Friday, November 11, 2011
A three course lunch at Brixton Village (all at different restaurants)
The problem with living out of London is that you feel totally out of the loop when it comes to new openings. The whole world, it seems - certainly the whole blogging world - has been to the conglomeration of cool cafés and restaurants in Brixton Village, a place where you might once have hesitated to set foot unless you were in search of callaloo and tripe. But that's not the case, of course, and if you haven't been, as I hadn't until yesterday I strongly recommend you go.
I went with my good mate Fiona Sims (the other Fiona) which was a mistake. The original intention was to have a quick burger at Honest Burgers and return to the very interesting biodynamic wine tasting we'd been at up to then. But as there was a queue at HB we had to explore other options. Fiona favoured Elephant (Pakistani street food), I wanted to try the okonomiyaki at Okan.
We settled on Elephant (above) where we shared a spinach pakora and a veggie Thali. Being an aficionado of Bristol's Thali Cafe I don't think it quite lived up to theirs - but it was hot (in both senses of the word) freshly prepared and cheap - by London standards. (About £11.50 for the two of us). Great value.
While we were there we spotted the owner bringing in a plate of something tasty for his own lunch - which turned out to be the okonomiyaki so we had to move on to Okan to try one. We bickered amiably about that too - Fi wanted tofu, I opted for pork and kimchi (wouldn't you?) and won this time. Again, good but I've had better - a bit too much gloopy sauce on top and the bottom was slightly burnt but it looked amazing and the eggy/cabbagey bit was great. £7.95.
By this time were were totally stuffed but the queues at Honest Burgers had disappeared and we couldn't miss that burger. Which was awesome - fabulously beefy with a gorgeous light bun and hopelessly moreish triple cooked chips with rosemary salt. They very sweetly divided it into two for us to share. That was £9.
So we never got back to the tasting (I went clothes shopping instead, always a bad idea when you're feeling feckless) but I think we did Brixton Village proud. You should try at least two places if you go - there are many more tempting ones as you can see above and in this review Jay Rayner wrote for the Observer and this one by Marina O'Loughlin in Metro. And some fantastic food shopping to be had around the various food and home stalls. I can't wait to go back.
NB We went on a Thursday afternoon - I suspect it gets a lot more hectic at weekends.