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Brixton/South London recs

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Rianna Mar 29, 2008 11:08 AM

Just moved from Brixton to East Dulwich and am already missing some of my old local spots. I know the neighborhood is generally considered a bit of a culinary backwater, but thought it might be interesting to have a thread of recs in the area for those days when a trek to some other part of town isn't in the books. Here are mind -- anyone have any to add? (Places w/in a moderate walk of the 37 bus line much appreciated!)

Places to Eat

1) Max Oliver's coffee shop, just off Coldharbour Lane. I love the atmosphere and the music, and the coffee is good. I've had several of their rotis -- the fillings are excellent, although the rotis themselves less so. The spicy chick pea one is particularly tasty, and the rice & pea side is, too. Unfortunately the baked goods a bit of a disappointment.

2) Honest Foods, also on Coldharbour -- upscale sandwich shop. They've sadly stopped serving my favorite chicken sandwich, but their dinner burgers are still excellent, as is their "interesting" salad (i.e., mix of things, and not just lettuce and anemic tomato). Great banana cake.

3) Rosie's Cafe -- in the covered market just off Coldharbour (yes, I spent a lot of time on Coldharbour). Bakery/deli also serves soup/salad/sandwiches, this time w/a slight Mediterranean flavour. Haven't gotten around to trying the bastilla, but I'm going to, someday.

4) Baan Thai on Coldharbour. Cheap and surprisingly good Thai food, except for the
pad thai, which was cloyingly sweet.

5) Prince Regent pub on Dulwich Road. I think it's the best (gastro)pub food in the neighborhood. Miles better than the Florence a few doors down. Get the fishcakes but otherwise order off the specials menu. Avoid their half-price night on Monday, b/c I think that's when they put the B-team in the kitchen (fishcake that day quite foul).

6) Negril on Brixton Hill. Again, good rotis and I mean to go back on a weekend day in the summer, when they have the outdoor grill fired up. They have an outdoor patio and it smells amazing when the grill is going.

7) This one I can't recommend, b/c I haven't tried it yet, but I've been meaning to try Brazas, the new Portuguese place on Tulse Hill road, which I've read good things about online. Anyone been there?

Places to Shop for food

L.S. Mash on Atlantic for fish. The only fishmongers I would actually buy from in the Brixton market area, b/c their stock actually looks fresh. I just saw a post someone wrote from a while ago looking for squid in Brixton -- I've gotten it here several times & it's always been excellent.

Other favorites were the Continental Delicatessen on Atlantic, Brixton Whole Foods (very much not related to the US-based Whole Paycheck) & the Nour Cash & Carry (I think that's what it was called -- whichever one I'm thinking of has a big yellow sign hanging above the door in the covered market. There's also an entrance via Electric Avenue). The latter is basically a small supermarket -- the produce is generally about as fresh as it is anywhere in the market, and they have a stunningly wide array of international spices/herbs/condiments.

Look forward to seeing anyone else's recs!

  1. h
    halfassedgourmand Jul 29, 2008 06:34 AM

    Also, tried out Olley's Fish and Chips near brockwell which was nice, for 6.50 you get fish, chips and mushy peas.

    1 Reply
    1. re: halfassedgourmand
      f
      foreignmuck Jul 29, 2008 11:45 AM

      ofcoure. - surprised this hadnt been mentioned before.. Very nice F&C..

      On a par with Golden Hind and Master's Superfish I recon,

    2. i
      isabelle94 May 4, 2008 12:16 AM

      Wanted to add a comment about The Gallery which I went to last night based on recs from here. I was very disappointed, as I have been with all the Portuguese places in Brixton/Stockwell. Maybe I am missing something as I have never been to Portugal but the salt cod had not been soaked long enough. Some pieces were very salty still. Is this normal in Portuguese preparation? It's not the first time that I've had it served like this in Portuguese restaurants around here and I'm wondering if I'm missing the point.

      Very disappointing experience as the food took ages to come out and was pricey to boot.

      2 Replies
      1. re: isabelle94
        greedygirl May 4, 2008 02:15 AM

        Sorry to hear you didn't like it, isabelle. To be fair I haven't been there in a while. We had a nice meal in Brazas the other night though (Portuguese place near Brockwell Park). The salt cod fishcakes were delicious and the staff as friendly as ever.

        Which other Portuguese places have you tried?

        1. re: greedygirl
          i
          isabelle94 May 18, 2008 08:36 AM

          I'll add Brazas to my list of places to try!

