Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Annie's Best of Brixton

There's only two weeks left until we pack up the remains of our stuff and lock the door of our little flat for the last time, so, I wanted to compose a little list of my favourite Brixton haunts. I know I know, there are tonnes of Brixton top 10 lists and every single issue of Timeout says something about the place but this here is my list of my favourites and all the things I'll miss.

(apologies, this does go on a bit)

Negril - The first place I ever ate in Brixton and I love it now as much as I did then. Their sharing platters, once a struggle for Mitch and I to finish but now quite easily demolishable, are always my go-to choice. I've never quite been able to manage their eye-wateringly spicy jerk sauce, but when they kindly bring out an extra portion of their special gravy why would I need to? It is unbelievably good as is their coleslaw, plantain, rice & peas and, of course, their BYOB policy. Ah sigh, I'm going to miss this place a lot.

The Joint - Quite probably the best pulled pork I've ever eaten PLUS it's served, along with BBQ sauce and coleslaw, in a vanilla and fig bun which is quite frankly the dog's b*llocks. And don't even get me started on their sides! Hush puppies, ribs, wings - all so so good.

Franco Manca - It doesn't surprise me to see people getting on the tube with takeaway pizzas from here because I get it, their sourdough pizzas are the bomb. (I'd probably opt for just eating in rather than taking a pizza on public transport but yeah, I get it.) Also, with this place it's not just the food that I'll miss, it's the restaurant itself. Yes, there's quite a few other Franco Mancas around London but I like the little, kinda squished, one in Market Row. Also, I have it on good authority that the Brixton branch makes the best pizzas :)

Mama Lan - Yup, it's got one small menu but everything on there is a winner. This winter it's been all about their spicy tofu (or beef) noodle soup and, of course, their dumplings which you can even watch them make if you get a table inside. They've opened up a bigger restaurant in Clapham Common but the teeny tiny one in the village is the one I'll miss.

Honest Burgers - Obviously. I've not sampled any of the other 'Honests' around London, and why would I need to when the original was but a short walk away? I guess the move means I could sample some of the others but now that Brixton's got a queuing system up and running, I'm more than happy to return to the village.

The Duck Egg cafe - Another tiny establishment that's usually packed but if you do get a seat, I recommend their breakfasts. Whether it's just poached eggs your after or the full english, it's grand in there.

Rosie's - My favourite spot for a cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake. Perfect on a sunday (before 12 or after 2 you're more likely to get a seat) and the cakes are different every time I go in so there's always something new to try. They also do very good brunch-y type things, oh and the goats cheese and onion marmalade sandwich is amazing.

The Cafe Provencal - technically Herne Hill but it's an old haunt so I couldn't not mention it. They pretty much serve breakfasts, brunch, lunch and dinner type foods - and I've tried all of them. Sadly, they got hit really badly with the floods that happened last year and they won't be opening until the end of March, after we've left (boo). I'm hoping they won't have changed (or rather, had to get rid of) their quirky furniture. Plus their toilets were cool - blackboards on the backs of the doors so you could draw away/scrawl notes for the next occupant.

Seven - Their cocktails are the bees knees - the ginger beer and basil mojito is a firm fave. And, at only a fiver I cannot complain price-wise. As with a lot of the places I've mentioned on here, the best place to sit is at one of the tables out the front and then you can people watch and, at Seven specifically, scrutinise the religious memorabilia shop opposite to your hearts content.

The Craft Beer Co. - a small but mighty establishment with a multitude of beers, ales and cider to choose from. More a weekend destination as a lot of the booze is of a rather high percentage. A pint or two is usually enough for me but it's a hard rule to stick to because there's usually a least 4 new ones I want to try.

The Crown & Anchor - A decent sized pub that has lots of seating, great beers, mulled wine and cider in the winter AND a rather good food menu. It's a bit of a trek from the tube station (20 mins walk) but definitely worth it.

The Hootananny - v.much our local, well it is about 30 secs away. I think the hoot is definitely a summer pub, it's very easy to while away 4 or 5 hours sitting in their huge beer garden at the front when the weather is good. The choice of beer isn't amazing but it certainly has a cracking atmosphere. Nearly every time I go there I always end up chatting to a complete stranger and I quite like that about the hootanny. It's clientele are a very mixed bunch but everyone's always friendly - especially the attendant in the women's loos ("happy, happy happy - everybody's happy!"). Also, the burrito guy that has a stall in the beer garden makes unbelievably fine burritos and if you don't fancy mexican, there's usually a pizza stall in the garden too!

