Where To Eat And Drink In… Brixton

Helen Graves
By Helen Graves Last edited 13 months ago
Where To Eat And Drink In… Brixton
Fish for sale in Brixton Market. Photo: Stephanie Sadler in the Londonist Flickr pool.

Brixton has seen so many new openings in recent years, we simply can't fit them all into this guide. We're bound to offend someone with an omission or an addition, but please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Breakfast and brunch

If it's a traditional breakfast you're hankering after, look no further than Duck Egg (yes they do serve them). Stir Coffee serves… coffee, but also bacon sandwiches and smoked salmon bagels, and they've an eye for detail that we appreciate.

Burnt Toast Café is a modern café and bakery selling their own sourdough bread, pancakes, eggs, pastries, etc. They've got your breakfast covered from all angles, basically, and Rosie’s Deli Café is still going strong (they've even expanded to Peckham). Head there for the scrambled eggs with chilli jam which are Rosie's signature.

Brunch at Salon. Photo: Lizzie Mabbott.

For an upmarket brunch, Salon serves inventive seasonal food at reasonable prices. The dining room overlooks the buzzing indoor market and a window seat is a great place to enjoy dishes like three cheese cornbread with shredded ham hock, greens and a poached egg. South Indian restaurant Kricket also does a cracking brunch, with a dish of kichri with pickled cauliflower and raw egg yolk being a standout.

The Blues Kitchen is also a popular brunch destination, with more unusual dishes like crab cakes with poached egg and hollandaise sauce and the obligatory bloody Marys. Finally, for a breakfast with a difference try the full English galette (like a wholemeal pancake) from Senzala in Brixton Village.

Lunchtime inspiration

Station Road Market offers plenty for the hungry luncher, with a range of food stalls operating Wednesday and Thursday lunchtimes and all day on Fridays.

If it's a sandwich you're after, French and Grace are still knocking out their legendary halloumi and chorizo wraps, which are packed with flavour. Honest Burgers is reliable and good for a chain – we're big fans of their Tribute Burger, which comes American style with pickles and slappy cheese. They also do a great curry sauce for the rosemary-salted chips.

Innit, dough. Photo: Made of Dough/Twitter.

Franco Manca is still going strong, although we think there are much better Neopolitan pizzas in London now, not least Made of Dough inside POP Brixton.

For no-nonsense noodles and basic sushi, head to Fujiyama or Ichiban, or for more interesting Japanese, try Okan, which serves okonomiyaki — a kind of  Japanese omelette with a sweet squiggle of sauce on top and numerous garnishes.  

Mama Lan is still turning out giant noodle bowls, dumplings and that excellent fried chicken, with their sweet homemade chilli oil drizzled on top.

Spread your wings and fry at Mama Lan's. Photo: Helen Graves.

For a Nigerian food fix, MTK is the place to go. Expect jollof rice, moin moin and rich, gelatinous stews. For a more modern take on West African food, try Zoe's Ghana Kitchen in POP Brixton.

You'd think the Caribbean population in the area might lead to an abundance of great jerked meats but weirdly it's all quite average. We've had poor results over the years from both Bamboula and Negril but they both remain popular, as does Fish Wings & Tings for roti and shark and bake.

For lunch with an added dose of do-gooding, consider The Clink restaurant, which is staffed by prisoners. It's great value and a unique experience, although there's no booze for obvious reasons.

Light refreshments

Black and White Café has been going on Atlantic Road for more than 40 years, serving a range of Caribbean dishes and refreshments including Guinness Punch. Café Italia is also an institution, serving generous sandwiches sprinkled with hot sauce and sides of chips. Café Max remains defiantly popular too, despite being up and down in terms of quality. Federation Coffee is one of the trendier spots to sip a bean juice, and you'll see plenty of it stuck in moustaches.

MEAT. Photo: Cannon and Cannon/Twitter.

Cannon and Cannon is the place to stock up on cured meats for a picnic, or if you want a more global selection, try World of Wurst inside POP Brixton. Wild Caper sells gorgeous bread and other Eastern Mediterranean bits and pieces to take away. It's not cheap, though.