          I've been to O Cantinho, on Stockwell Road. Whenever I passed the restaurant, it seemed constantly packed with people so we decided to give it a try. We essentially ordered tapas and for the most part, all the fried food seemed tasted processed and previously frozen and the flaming chorizo was so strong tasting that you could really only take a couple of bites before wishing you had some nice bread to offset the taste. That said, the quail was quite good.

          I've also tried Cafe Madeira where I had their deep fried salt cod. It's one of the few occasions that I wished I had answered the waiter's question, "How is everything?" with an honest response! The salt cod was horrible and could have done with a good 12 hours of extra soaking.

          If you have any other possible Portuguese suggestions, I'd be curious to hear your suggestions.

      2. i
        isabelle94 May 3, 2008 09:55 AM

        Another tentative rec would be The Hive which is near the Brixton leisure center. The food seems to have improved over the last year or so (perhaps there's a new chef in the kitchen) and I had a really nice burger there. The smoked haddock and duck also got good reviews from my dining companions.

        1 Reply
        1. re: isabelle94
          greedygirl May 4, 2008 02:16 AM

          Haven't been to Hive for ages as the food was a bit meh a couple of years ago. Thanks for reminding me of its existence!

        2. r
          Rianna Apr 8, 2008 02:16 AM

          The cafe part of Green & Blue in ED just reopened after being closed for several months and I'm looking forward to trying it again. I stopped by the counter over the weekend and saw that they've started stocking their scotch eggs again. The pork and apple one, although not traditional, is fabulous.

          1. frogprince Apr 2, 2008 07:04 AM

            Takes me back...I used to live nearby in the 70s.

            Is the Continental Delicatessen still run by Greek-Cypriots and do you know the address? I didn't see it at it's old location when I drove past some years ago.

            7 Replies
            1. re: frogprince
              r
              Rianna Apr 2, 2008 07:23 AM

              Thanks for all the recommendations -- I'm looking forward to trying some new places. I also now have a few new recs from further east -- the Rye Hotel on Peckham Rye park, and Jack's cafe on Pellatt, just off Lordship Lane in ED. .

              Frogprince, the Continental (apparently it's actually called A&C Continental Groceries) is on Atlantic, near the intersection with Brixton Road. Big blue awning when it's open. I have to admit I don't know where the current owners are from -- my old landlords told me they were Portuguese, although I've never heard them speak anything other than English, so have no idea.

              1. re: Rianna
                greedygirl Apr 2, 2008 09:05 AM

                In East Dulwich, Franklin's on Lordship Lane is very good, and does an excellently priced set lunch (new British cuisine). Le Bouchon is reliable for decent French food. Tandoori Nights is supposed to be the best Indian on Lordship Lane - it was quite good on the one occasion I visited. I'd also try out Green and Blue if I were you - I went to the Clapham branch last night for a wine-tasting evening and tried the food there. Pretty decent platters of cheese and charcuterie.

                I also like a South Indian place called Ganapati which is on Bellenden Road, so the Peckham side of East Dulwich.

                1. re: greedygirl
                  c
                  cathodetube Jul 27, 2008 06:47 PM

                  I agree with Ganapati rec. and Jack's. Have eaten at Green and Blue several times and they have nice panninis as well as the platters mentioned above.
                  There is a new cafe (think it is called 2050) opened on Forest Hill Road, SE22 near the junction of Colyton Rd by Peckham Rye Park. It is next to the house with the blue plaque lived in by 'Boris Karloff'. It is run by 2 women, 1 French and the other Finnish. They do great breakfasts - German, French and Finnish. Had a delicious chilled tomato soup the other day. They also have take away fresh bread and cakes. It is very dog friendly, dogs can go inside or out. Coffee is from Monmouth - yummy.

              2. re: frogprince
                greedygirl Apr 2, 2008 09:01 AM

                Are you referring to the deli that used to be on Coldharbour Lane, perhaps? That was run by a lovely Greek-Cypriot man. A&C Continental has always been run by Portuguese people - it's now managed by the son of the original owners.

                1. re: greedygirl
                  frogprince Apr 5, 2008 06:28 AM

                  D'oh! You are right...it was on Coldharbour Lane! Gone now, I guess?

                  1. re: frogprince
                    greedygirl Apr 5, 2008 06:40 AM

                    Long gone. I think Tony moved back to Cyprus more than ten years ago.

                    1. re: greedygirl
                      frogprince Apr 5, 2008 11:10 AM

                      All my favourite delis seem to close...my favourite Italian used to be in Woking (of all places) but unfortunately the uncle died and the family decided to shut up shop.

                      Still on the look out for decent Mediterranean delis in west London...

              3. greedygirl Mar 31, 2008 07:26 AM

                Another long-time Brixton resident here. I don't disagree with any of your recs - I also really like the Prince Regent, which has become almost our default local dinner/lunch spot. And Upstairs on Acre Lane is great for a splurge. And Khan's - it's a Brixton insitution!

