Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >
Sep 15, 2009 07:36 AM

Not that I'd buy a house on the basis of food ;) Sarf London reccs

Am moving from leafy West Dulwich and our current two top choices are places in Brixton Hill or Crystal Palace (Fox Hill, just down from the Westow traiangle). I really don't know much about the eating possibilities of either, and have read mixed reviews of Joanna's in Crystal Palace. Brixton - have been to Franco Manca and was underwhelmed, though liked the market obviously, and that amazing fish warehouse opposite Tesco.

Thoughts? We're going to spend the next few weekends mooching round both of them to get a feel so top tips welcomed!



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i used to live at the bottom of gipsy hill and thought it was a great location. the restaurants on gipsy road are great neighbourhood restaurants - mangosteen for really good asian food, the indian dining club for modern indian and still luigi's for old-style italian (complete with drunken waiter who you often see napping on a couch by the toilets). the pub whose name has escaped me was revamped and was nice albeit a bit over-priced. the ownership changed just before i moved so i'm not sure what it's like these days. mangosteen and indian dining club used to have good early eve mid-week deals.

    the location is good as you can walk from gipsy hill into dulwich or up the hill to crystal palace.

    i would avoid joanna's - i think its mediocre and overpriced based on both supper and breakfasts there. numidie's is nice (check out the bar downstairs, good for cold wintry evenings) and i used to like domali for breakfast. their mushroom pate on toast was lovely. chi is a nice chinese (not cheap) and i think we tried all the thai places. ferarri's is a nice italian which was always buzzy. the one place i never made it to but which had good reviews is a torre, a portuguese place.

    you can also get the no 3 bus to herne hill and then brixton, from the bottom of gipsy hill itself.

    1. I have lived in Crystal Palace for some time and have not visited everywhere but the following observations my be helpful.

      Joannas- The granddaddy of the Crystal Palace Triangle. A bit too stuffy for a local rest. Food is good but not spectacular , brunch menu is good value. Service a bit hit and miss. Have only been in three times in 3 years.

      Meditterania- A favourite of mine and a lot of my friends. Was outstanding but Italian chef left. Still good but go for the fish or Sardinian dishes /specials . Go about once a month. Owner is very friendly and was on The F word showing Gordon maggoty cheese.

      Al Torre - Standard Portugese- good fish – lacks imagination on side dishes.

      Edo-Japanese nothing to write home about. Have only tried Unagi, and Ramen

      Exhibition Rooms- Fairly new addition. Has won award in time out in Local section.
      Went once not impressed, surly service. Had chicken pie which was chicken in cream with no other ingrediants with a puff pastry lid (puff pastry on a pie I ask you!)

      Numdie- North African/French Went there on Sunday had a great meal £14 for 3 courses of good food. Great wine bar in basement as well.

      Have tried most of the Thai places –ho hum.

      The curry places are all much of a muchness but a fairly new Nepalese Yak and Yeti does very good Moma.

      Hope this helps but for more opinions try

      If you do move to Crystal palace I think you’ll find it has a good community spirit and there’s lot to get involved with.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Paprikaboy

        i meant mediterranea as my missed opportunity, not a torre (although i have not been there either). thanks for the reminder paprikaboy!

        1. re: abby d

          Thanks guys, Numidie had caught my eye. And the virtualnorwood forum's a good signpost, thank you!

      2. Another Crystal Palacer here (there's enough for a mini-chowdown!). The thing I like about it is that although there's oodles of choice locally, you're also not really that far from town. The no3 is a godsend for getting home from the West End late in the evening.
        I think one of the best things locally is curry - Yak and Yeti is really good, as are Palace Spice and Viva Goa.
        In terms of food-buying opportunities, although there are a couple of Saturday markets, I'm not sure how regular or how food-oriented they are. However, Dulwich College has a farmer's market on some Sundays and Penge (a lovely walk through the park) has a regular farmer's market on Saturdays, which seems to be good for meat and cheese. There's also a fishmongers in West Norwood (appeared in the recent tv series Economy Gastronomy).
        The only thing I haven't found is a decent fish and chip shop - would welcome any tips from my local hounds!

