The Wild Caper delicatessen in Brixton Village, a few doors down from the ever-busy Franco Manca pizzeria, is not new - in fact, it's one of the older names nestled within the art-deco arcades that make up South London's hottest restaurant district. But hitherto locals have known it as a weekend brunch spot and bakery. That may change: Wild Caper has just started serving fully-fledged dinners every bit as flavoursome as its Neapolitan sourdoughs.
We started with the Roast Pumpkin soup, a velvety, nutty number topped with pesto and, best of all, served with hunks of the famous house bread. Our dining partner meanwhile tucked into some ham-and-mozzarella risotto balls, fried to a perfect crisp on the outside but retaining their succulence within. Both were superb, conceived with rustic Italian simplicity and presented on tin platters but surprisingly complex in flavour. And fresh - those risotto balls hadn't been sitting around.
Much the same goes for the mains we ordered, a classic, sumptuous parmigiana di melanzane (cheesy aubergine bake) and grilled chicken served with a very tasty variety of roast vegetables. The only word of warning would be to those who don't like olive oil - a strong feature of all four dishes, making them unexpectedly hearty and filling. But who doesn't like olive oil, honestly? This is no bog-standard grease.
The best bit about dining at Wild Caper is the prices. Its breads may be dear, but for now its dinners offer excellent value - this two-course meal, plus a shared piece of rosemary, lemon and (following the theme) olive oil cake for desert and a bottle of perfectly decent house white came to just over £40, excluding the very friendly service. Bargain.
Wild Caper is at 11a Market Row, Brixton, a three minute walk from Brixton tube