£30 - £49
447 Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8LP
‘Where Brixton meets Bali’ is the slogan of this informal pan-Asian restaurant and bar behind Brixton Market. The traffic grinding down Coldharbour Lane might not conjure up images of tropical paradise, but the funky interior and laid-back vibe here certainly provide a hint of Bali’s nightlife. Expect overly sweet cocktails such as Traffic Lights (vodka, melon liqueur, peach schnapps, Malibu, orange and cranberry juice), coupled with a menu of greatest-hits Asian food. The likes of chicken satay, spring rolls, duck wraps and fishcakes precede a line-up of crowd-pleasing main courses such as pad thai or a salmon teriyaki salad. The standard of cooking is average, but the food is merely a backdrop for the lively atmosphere. A mix of old-school reggae, Latin salsa and funk buoys the mood at weekends.
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£30 - £49
18 Market Row, London, SW9 8LD
Brixton’s Market Row is a real draw for foodies, but this pared-back dining room above what was Cannon & Cannon’s charcuterie shop is surely the pick of the bunch. Chef/owner Nick Balfe has hit his stride with a fiercely seasonal selection of dishes that showcase his considerable talents – as well as a zealous commitment to ‘zero waste’. His fixed-price menus are shot through with inventive touches and bright, perky flavours that showcase native produce. Dishes change regularly but might include creamy smoked squash topped with trompettes and pumpkin seeds for a richly comforting taste of autumn or pink salt marsh lamb with crispy slivers of Jerusalem artichoke and sprouting broccoli slathered in garlicky bagna càuda sauce (a regional Italian dip). But thankfully the addictive nduja croquettes are a permanent feature now. Salon Wine Store next door features an brilliant selection of artisan bottles – starting from as little as £10 – which you can buy to enjoy with your meal or takeaway; though we suggest plumping for the carefully curated wine pairings if you’re a real oenophile. Local craft brews and cocktails are also on offer, while weekend brunch features creative dishes such as poached duck egg with Sriracha chilli hollandaise.
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£30 - £49
Brixton Village Market, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 7EL
"If street food is your thing, this is the place”, says a fan of this popular refuelling point on Brixton Village Market. Kaosarn is praised as “authentic, fast and tasty”, with refreshingly small bills and punchy food without frills or frippery – as you might expect from an outfit that evolved from the first Thai cafés in London. The menu covers all the essentials, but also ventures beyond the satays, green curries and pad thai noodles to offer everything from gai tod (deep-fried garlic and pepper chicken) to larb (a salad of spicy minced pork with ground roasted rice, chilli and lime). Service is pretty basic – it’s worth having a plan to go on somewhere afterwards, because the management is likely to want your seats back the moment you’ve finished. Our advice is bring your own wine and your own company to enjoy Kaosarn at its best.
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£30 - £49
192 Acre Lane, London, SW2 5UL
“Top-notch tapas”; “simply the best”: readers continue to rave about this hugely popular joint on the Clapham/Brixton border. Named after Barcelona’s most famous food market, it provides a snapshot of that city’s classic tapas – from patatas bravas and pulpo a la gallega (octopus with paprika) to top-quality hams, artisan cheeses, properly made paella and black rice. Also look out for on-trend ideas including sea bass on wheat risotto with scallop cream or suckling pig with sweet-potato crisps, apple sauce and lemon sorbet. What sets Boqueria apart is the accuracy of the cooking, pinpoint presentation and the can-do attitude of the “really attentive” staff. Although it’s cramped and tables are packed close together, there’s also something infectious about the garrulous, noisy vibe – and it’s “really cosy” in winter. The all-Spanish wine list is bolstered by plenty of sherry and cava at affordable prices.
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Unit 12, Brixton Village, SW9 8PR
Driven along by two energetic young owners, no-frills, independently minded Honest Burgers has gone down a storm wherever it chooses to pitch its admirable cut-price offer. Fans rate it as one of the best burger joints in town, with a growing reputation for its custom-built patties – ‘meaty hunks of wonder’ made from 35-day aged beef (from The Ginger Pig), timed to perfection and served on a glazed brioche bun with triple-cooked, skin-on chips and rosemary salt. Free-range chicken burgers and mixed veggie ‘fritters’ are also available, and the fact that prices are well below a tenner is a bonus. No bookings, but the queues move quickly and it's worth knowing that Honest Burgers is licensed – if you fancy a bottle of Redchurch Shoreditch Blonde beer, a jar of Hendrick's G&T with cucumber or a carafe of Plumpton Estate Sussex rosé.
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