        6 Replies
        1. re: juniper77

          To be honest, if you don't like Franco manca, and considering it's apparently (have never been) one of the best pizzas in London, then I'm not sure that Brixton is for you. Lots of places to eat, but no real stand outs at all-is more the cheap and decent end of things (and some not so cheap and npt so decent) rather than anything spectacular, but then that's pretty much South London all in all. The Caribbean restaurants ain't up to much either (recent experience-over 1 hour wait, £10 mains and pretty bland too). The best place to eat is probably the Coach and Horses (Clapham end of Acre Lane), but like I said, if you're real foodies, you'll be disappointed I reckon.

          1. re: bootsyjam

            I agree that Brixton is not brilliant for restaurants, but it is very good for food shopping. There are a couple of honourable exceptions though - Franco Manca, Upstairs and Khan's. However, it is much more centrally located than Crystal Palace, and easier to get to good food spots. Also the Herne Hill side of Brixton (where I live) has a lot more to offer.

            Having said that, I've tried a lot of places in Crystal Palace and they're not that exciting either. Mangosteen is unexceptional, in my view. The Indian Dining Rooms is not bad.

            1. re: greedygirl

              carribean - Negril is worth checking out on Brixton Hill
              fish and chips - Ollies in herne hill..

              1. re: foreignmuck

                Thanks guys. I second Ollies! Negril is on the list. The Gallery was OK - we had the mixed grill, nice atmosphere - but nowt special. Tried Asmara, the Eritrean place, which was really interesting, and the Satay place was fine and good value, though it does feel a bit like eating in an All Bar One...Franco Manca, think I went with far too high expectations. I was shoved by the pass (was on my own) and so had people banging me the whole time, think my pizza was the first out the oven so they hadn't got the temperature right, and all the filling had slopped into the middle, so it was mostly bare dough...but with possibly the cheapest glass of house wine in London who's complaining. Liked the Asian supermarket in the market.

                Think it's probably going to be Crystal Palace though. Making the offer tomorrow. If it all goes well, in by December, so, yes, let's have a mini chowdown! Went to Mantannah the other day in Norwood by the way, and it was good - reminded me of Thailand in New Cross, feels like you're in the lady's front room, which is no bad thing.

                Still think my favourite 'hood place though is Ganapati in Peckham Rye. LOVE IT!!!

                1. re: helen b

                  Not quite Crystal Palace, but I recommend Le Querce (Italian) near the Honor Oak train station. Run by a Sardinian family, everything is made in the restaurant (pasta, bread etc). Everything is fresh, wonderful and creative. Pizzas on Sundays. Save room for dessert as well, especially the 'experimental' ice cream (for example: apple & pepper flavored, pepperoncini, melon and basil)...

                  Le Querce, 66-68 Brockley Rise, Honor Oak

            2. re: bootsyjam

              When I lived in Brixton, I had some lovely meals in several places, like Gyoza (Chinese/Japanese) Comme y punto (Columbian in the market) Mays kitchen for home style cheap, great West African and D's Roti Hut for Trinidadian roti's. I loved Asmara for Eritrean. I hear good things abour Adulis, but I'm yet to try it. There's much more choice in Brixton! Honest Food aren't bad either and Rosies in the market does lovely breakfasts.
              I would agree that West Indian in Brixton for the most part jis ust okay. You should head out to Croydon and West Norwood for better Caribbean or even Peckham

          2. Surprised no one has mentioned Upstairs in Acre Lane. Perhaps one of the best kept secrets on the London restaurant scene - it's in a converted flat above a cafe and you ring a buzzer to get in. The first floor is a lovely, cosy bar and then upstairs the restaurant, with only about 30 covers. The food is simple and uses the best seasonal ingredients - there are only about three starters, mains and desserts to choose from but is very good value (around £25 for three courses I think) and the wine list is excellent. Even if you do end up a bit further south, is well worth checking out - I miss it hugely after moving to East London.

            2 Replies
            1. re: pj26

              Greedygirl mentioned it above; ate there recently and agree that the food's very good, and one can get 6 courses for around £30.

              1. re: limster

                Franks Campari Bar, the pop up bar / restaurant on the top of a NCP carpark in Peckham..

                great St John's inspired food, (oxheart salad, grilled sardines, bbq lamb etc) mainly cooked on a BBQ.. No frills, very reasonable and awesome views over london. Plus some great art instillations....

                Be quick though, closes at the end of September!