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.

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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.

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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.

Continue reading

Faiz Latin and Caribbean Groceries

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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

Etta’s Seafood Kitchen

Etta's Seafood KitchenAddress: Unit 46 Brixton, Village, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9

Contact:  sheryldon1@yahoo.co.uk

We have visited Etta’s several time now. We first visited when it had just opened and things were a bit chaotic, the second time was more orderly but the service was slow. Has time made a difference? The tables and chairs are the same (beware of some chairs as they are a bit rickety). But it is brighter and but the flowers on the tables have seen better days – in fact ours were completely dead. But the staff were as happy, helpful and as laid back as before but now they seem to know what they are doing.

Continue reading

Fish Wings N Tings

address: 96 Coldharbour Lane,

tel number: 020 7733 3401

Street_food-13Fish, Wings n Tings is in a corner of what is now known as Brixton Village. Given  the huge Carribean population in Brixton we were glad to visit a restaurant that might have home-grown food and make up for the loss of those wonderful greengrocers in Granville Arcade (aka Brixton Village) selling yams and stuff that might have been a vegetable or a pudding. There are three places to “eat in” comfortably in Brixton that serve Caribbean food – Bamboula (waiters have a lot to be desired), Verandah (great food and classy) and this place.  It is very small with an outside area which was a bit chilly given our current summer (rain with a hint of sun). Garden tables and chairs tightly are squeezed into the tiny space so the waiters have to shimmy around and each time we wondered if a plate would break free on a customer’s head.

On our visit we decided (as it was midweek) not to hit the cocktails but we saw some being made and thought they looked interesting. The menu is short and to the point – fish, chicken or goat. We had the jerk chicken and the goat curry with rice and peas. The jerk chicken was not as marinated as we hoped it would be (but more of that later when we do the full comparison). The goat was tender and spicy but also pretty dry and on overhearing my comment a jug of gravy was hurriedly provided. The rice and peas were pretty good too. However this is a short review because this is all we could manage as the rice and peas were pretty filling for a side.

We spent about £15 including a couple of beers and in terms of recommendations this is a hard one. We are really reviewing a meal and not the place. The waiters were helpful and the owner realising a problem put it right immediately….but caribbean food (except in Veranda) is homely and filling. If you are hungry then visit here – you will certainly not feel any further pangs for many hours afterwards.

Brixton Village

Brixton Village is the new food haven that was once a small market called Granville Arcade in the middle of Brixton. Gradually this market lost many of the shops and since the middle of last year it began growing with more and more pop-up restaurants. It is now a vibrant part of the local area attracting visitors on the way to the Ritzy or just out for the evening.

We decided to produce this introductory entry in order to help people plan a visit – although it is a place you can just wander into as it has something for everyone. The restaurants are a mixture of brand new and well established – mainly the South American ones. The new kids on the block are an eclectic mix of Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Italian, French, Caribbean, Pakistan, Middle Eastern, American, and British and we have already reviewed the majority in this blog. They are not only eclectic in their origin but also within their menus with most stretching across the country barriers.  They also specialise – so Italian food comes as pizzas (Agile Rabbit), pasta (Belantonis, Casa Sibilla) and ice cream (Lab G). They are all sizes too with some squeezing into impossibly small places where virtually everyone is eating outside and others which are more established stretching across the alleyways to other rooms to provide more inside eating space.

The Village grew exponentially last year during the late summer and early autumn when it was pleasant to sit out in the middle of the arcade but even with the cold days and nights is still attracting hungry visitors. Some restaurants now offer the odd heater and a blanket or too for those hardy enough or hungry enough to sit outside but the savvy diners now know that they need to book to get a table inside.

Brixton Village is not just restaurants there are cafes (WAG – wheat and gluten free), coffee shops (Federation Coffee) and tea shops as well as places that sell sweets, secondhand clothes (OK Vintage…) as well as delicatessens. There are also the remains of the original food stalls selling fish and meat. There are interesting greengrocers with displays of Caribbean fresh foods and African dried fish which I have rarely dared to buy and when I have were total disasters. There are also one or two stalls selling those household goods that we used to buy in Woolworths when it was in the High Street. These really add the colour with their displays of plastic bowls and flowers.

