Express Cafe/Lobstar pop-up

express01
15-17 Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LB
Telephone:
– Express Cafe 020 7978 8515
– Lobstar Pop-up 079 5843 8441
Opening times:
Express Cafe:
Monday – Saturday 7am–5pm (Wednesday early closing 3pm)
Sunday – Closed
Lobstar pop-up – only until the end of November:
Thursday – Saturday 7pm-11.30pm
Lobstar is a short run pop-up at the premises of the Express Cafe in Market Row. The Express Cafe is a greasy spoon, one of the few left in Brixton, that only opens during the day. So it occasionally rents itself out to pop-ups in the evening. We’ve been a couple of times, for vegan food – see here and for hotdogs – see here , and now, for three days a week in November, there’s a limited menu of lobsters and seafood.

Continue reading

Hot Diggity Dog! at Market House

mh01

Address 443 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LN

Telephone: 020 7095 9443

http://www.market-house.co.uk

Market House is a pub with attitude and a pop-up history. This is where in 2014 Tim Anderson, the Masterchef champion, started with a ‘pop-up’ before opening Nanban and in 2015 Mama’s Jerk, now of Pop Brixton, had a try-out. The current offering is hot dogs  from an outfit with the slightly cringe-worthy name. For previous reviews from Market House see here and here

We chose one of the really busy nights – Saturday – but even then we did get a table for the two of us around 7:30. The pub was packed with a mixed stag/hen group and when they left there was relative peace. But if you want to have a romantic conversation then try another night or another place. You order at the bar and in all the confusion we ended up with three meals instead of two – and two was enough. So make sure the barman reviews your order before you finally pay.

Continue reading

Kricket

address: Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ

hello@kricket.co.uk

http://www.kricket.co.uk/

This is on the second floor of Pop Brixton – the arrangement of storage containers near the Recreation Centre. It is a narrow corridor of a restaurant with just one line of tables with bench seating inside for about 20 covers but there is a bit more space outside in clement weather. When we arrived there was a 40-50 minute wait unless you were prepared to sit outside – we were hungry enough to put up with the bracing evening air.

We have been here before and not much has changed so look here for a full account. You’ll also have to look there for some photographs – on this visit it was too dark to get any thing worth including. We chose four options from the short menu. We chose our favourite Bhel Puri which has raw mango; Samphire Pakoras; Torched mackerel. The Bhel Puri was fantastic and we polished this off really quickly. The idea of Samphire Pakoras is great but we had forgotten that in practice they tend to be a bit woody and, hence, they were not our favourite. Unfortunately, we had ordered two portions and we failed to work work our way through them both. On the other hand the torched mackerel was really tasty and we would definitely try it again.

We washed it all down with a fresh lime soda and a bottle of Curious Brew Lager. The total bill came to £31.35. We didn’t linger and will certainly look up our review next time we come, so we can avoid things that weren’t great. It’s a shame you can’t book but, nevertheless, we will return so that we make our way through the rest of the interesting menu of what is still some of the best food in Brixton.

Kricket

address: Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ

hello@kricket.co.uk

http://www.kricket.co.uk/

This is on the second floor of Pop Brixton – the arrangement of storage containers near the Recreation Centre. It is a narrow corridor of a restaurant with just one line of tables with bench seating inside for about 20 covers but there is more space outside in clement weather. It is open 6-11pm Monday to Thursday but opens at lunchtime on Friday to Sunday. Kricket offers Indian small plates served with cocktails, so I suspect they do not expect you to stay long.

The menu is short and the expectation is that most people will chose three – but we managed with two each and felt that was sufficient when we left. We chose Bhel Puri which has raw mango; Samphire Pakoras; Keralan Fried Chicken; and Vindaloo Bavette. The Bhel Puri was fantastic and lives up to the one we had at a knowledgeable friend’s house a little while ago. The Samphire Pakoras were not our favourite but we competently crisp. The fried chicken was great and the Vindaloo, while tasty and a good bit of meat, was not hot as the name ought to suggest – even for me.

kt05 kt02

kt04
kt03

 

 

 

kt01

 

We accompanied the food with a couple of cocktails; an Old Narangi made of cardamom bourbon, marmalade and orange; and a Plummaharaja made from cardamom vodka, calvados, plum and  ginger. Both were sweet and interesting with a lot of attention to detail, which might explain how long they took to arrive.

Would we return – probably and to have the same food. The menu is short, so it’s easy for even a couple to try everything in a single visit. It is expensive at £44 before a tip, but that is partly explained by the cocktails. Nevertheless we did enjoy the food and ended up replete with not enough space to even try the Gulab Jamon with clotted cream ice cream, so it felt ok for a Friday night out.  However, it’s not really a place to linger so don’t expect to make it a long night.

 

 

Pop Brixton

49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ
020 7274 2902

IMG_2652(This was taken just before it opened)

A couple of weeks we were invited down for a taster session at the newly opened Pop Brixton to find out what we can expect from the latest foodie venture in our beloved town.

Described as a “pioneering new space created with the local community in mind to showcase the best and most exciting independent start-ups and businesses from Brixton and Lambeth” this place hasn’t appeared without its criticisms. However in terms of bringing a whole host of new faces to the restaurant community in the now go-to London food destination it is very welcomed by us. And we were actually quite impressed. One thing to note is that even though they had in mind to keep all the vendors local I’m not sure how much of the customers are… For more information on the project, check out their website here.

Continue reading

The Billingsfield Kitchen at the Beehive

address: wherever they pop-up

telephone: 07773 397337

email: matt@thebillingsfieldkitchen.com

http://www.thebillingsfieldkitchen.com/

Lamb with clams, mackerel with rabbit?????? Sorry but it is Masterchef week. Yes those flavours are served up together and they are delicious. But by the time you read this it will be all over. This is a pop-up which was a sell out with their Tongue in Cheek menu at Cornercopia and has now has a repeat (although 6 months later) with their new Kitchen Dinner menu at the Beehive in Beehive Place.

