The Laundry

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374 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8PL

https://thelaundrybrixton.com/

020 8103 9384 (Note. No reservations)

Mon – Wed 7am – 11pm, Thu & Fri 7am – 12am, Sat & Sun 8am till late

Newly opened at the Walton Lodge Steam Laundry, this eating establishment clearly needs to exist on turnover. With the rain tippling down on their outside tables, when we visted, this is going to be a bit of a task. But this is a bar as well as an eatery and, as we ate very early one evening, it was filled with many young women having cocktails. The place itself is smaller than you would expect from outside and oddly proportioned, with a down staircase taking up a lot of space in the middle. Continue reading

Nanban

Address: 426 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8LF

Telephone: 020 7346 0098

Websitehttp://www.nanban.co.uk/

Opening times:
Mon – Thurs 5pm-11pm, Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 12 noon-12 midnight, Sun 12 – 11pm

We visited Nanban a little time ago, but put off posting this review, in case it interfered with the recent voting for Brixton’s best restaurant. We have been before, of course, and the previous review is here, and we have been since. This is undoubtedly one of Brixton’s top places to eat, if not the best. We ate in the add-on part of the restaurant in a booth and it was quiet for a meal with friends we had not seen for many years.

There is now a longer menu with summer specials and an added glossary, so you can understand the naming of dishes. The four of us chose from different sections. One went for a selection of starters: edamame with black sesame salt, some crispy fried marinated jackfruit with a honey miso-mayo  and finally Nasu Dengaku, which was roasted aubergine topped with almonds and a sweet miso sauce. I chose the Lazy Goat Ramen, which had slow-cooked boneless goat leg, thick noodles in a rich Indo-Caribbean curry sauce, topped with seafood sawdust, fried shallots and a tea-pickled egg. I asked for no scotchbonnet pickled bamboo shoots as I know it is spicy-hot enough. The other two ordered  – the spicy sesame udon salad with crab (spicy sesame-lime dressing with cucumber, red cabbage, cherry
tomatoes, fresh mint and chilli oil – only 3 chilis) and the Yuzo-sesame salmon – both on what was then the summer specials menu.

The goat was, as usual, exactly as described -soft, full of layers of flavour and I really love the tea-pickled egg – cooling when sweat starts to break out. The photograph (below) shows a part eaten version.

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The crab and the salmon dishes were both well received, with the appropriate level of palette-tingling heat in the spicy noodles. At first glance the portions look on the small side but, in reality, there’s well enough to keep you satisfied.

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nanban24Warming edamame beans and jackfuit fritters were easy finger food. The aubergine though was a little harder to tackle with chopsticks. All were pronounced exactly right by the person in our midst who has an allergy to too much chili.nanban26

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The bill with service came to £94.61 and included fizzy water and four beers. We were full and contented but when we got home we had Brixton apple crumble for dessert.

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

Banh Banh

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Address: 326 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8QH

Telephone: 020 7737 5888

http://www.banhbanh.com/peckham/ (Yes, although it does seem odd)

Opening hours:
Mon                      CLOSED
Tues –  Thu          6 – 10pm
Fri                         6 – 11pm
Sat                         11am – 3pm + 6pm – 11pm
Sun                        11am – 3pm + 6pm – 9pm

This is a new addition to Brixton – a Vietnamese street food restaurant. We haven’t visited their other branch in Peckham, but this one is bigger and definitely minimalist. Looks like plywood tables and school chairs or benches. Most tables are for two or four and there are two sittings each evening. We went on just their second night, so a few things needed ironing out like whether the lights come on in the toilets (relying on motion sensors that didn’t even respond to a lot of jumping and dancing).

The menu is short with dishes described as smallish, biggish, classic and side orders. We ordered from the biggish (Banh Khot pancakes) and the classics (Bun Noodle Salad), with a smallish (green papaya salad) to start.  The salad was delightful and not that smallish. It comes with large prawns. We had a good explanation of the ingredients (prawns, carrots, unripe papaya, red pepper, red onion etc., with some fish sauce and chilli). To keep the papaya crisp you have to plunge it into iced water and you can buy them (they are white fleshed) at Chinese and Asian supermarkets.

