Roe: Serving Ceviche With A Boozy Twist In Brixton
It's not like Brixton was short of small, lovely restaurants — but then, it's not short of punters vying for space in them. Roe's barely been open a fortnight when we visit, but it's still nearly full on a wet weekday evening.
It might be the lure of chef Simon Whiteside's reputation — his first London restaurant, Hook in Camden, turns out seafood that dazzles and comforts at the same time: jerk-battered fish and seaweed-salted chips; crispy seabass and pancakes, fierce with sambal paste.
And the menu at Roe bids fair to do the same. This one comes with more of an Irish slant: Guinness and ink soda bread with seaweed butter, oyster and sorrel emulsions, ceviche drizzled with Bán Poitín.
It's that last one that really blows our minds, small and unassuming but punchy with citrus, chilli and booze. The fish, tender and meaty, sings through all of it; there's the stroke-of-genius option of adding poitín chasers to your order to wash it down with.
Main courses are nicely done, though less startlingly lovely (and alcoholic) than our starter. Spiced cod with roasted squash and fermented lentils is grown-up comfort food, a hit of warming, autumn flavours. A whole bream comes piled with salsa verde and with a bowl of potato salad — a mayo-less masterpiece of warm, crunchy potato chunks, brightened with onions, tomato, leaves and a little chilli heat.
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Depending on what you order, it's decent value or it's great value. The wine list's short, on-point and around the £20-£25 mark for a bottle. That bream dish (£20) plus a small plate (the ceviche, obviously the ceviche...) would cover two people easily; the other mains come in at average gastropub prices for far-nicer-than-average food.
But on a repeat visit we'd be tempted to resist the larger plates and just order all of the starters — to see if that poitín-ceviche magic extends across the lot.
Roe, Pop Brixton, 89 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ.
Last Updated 30 November 2018