London's going gaga for Three Uncle's Cantonese roast meat platters—and now it's landed south of the river, with its first proper eatery.
What's the deal?
A staple of Hong Kong's dining scene, 'siu mei' is meat (think duck, pork, goose), roasted over an open fire and varnished with various sauces. The process creates rich, sweet tender morsels of meat — and this is what Three Uncles is all about. Can you get siu mei in Chinatown? Yes, but Three Uncles wants to get it out into London's various nooks and crannies — plus they do it devastatingly deliciously. Who are these 'three uncles' when they're at home? That'd be the co-founders, nicknamed Uncle Sidney, Uncle Mo and Uncle Lim. Two takeaway kiosks, in Liverpool Street and Camden, proved a hit for them — now they've opened up this sit-in eatery in Brixton Village.
What's the vibe?
Effing busy—certainly on the Friday we visited. Three Uncles semi-replicates the no-frills dining experience you might find in Kowloon; a pint-sized eatery with little tables and stools spilling out the front; varnished duck carcasses dangling in the window; blazing neon lights. Service is brisk, not brusque. If you loathe hanging around for someone to take your order or fetch the bill, you'll like it here.
What's on the menu?
Meat, and plenty of it! Plump for roasted duck, pork or chicken (with dunking pots of stuff like thick plum sauce) and sides of steamed jasmine rice and crunchy pak choi. You can also order your meats layered on top of a lo mein noodle broth, if you're in a soupy mood.
The starters (which aren't really starters as everything comes out when ready) aren't exactly half-arsed either. The curry fishballs are trashy and scoffworthy in equal measure (a bit like eating scrunched up seafood sticks in chip shop curry, but in the best possible way). The lamb (yay, another meat!) dumplings are offset with a tongue-tingling chilli vinegar, and you feel you could devour 18 in one go.
Not at all bad. You can get any three meats with rice for £12.50 (although your vitamin C hit of pak choi will set you back another £5.50). The £20 Three Treasure Platter gives you plenty of meat to have chopstick fights with a pal over, though sides are extra. Wines, juices, and cans of Brixton beer are reasonably priced.
Nope — strictly walk-ins. Expect to queue, but know that service is spry, so you might not be waiting all that long. The cocktail bar directly opposite pumping out electro versions of New York, New York will keep you entertained/irked.
Pre-game and post-game?
I mean, this is Brixton! Get some craft beer down you in the back garden at Ghost Whale. Slump in front of a film at The Ritzy. Get your giggle on at Crack Comedy or Brixton Jamm. See what's cooking at Hootananny. I repeat: this is Brixton.
Three Uncles, Brixton Village