friday they seem to lag behind everyone else. It was pot luck on a Saturday lunchtime that we walked past, it was open and we were hungry. This is a small Danish sandwich bar – understated with minimal interior of just four tables and another small collection in market row.

The menu is also understated but has breakfast and lunch with eggs of various sorts and toasted sandwiches with vegetarian options. We had a hot dog with Danish mayonnaise and a focaccia cheese toastie, with tea and an Americano. The food is not horrible but it is unremarkable. If you want a straight sandwich then it’s fine.

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But prepare for a leisurely lunch, so don’t go too hungry. The service is very slow – presumably because they do not get much practice. Each sandwich is made to order which in our eyes (and stomachs) is a definite plus but then they do everything in series not in parallel, even though several of us were ordering the same thing. This is not a frenetic kitchen. It has zen-like calm but it did mean we sat for 35 minutes with cups of cooling tea and coffee waiting for something to arrive. We felt that they only noticed us and paid some attention when we did finally plucked up the courage to ask where the food was. We were offered another beverage but by then I just wanted to go home. The total bill for two sandwiches and drinks was £13.70 and they only take cash.

Butcher Shops in Brixton

Jones the Butcher,
Address: 1 Dulwich Rd, London SE24 0NT
020 7274 4629
http://jonesthebutcher.wordpress.com/
Opening Hours: Mon: 05:00 – 12:30; Tue: 05:00 – 12:30 Wed: 05:00 – 12:30 Thu: 05:00 – 13:00; Fri: 05:00 – 13:00; Sat: 09:00 – 13:00

Dombey & Son,
19 Market Row, Brixton, London, SW9 8LB
020 7274 1035
Opening Hours:: Tue: 07:30 – 17:30; Wed: 07:30 – 15:30; Thu: 07:30 – 17:30; Fri: 07:30 – 17:45; Sat: 06:30 – 17:45

Michael’s Meat Market
49 Atlantic Rd London SW9 8JL
020 7737 1069

There’s no shortage of places to buy meat in Brixton and we cannot claim to have tried them all. We are also not great meat eaters, at least when eating at home. Nevertheless, it’s time we had a look at butchers in our series of reports on Brixton food shops. The trouble is that while there are lots of shops selling meat, there are not that many I consider proper butchers. Also when you see a secondhand supermarket trolley full of carcasses being wheeled down Atlantic Road it does make you think of being a vegetarian. But there are places I have found that can be relied upon to provide value for money. Continue reading

Brixton Flavours Festival

So.Much.Food. From sushi and brownies to chicken and tortillas and crepes I have actually only recently regained my appetite after our gluttonous evening in preparation for the brand new festival Brixton Flavours. With the actual day not until Sunday 26th October we were invited to see what the whole thing was all about this week and also apparently to eat our whole body weight in food.

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Brixton Flavours states that it is a festival to introduce people to the wide variety of cuisines and restaurants that our beloved hometown has to offer. It was clear from the way the organisers spoke that that they were committed to making sure that they didn’t just go to the well-known haunts in town, but to showcase all that Brixton has on offer. This is something that we at Eat in Brixton are always striving to achieve so it’s brilliant to see others with such passion as well. The day ticket holders are invited to sample secret dishes not usually available on the menu from over 22 restaurants around Brixton (full list of those participating can be found here). You will also be given 15 Brixton pounds to spend in any of the participating restaurants, so incorporating the idea of boosting the local economy.

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Honest Burgers

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Unit 12, Brixton Village, London SW9 8PR

www.honestburgers.co.uk

+44 (0)20 7733 7963

Mon: 12.00–16.00

Tues to Sat: 12.00–22.30

Sun: 12.00–22.00

Amazingly its nigh on three years since we reviewed Honest Burgers. We are not great burger eaters but, for a variety of reasons, we paid a couple of visits recently, so it seemed an opportune time to produce another review. A big change is that there are now six branches across London, from Tooting to King’s Cross. So the question is, does this mean they have taken their eye off the ball or will they still offer our previous judgement “… the best burger I have had south of the river”.

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