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At the top of Brixton’s new-wave pile of restaurants, this pretty den made its name with cocktails –but the ambitious food is equally accomplished. The Shrub & Shutter comes from the same family as Herne Hill’s First Aid Box, and features a small front bar with smarter dining room at the rear and menus scrawled on blackboards. Cocktails are an education in progressive mixology; gunpowder, gummy bears and chicken skin are typical ingredients. Our NWA arrived on a burnt slab of tree trunk under a smoke-filled bell jar, to reveal a satisfying whisky and smoked maple syrup concoction, garnished with burnt pineapple and two morsels of beef. The small kitchen belies its dimensions (and prices) with memorable, lively dishes. Our highlight was spiced duck hearts on toast, paired with tangy mustard sauce: a delicious combination of heat, crunch and creaminess. Wine options are brief but well considered, staff are friendly yet efficient and the set menu represents superb value. A must-visit if you don’t mind the pared-back, casual vibe.
With the high street and central areas of Brixton becoming increasingly off limits to independent businesses because of rent hikes and high business rates, sole traders have to look for premises in ‘secondary’ areas that may initially be less appealing. It’s interesting to speculate what Brixton may look like in five or ten years time; currently the railway arch traders are under threat of eviction due to redevelopment – will they ever come back to their original locations? Will Brixton become yet another ‘clone-town’ full of the chains which dominate our high streets?...
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So let me save you from spending a night in turmoil – look no further than the Shrub & Shutter on Brixton’s Cold Harbour lane. You’ll find her tucked up the back streets of Brixton far from the haunts that you’d usually slip yourself. The Shrub & Shutter appears to be built into the bottom floor of an old townhouse and somebody’s just been plain ingenious with a misused space. I can almost imagine a group of young bartenders and tipple-enthusiasts living upstairs and funding the project on Kickstarter – but this part remains a mystery.Their extensive cocktail menu has been created with local seasonal...
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