My choice for the next courses was not as good – the prawn pancakes were not what I expected. Although they were presented in an attractive way, they were a bit tough to eat and the pancake part a bit under-cooked. But I did as suggested and wrapped them in a lettuce leaf with some mint and dipped them in the sweet chilli sauce. A bit messy but you do get your greens.

The Bun Noodle salad is described as a vermicelli noodle salad with paddy field herbs, noodles, pickles, cucumber, topped with shallots + peanuts. It came with bbq pork patties and a pork and prawn spring roll. This was certainly biggish and also looked really attractive – it was dismantled due to hunger before we remembered to take the photo.It could of had a bit more zing and it’s a shame there were no extra condiments on the tables.

bb05We washed it down with two salty lemonades (there are several homemade drinks to choose from and tap water. There was a whole list of alcoholic drink but this was a school night. The bill including 12.5% extra for “optional service” came to £38.81. We are likely to return but probably not for a few months.

Oxalis at The Shrub and Shutter

Address: 336 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8QH.
Phone: 020 7326 0643
Websites:

Location: http://www.theshrubandshutter.com/

Food: http://www.oxalislondon.com/

Monday – closed
Tuesday 5pm – midnight
Wednesday 5pm – midnight
Thursday 5pm – midnight
Friday 5pm – 2am
Saturday 5pm – 2am
Sunday – closed

Our normal approach is to keep you in the dark about what we think about a restaurant but we are breaking with this practice to tell you that Oxalis (the current pop-up caterers at Shrub and Shutter) are brilliant and we are not usually so enthusiastic. It’s not complicated food but it is imaginative with a focus on flavour.

We have reviewed the cocktails before; see here, here and here. But on this hot and steamy night we went for wine and beer. There are lots of things to choose from but we cut out that difficulty by choosing one of the tasting menus. There are two – one veggie and one with meat. We had the meat option. On top of this we were given an “amuse bouche” (aren’t we posh) of a warm squid ink cracker with dark crab meat topped with a lardon. Now you get the way this is moving. It was delicious – so delicious that it was eaten before we could take a photo.

Then we moved on to the main menu – a delicious tomato salad with elderflower and mustard. I am soon going to run out of superlatives as it was the best thing to start us off – fresh with little bursts of mustard flavour. All four of us were delighted.

Fennel tortellini, poppy seeds and crayfish – even though these are tasting menu portions there was definitely enough crayfish. So just sublime with a crunch.

Pork, kohlrabi and sea buckthorn came next- sounds interesting and it was but also excellent.
The empty half of the plate left room for some vegetables; new potatoes and grilled gem lettuce as shown in the photographs, plus some mange-tout.
The simple dessert was cherries, cream and a garnish of the eponymous oxalis (Google just said it was an edible weed, which doesn’t sound very appealing, but most of you have probably heard of wood sorrel).
All this flavour and innovation for £30.00 a head. The bill of was larger, of course, as it included our wine and beer. As we were celebrating in company we didn’t stint ourselves, although I paid for it with a hangover. Oxalis popped up in Shrub and Shutter just a month ago. It will be around for another 4 or 5 months but don’t waste any time – go and eat as soon as you can.

Chick’n’Sours

Address: 395 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8LQ

Opening hours:
Wednesday–Friday evenings only;
Saturday–Sunday 12pm–late
(closed Monday–Tuesday)

Website: http://www.chicknsours.co.uk/

This is a pop-up restaurant in the premises of the recently closed Calcutta Street (we were sad to see this go). Chick and Sours is usually based in Haggerstown but their premises are being refurbished, so they are trying their hand in cosmopolitan Brixton. They have a limited menu of snacks, sandwiches and pickles to go with beer or a cocktail. Devoted to chicken – fried on a bun. Continue reading