Brixton Village is still evolving and by the warmer months is likely to be much busier and may then be self-sustaining. This will depend on the rents which are going up for those who remain open in the evening. Below we have tried to give some seasonal information to provide readers with an idea of what to expect now that the village is so popular. We welcome any comments that can help smooth people’s visit to this vibrant culinary destination.

Vital information

We have tried to make this blog informative but it is very difficult to keep up with two aspects of the restaurants in Brixton Village – opening times and licenses to sell alcohol.

Alcohol – About half the restaurants have a  license and those that don’t are happy to provide glasses. If you arrive without any alcohol then your two best bets are (i) go to Sainsbury’s local near the tube station for wine or (ii) go to one the off licenses on Coldharbour Lane for beer –  either should only take ten minutes. Alternatively they all sell interesting mixed juices and soft drinks – although some of the ginger beers are anything but soft.

Opening times – As a general rule most restaurants are open during the evening later in the week – Thursday onwards. Nearly all are open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and a few open during the day on Monday and Tuesday but rarely in the evening. The websites are not that informative as things are moving swiftly so if you are making a long journey just to come here rather than any of the other great restaurants in Brixton then telephone beforehand.

Getting a seat – if you want to take pot luck and haven’t booked then choosing when to go is essential unless you are prepared to wait. There is a rush between 7.00pm and 8.15pm. We assume this is for those heading to the Ritzy. If you time your arrival before or after these times you will usually be in luck and get a seat really quickly. Don’t be put off by long queues such as at Honest Burger as they do turnover pretty quickly and most of the waiters will give you a pretty good idea of how long you will need to wait and often provide some seating. But if you are keen to try those restaurants that always seem to have a queue then just go for lunch at the time they open. If you want to try the best burger in London – and everyone should – then visit Honest Burger shortly after it opens (12.20) on Monday and it will be empty for at least 20 minutes after that. As a last resort some fo the restaurants also do takeaways of sandwiches and substantial wraps that you can take while you wander round.

What to wear – this is not the beginning of a fashion guide as this place is laid back and casual. But we want to remind people that it is cold outside and Brixton Village is like the outside despite the fact that it is under cover. The wind sweeps up the long corridors and most people keep their coats on when outside and if you intend to eat more comfortably then layers are essential.

Etta’s Seafood Kitchen

Etta's Seafood KitchenAddress: Unit 46 Brixton, Village, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9

Contact:  sheryldon1@yahoo.co.uk

We are always glad to give restaurants a second chance and this certainly saved Etta’s. We first visited when it had just opened and things were a bit chaotic and the food wasn’t really that good – lots of bones to work around and the curry sauce was the same on everything. So what has changed? The tables and chairs are the same (beware of some chairs as they are a bit
rickety). But it is all brighter and flowers have appeared on the tables and some are even outside in the middle of the alley. They are as helpful and as laid back as before but now they seem to know what they are doing.

It still looks a like a work in progress but perhaps that is what a pop-up restaurant has to feel like. The interior is bright and cheerful with a new mural of giant fishes. We think the menu has changed a bit and the food has certainly improved. We chose the fish and chips, fish curry and a large crab. The fish was definitely in Etta’s tasty batter (light, squidgy and
with something like chives or cayenne) and all the chips were crispy. The fish curry said it was “mild” – curry isn’t supposed to be bland but it did have a chilli bite to it. The crab choice was not for the faint hearted and probably not for someone with little patience and a lot of hunger but it was tasty and again had curry sauce lingering. Only rice and peas give away that
this is a Caribbean restaurant.

It was all rather jolly – even a large birthday party on the day we went. There is no alcohol but they offer fresh sorrel or fresh ginger beer. There is a one pound cover charge for BYO and they do provide appropriate glasses so wine doesn’t need to come from a tumbler. Again remember to bring it from home.

The price is right about £10 to £20 per person