On hot days, head to Lab G for inventive gelato flavours and even ice cream sandwiches made with brioche.

Finally, Brixton Night Market is back for the summer on the first weekend of every month, with a variety of food and drink stalls.

Dinner

Long-standing resident Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant Asmara may not be the best of its kind but it is as popular as ever with its giant bubbly injera and traditional stews. Just be prepared for the slow service.

If it's Thai you're after then the best option by far is KaoSarn, with its sometimes very authentic spicing that will prompt you to reach for another (BYO) cold beer. For something lighter on the chilli, try Yum-D.

Ethiopian dishes on injera at Asmara. Photo: secretlondon123 on Flickr.

In the same market is Elephant, a no-frills Pakistani cafe serving thalis at low prices, or for something a little more old-school curry house, it's Khan's all the way. The really good stuff is to be found at Kricket however — a South Indian restaurant serving elegant takes on traditional dishes.

For tapas the best options are Boqueria, a sit-down and linger experience on Acre Lane, or Brindisa, under the arches on Atlantic Road. It's limited in menu compared to their other branches, but great for sherry and nibbles.

There's a Portugese community in Brixton, so head to Brixton Village Grill where they serve salt grilled sardines, bits of meat licked with fire and spiked with chilli, and mountains of chips. See also: Lisboa Grill. For hot meat of a different kind, try the 'cue at Miss P's BBQ.

Brunch heaven is the kichri at Kricket. Photo: Lizzie Mabbott.

Khamsa is a thoroughly charming little family run café serving Algerian dishes. The food is rustic and the homely atmosphere is 100% genuine. We suggest sticking to the mezze.

Salon (see breakfast and brunch) also deserves another mention here, as it's one of the loveliest spots in Brixton with a gorgeous seasonal menu using impeccably sourced ingredients.

Finally, Nanban has been one of the most exciting recent openings — try Masterchef winner Tim Anderson's playful Japanese comfort food menu for lunch or dinner (see our full review here).

Pubs and bars

The Crown and Anchor on Brixton Road excels in its craft beer selection, as does The Trinity Arms. It also has the added bonus of a strong single malt whisky selection.

The Prince Regent is particularly popular on Sundays, and has an extra area upstairs for children and if it's a sports screen you want, look no further than The White Horse on Brixton Hill.     

The Crown and Anchor. Photo: Ewan Munro on Flickr.

The Effra Hall Tavern is loved by locals still with its four-pint pitchers of Red Stripe beer and mixed old and new school atmosphere, while The Effra Social, previously the local Conservative club, is now a pub with loud wallpaper, scotch eggs, a piano, and lots of nooks and crannies to bed into with a pint.

Market Row Wines is small but perfectly formed with an excellent selection of vintages to buy and take away. There are also a few seats outside in the market, which makes a great spot to sip and people watch. We also love New Zealand Wine Cellar inside POP Brixton, which sells exclusively (no surprises here) New Zealand wines (read our full review).

Straight from the vines. Market Row Wines by itsbruce on Flickr.

Naughty Piglets is a fantastic wine bar with such good food it could easily fit into the 'lunch' or 'dinner' section. It's the kind of place you start off at for a quick drink and snack and leave four hours later, drunk.

We can't leave without giving you a quick heads up on the smoky mescal margaritas at Casa Morita, but for more on pubs in Brixton, see our database of the best boozers in London.

Last Updated 21 October 2016

bloomers

Elephant serves up Pakistani food :)

Tom Bolton

Lisboa Grill became Luanda Grill a couple of years ago. I've not been, but hear it's changed quite a lot.

Tom Bolton

Seven, on Market Row, does decent drinks and tapas too.

Nigel Floyd

The unforgivable omission of Donostia Social Club (Pop Village) from the 'best for tapas' entry can only mean that Helen Graves @FoodStories has not been there. Their Basque-inspired small plates are far superior to those of the listed venues.