The menu is fixed and called a tasting menu but don’t let that fool you in terms of the portions. The sharing plates are also conducive to the conversational style of the food. The waiters are always asking for feedback and they really take notice of an empty wine glass and an unopened bottle. We felt really coddled throughout. Tables are shared too and we had a pleasant evening talking about travelling with another couple who had just settled in Brixton.

On arrival we were given a martini glass full of rhubarb and grapefruit martini which really did taste of rhubarb. It was too sweet for a martini but certainly loosened the social inhibitions.

Bill01

The first course is a nibble – whitebait – and we thought this was the best we had had this year. It wasn’t oily or soggy as large batches often are. It was clearly cooked to order so was crispy and served with capers and herbs and some slabs of sough dough.

Bill02

Next came a clever quails egg rolled in shredded pastry and served with burnt lime mayonnaise. On the menu this is classed as a vegetable. The eggs were cooked but still runny but we would have liked much more lime in the mayo and a bit more salt on the eggs.

Bill03

Next came a potted hay-smoked mackerel pate with green olives and a rabbit terrine with leeks served with thin sough dough toast. The different textures went well together but on reflection they both needed a bit more seasoning.

Bill04

Lamb and clams is not the only thing served up in this level of the meal. You also get a whole Bream. This was a bit more difficult to serve as the lights had gone out and you needed to dissect the bones and be very careful putting anything in your mouth. But I thought the fish was cooked to perfection although my partner thought some bits were slightly under but better that way than overcooked and dry. We polished it all off. The Lamb was beginning to defeat me which was just because I was full and I certainly would have eaten it all if I could have. Neither flavour overwhelmed the other and the textures are similar with the crispy fat on the lamb and the slightly rubbery clams.Bill05Bill06

Vegetables are in short supply but at this stage the lamb and fish were served with a salt baked whole celeriac. I don’t generally choose this vegetable as I actually went off the taste of celery some time ago. But I am now a convert to this creamy hot and steamy mixture. It will now go on our list of special dishes for dinner with friends.

Bill07

Dessert was a Earl Grey pannacotta with orange curd and a delicious piece of well cut orange on the top.  The orange flavour comes at the beginning and then the Earl Grey creeps up on you so you float out of the meal.

Bill08

We are really enthusiastic about this group  and would really like to see them stay in Brixton. Their attention to seasonal and flavoursome food really impressed us. The current location really does play to their strengths of a shared eating experience. Their reputation should produce further interest (this was again a sell-out) and we hope a succession of customers. If you see an advert for another pop-up do go. This is interesting and surprising food with out being too taxing. At £35.00 plus £5.00 corkage per person we thought it was a bargain. We took a bottle with us but they also suggest using the local wine shops (Market Row Wines). Well done Billingsfield Kitchen. Do let us know where you end up and we hope it is nearby.

The Beast of Brixton

UpstairsAddress: 89B Acre Lane, entrance on Branksome Road, SW2 5TN

Telephone: 020 7733 8855

email: hello@thebeastofbrixton.com

http://www.thebeastofbrixton.co.uk/

 

 

Although the restaurant overlooks Acre Lane the door is in Branksome Road and even with these instructions it can be missed. There is a doorbell just round the corner of Acre Lane and a discreet notice. Gone is loved Upstairs and to replace it we have a bar with food with the unlikely and unlovely name of the Beast of Brixton. The first noticeable change is the speakeasy-imagelooking door on Branksome Road is now open if you push it. Up the stairs you find the same two small rooms one with a bar and the other an extension with seating for about 20 people. The interior is different with only the long beige couches left on either floor from the previous owners. The walls are now covered with colours and on each floor there is a feature wall of silver or flock skulls. As I said an unlovely name and unlovely walls.

This is really a bar with snacks which are small or large plates. The bar has a few drinks options – cocktails, wine and beer – but limited doesn’t mean uninteresting. The cocktails are cheap by Brixton standards and so are the other drinks and they sell it in the right quantities, i.e. 125ml glasses of wine are available here.

Each week they are now going to have a pop-up chef. We missed the Japanese street food and were there on the first night of El Marinero. Pop-ups seem to be all street food that can be prepared in the very small kitchen on the top floor so they will probably be chefs used to a van at a street market. Again the choice is limited – about 6 small and 5 large plates. Plates is a misnomer as they are served in a cardboard box. As El Marinero implies this week it is Spanish fish dishes like whitebait, scallops and chorizo and squid. Large plates are served with spinach salad (well more of a garnish) and rice.

BoB02We chose scallops and chorizo and the squid with a small plate of fried chillies. The chillies are not for the faint-hearted. The first bite is sweet and warm but that is before you get to the seeds which are fantastically hot. In fact the menu did warn that it was hot but as we left we noticed they had changed it to “very hot”. They came with a sweet tomato sauce and a lemony mayonnaise. The squid was cooked perfectly with enough flaked salt and pepper to make it interesting. The scallops were also cooked well, soft but not slimy.BoB06BoB05

The chef came out and gave us an extra dish – whitebait – which was to the same high standard.

 

BoB01We drank a Verdita (coriander, vodka and green chilli) which was a shock at first but very interesting and not too much like an alcopop, a rum, sorrel and spiced hibiscus (which was too sweet) and a glass of white wine. The whole lot came to £30.00. So for a fast food and cocktail restaurant this is reasonable value. But this is not fine dining but the food was good and the menu will change each week so there will always be something new to try.