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This typically rough-around-the-edges Brixton Village resident serves ambitious, creative food of a quality belying its appearance and scale. Founded by Brunswick House’s former head chef Nicholas Balfe, Salon has a ground-floor café leading to a larger dining room above. On our visit we dined from the seven-course set menu, a collection celebrating British ingredients with international support: delicate kale tempura is lifted with a bright Caesar dressing; mussels are scattered with toasted almonds, asparagus and blobs of ’nduja, encircling a thick ajo blanco soup – a triumph of flavour and texture combinations. Balfe’s goal is zero waste, which means leftover coffee froth becomes a fluffy, lemon-infused cheese snack paired with thin crisps, created by baking a thinly spread bread-crust porridge. A short list of Old World wines is supported by local beers and ciders (Herne Hill’s Head in a Hat, for instance, and Brixton Brewery ales). Desserts such as cardamom affogato are worth staying just that little bit longer for. The brunch menu keeps every dish under a tenner, from scrambled eggs with ’nduja on toast, to three-cheese cornbread with shredded ham hock. Personal, chatty service (occasionally from Nick himself) is another reason to add Salon to your must-visit list.
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