This Brixton newcomer has opened in one of the most foodie enclaves in SW2, just a few doors up from Naughty Piglet. It aims to bring a slice of Tuscany to south London and, more specifically, the food and drink of Maremma in the south of the region, which combines rolling hills and forests with sandy beaches and sparkling blue waters. Maremma is famous for the produce of both land and sea – to say nothing of the vineyards growing the grapes for the famed Super Tuscan wines.
Fish is a forte. A starter of grilled sardines smothered in a fiery chilli salsa and served with a refreshing fennel salad, followed by mains of whole branzino (sea bass), stuffed with fragrant herbs and garlic and accompanied by peperonata and a to-die-for lemony aioli, both impressed.
Elsewhere from the short menu of antipasti, primi and secondi, chef pals Alice Staple and Dickie Bielenberg rustle up dishes that were all hoovered up. Pappardelle with wild boar ragu came perfectly al-dente and with a well-seasoned sauce coating the fall-apart meat. Battuta (hand-chopped raw beef) was elevated by a finger-lickingly tasty mustard aioli, shavings of Parmesan and a sprinkle of watercress, while a side dish of crispy rosemary potatoes were golden and crunchy.
The equally short wine list skips over the big-name (and big-money) Super Tuscans for lesser-known small producers from Maremma and you can admire the bottles in a wine cellar that doubles as a private dining room. With everything available by the glass and most of the bottles under £40, it’s well worth investigating.
The offering at Maremma isn’t ground-breaking, but it doesn’t have to be when it’s delivered with such flavour, precision and warmth. If you’re determined to try something new, though, the pear and Parmesan gelato – a cheeseboard in ice-cream form that encapsulates the perfect balance of savoury and sweet – should satisfy your taste for novelty.
Italian staff add to the authenticity (as too faultless Negronis), while the intimate green-and-gold dining room, with its handful of wooden tables, counter dining and open kitchen sending forth aromas of herbs and charcoal, feels pleasingly rustic. Maremma is a real charmer – and a very welcome addition to this restaurant-hungry corner of Brixton.