                I haven't been to the pizza place in the market since it changed hands, but I've heard good things about it already. I like the fact they've changed the name back to Franco something or other, because that reflects the fact that for years it was called Franco's, named after the eponymous owner.

                I have been put off Bahn Thai recently by the over-sweet noodles - maybe I should give it another go? I also like Lombok in Herne Hill.

                Brazas is great - I had some fabulous soy-braised ribs which were sticky and savoury and rather yummy. Mr GG had succulent piri-piri chicken and some lovely salt cod fishcakes. They are really nice in there and you should give it a go. Also good is The Gallery on Brixton Hill - another Portuguese place. It looks like a takeaway from the outside but you go through a little door and you're transported into a restaurant which looks like it should be in the Algarve!

                I've also heard very good things about the Mexican food in the Dogstar, but as I'm not keen on that pub I've never tried it. You can get takeaway from there though, so maybe that's the way to go.

                Has anyone tried the new Thai place in the pub which used to be the Hobgoblin (or the George Canning for those of use who've lived here for yonks), opposite Khan's?

                1 Reply
                1. re: greedygirl
                  n
                  Nii Apr 1, 2008 02:50 AM

                  To add a few more..

                  Comme y punto - Fab Columbian in Brixton market, only really frequented by Columbians, but you're made welcome if you do go in. I love the oxtail Sancocho.

                  Kojo's - West African on Brixton Hill - Really authentic range of traditional Ghanaian and Nigerian foods - nice people too.

                  Delicious Bakery - Predominately Jamaican fare.

                  The Gallery - Portuguese restaurant/takeaway on Brixton Hill - Love the take away'jedungo hot' piri piri chicken. Just seen your rec GG.

                  Negril - Modern Jamaican - Brixton Hill. They do things like Jerk chicken burgers, sweet potatoe wedges, coleslaw etc.

                  Asmara -Coldharbour lane. Eritrean.

                  Destiny's - Streatham Common. Quite possibly one of the best Jerk centres I've been to. I had the jerk chicken with rice and peas. A nice, delicate coconut flavour with the rice and peas and the chicken was suitably hot - the way it should be and big portions too!

                  Purple - Streatham - European

                  203 - Streatham - Nigerian/Ugandan

                  Di francos - Streatham -Italian (recommended byt a mate)

                  I'm also quite intrigued by all the Somalian places on the lower end of Streatham high road.

                2. r
                  Rianna Mar 29, 2008 01:08 PM

                  Ah, glad to see a bunch of new places to try. I should have mentioned that restaurant above Opus. It's called Upstairs, and it's very good (especially for the money, which wasn't much) The owner/maitre d' mentioned that they just made it into the Michelin guide as a "good value for money" option. Book ahead, b/c it's small & they only do two seatings a night. V. nice bar to wait in, if you take the later seating. And the view from up there is surprisingly great (who would have thought, from Acre Lane?) I don't much like Opus, though. Coffee's good, but sandwiches disappointing. Too greasy, not enough filling.

                  I always meant to try that Eco place -- it looks good. I had high hopes for the Colombian (?) place in the market, the one that specializes in arepas, but was v. disappointed.

                  I also belatedly remembered another place I like -- Kaya on Dulwich road. Great juices/smoothies. (I suppose I could get closer to my current home & mention Cafe Provencal/3 Monkeys/No. 22 in Herne Hill, but was thinking it would be nice to have a thread of less obvious candidates.)

                  1. f
                    foreignmuck Mar 29, 2008 11:53 AM

                    Many thanks for the recs. as a long time Brixton dweller, this is potentially a great thread.

                    some additions:
                    Khans on Brixton Water Lane, opposite Hootmanays pub.. My favourite curry place in the neighbourhood. A cut above most curry places. I wouldn't say its Tayabbs standard, but still pretty good and good value too. The Butter Chicken is pretty addictive, as is the Lamb Ceylon. It's BYO if you eat in.

                    There is an unmarked restaurant on the corner of Branksome Rd and Acre lane, above Opus Coffee shop. Both are supposed to be good but i've never been to either.

                    There is a great value wood fire pizza place in one of the arcades in the Market. It used to called Eco, but its changed its name to Franco something. Havent been since the rebranding, but Eco was great.

                    I love shopping in the market, and do as much there as possible. I try to avoid the supermarkets when i can. Nour is a good bet for veggies, and the Chinese shop also on Electric Ave does decent fish and shellfish (most of the time) as well as all the oriental ingredients and condiments at a good price.

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