Address: 336 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8QH.
Phone: 020 7326 0643
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.
Address: 395 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8LQ
Wednesday–Friday evenings only;
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
15-17 Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LB
– Express Cafe 020 7978 8515
– Lobstar Pop-up 079 5843 8441
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.
Address 443 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LN
Telephone: 020 7095 9443
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.
address: Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ
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.
OPENED PERMANENT SPOT IN SOHO
address: Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ
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.
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.
49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ
020 7274 2902
(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.