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

etta01

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.

etta03etta02etta06

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!).

Ultimate Caribbean Buffet

ultimate01

 16 Acre Lane, Brixton, London SW2 5SG

020 3302 6390

Usually we do not review chains but this is so small – only a couple of outlets – that we decided to make an exception. We also wanted to cover different types and prices of meals. This is a green, white and black Jamaican restaurant which looks like a café with melamine tables and chairs. There is a bar on the left, with a limited selection of drinks, and a line of hot and cold dishes to the left. The line of dishes is important as this is a buffet. All you can eat within 90 minutes.

There is choice but it is hard to discern what each dish is as there is rarely a label and often dishes look alike. So this is a real voyage of discovery. We think there was jerk chicken (several varieties), fried chicken, curry goat, potentially lamb in a sauce, rice and peas, salads, plantain and callaloo (or could have been spinach). There are also some desserts – fruit and a pudding (we weren’t sure what it was).

ultimate03ultimate02

We had a bit of several of the dishes and the chicken was hot and spicy – the kind that has your lips tingling for several hours. The rice and peas were my favourite. The plantain my least as it looked really delicious but had only been caramelized and was hard at the centre. We went back a few times and all the food was hot (temperature) and they did keep refilling the containers when it looked too low so there was always enough to choose from.

For a Caribbean cheap fast meal for the very hungry this is a good outlet. We wouldn’t choose it for a night out. It costs £7.50 per person and you can choose a soft drink, water or alcohol and they allow BYO.

Mama’s Jerk at Market House

mamasjerk05Address: 443 Coldharbour Lane SW9 8LN

Telephone: 020 7095 9443

Information food: http://www.mamasjerkstation.com/

Information venue: http://www.market-house.co.uk/index.php/foodie/

Market House has a record of getting good and interesting food (see here for an earlier example) and we can say from the beginning that this is a winner, although we recommend that everyone should concentrate on their signature dish – the chicken.

Getting a table at Market House, especially on a Saturday night, can be a problem, so think ahead and book. Then when you arrive you need to work out that you have to order the food at the bar, especially if you arrive a bit early.

The menu consists of meat and one veggie option – with Jerk chicken, Jerk pork sausage, Jerk saltfish cakes. Depending on your option you get it in a wrap with salad, with sweet potato mash or jerk spiced fries, rice and peas, battered plantain and coleslaw. Most come with tropical mayo, BBQ sauce and/or Jerk sauce (very hot).

We ordered a chicken meal and the sausages. The chicken was fantastic, lots of depth of flavour but not overdoing the heat, as long as you didn’t try dipping in the pepper sauce. The sausages were also interesting but overdone.

The slaw  was great and very colourful, and the mash was spicy and warming. The plantain …. well what can you ever say about plantain – heavy but with the addition of the mayo or hot sauce was a sweet addition to the whole meal. The disappointment (apart from the sausages) was the rice and peas which didn’t taste fresh or really of very much – Brixton clientele are the most discerning of this staple, which is sold in all the Jerk chicken shops (see our run down of takeaway shops ). But we thought Mama Jerks chicken was a definite contender for the best of Brixton.

mamasjerk04mamasjerk03

Most dishes are £8.00 to £10.00 and the total bill came to £36.40. This included, thanks to the Market House’s extended happy hour, two £5 cocktails while we waited (an excellent caipirinha and an interesting electric boogaloo)  and two beers (Sagres) to drink with the meal.

mamasjerk02

 

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.

IMG_1104

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.

Continue reading

Faiz Latin and Caribbean Groceries

faiz02

10-12 Granville Arcade
Brixton Village SW9 8PR

Telephone 020 7274 0005

Open 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (closed Sundays) Now open on Sundays as well

There are lots of shops like this in Brixton that fall into the general category of Afro Caribbean food stores. I’ve often wondered what’s the difference. How do you decide to shop at Abdul’s Fruit and Veg rather than the A1 Superstore? Or SW Foodstore rather than Brixton Foodbase? I’ve got a theory that they are really all the same. Certainly there doesn’t seem to me much competition on price, or service come to that. However, Faiz is my favourite. I’m not really sure why but the people who work there are friendly and helpful, the fresh produce is good and it’s got what you need if you are interested in Caribbean food.

Continue reading