The Ritzy - good lord, I'm going to miss this cinema. Fun fact: before we moved to Brixton and were living in Surbiton, Mitch and I sometimes used to come to Brixton, just to got to the ritzy. Yup, that's how much we loved it. So, you can imagine that leaving it is going to suck massively (especially screens 1 and 5 - they're the best ones). Of course, we can always come back and visit it which I imagine we will. Plus, moving to SW london does force us to seek out other cinemas in order to avoid our soon-to-be local odeons and cineworlds - euurgh.

The Effra Social - Ah the social, our other local (also a mere 30 secs walk away). I have a lot of love for this establishment and, seeing as it hasn't even been open a year yet, we've spent a lot of time there, including, it playing host to our engagement drinks knees up. Friday and Saturday nights are great for music whether it's a live band playing ska or a DJ spinning 50s & 60s tunes - my absolute favourite music to dance to. Yup, this is where I go to get my dancing fix in Brixton. It's also nice for a quiet drink in the week both inside when the weathers crap and outside the front in the summer. They've also recently opened up a nice sized (and prettily lit) restaurant in the back. Special mention to the knitting pattern decor in the loos - good stuff.

Brixton Acadamy - I am ashamed to say that despite living walking distance from this excellent venue I only went twice in the last two and a half years. They were great gigs (Orbital and The Postal Service) but I really wish I'd made more effort with looking to see who was playing (to be fair, I need to up my game on going to live music events in general). However, on the two occasions we went to the acadamy, never have I felt so smug about leisurely exiting the venue, not worrying about the crowded tubes or finding a taxi, because 15 minutes later (or 5 if we'd got the bus) we were home. The best thing was not having to faff about with the cloakroom as we didn't need coats or bags (even at the december gig). So good. Sigh.

Brockwell Park - in the words of Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz: "I think I'll miss you most of all". When Mitch and I first decided we wanted the flat (and to be in Brixton to an extent) it was the park that swayed us (discovering the village and all its delights after we'd signed the contract was a v.nice surprise and an added bonus). It's a great park - for walks, running, picnics, events, car boot sales, sports (not that I partook in any, for shame), swings(!), feeding the ducks, summer evening boozing...And then there's the lido. And the cute little lido cafe. I think some of my favourite days living in Brixton are park related - lambeth county fair, our day lazing by/in the pool at the lido, geocaching, that time we snuck into the kid's playground before it was finished and played on the swings. Our close proximity to the park and gym has most definitely contributed to my enthusiasm for regular exercise. The inviting lido forced me to get over myself and wear a swimming costume in public(!) outside (!). And perhaps, most importantly, it provided me with the perfect place to clear my head (and pet some dogs).

Honourable mentions: Station road market, Herne Hill market, Jeff the Chef (best goat curry I've ever eaten), The Florence (in-house brewery - always a bonus - and the battered halloumi sticks are guuud), Oregano on Tulse Hill for takeaway pizza (hangover favourite), the crafty fox market (and the dogstar where it's held), Khan's of Brixton (fantastic Indian takeaway on Brixton Water Lane), the gym (I love that place, never thought I'd say that about a gym), the Brixton Bugle (never before have I taken such an interest in where I live - the blog and monthly paper will be missed), Morleys (they have everything in there), the bookmongers on coldharbour lane (and the v.chilled dog that sits in the window), Bleu in Herne Hill (always good for a mooch about in), the transport (or rather the convenience of the location - bus, train and the usually reliable victoria line) and last but not least, the windmill.
Now, was there anything I missed...?

picture sources - Food: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8
Drink: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
Entertainment: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5     
Mentions: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 


  1. I was in Brixton yesterday and headed to Negril for lunch after reading this was amazing and with their little outdoor seating i'll be going back in the summer time! :)

    1. ah Chloe I'm so glad you liked it!
      yeah the little terrace bit is ace, especially in the summer. Might have to get myself over there next month - I miss it a lot :)


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