Brixton Village, once a haven of cheap eats, has become boujie as of late. The Champagne and fromage bars of Covent Garden seem to have seeped in like knotweed. So, when a new shopfront appears in the market, you might assume it’ll be Aperol spritzes for a tenner all over again. But no, Three Uncles is quite the opposite.
Tucked next to a fish stall, the restaurant is about as pared back as it gets. Diners sit on tiny wooden stools at equally tiny tables, perusing the proportionally-sized menu. Staff are friendly enough, but interactions are kept pretty transactional. And rightly so, people are here to eat, and there are quite a few of them. You might even see queues at lunchtime, a sight not seen since Shrove Tuesday at Senzala Creperie.
We started, as all good evenings do, with wontons. These plump porky pillows arrived resting in a puddle of borderline-drinkable chilli oil, eliciting a Kung Fu Panda-style chopstick duel. Their deep-fried counterparts were just as good, crisp to a tee without a drop of fryer oil in sight. Some slightly rubbery fishballs, swimming in curry sauce, were a momentary blip, quickly forgotten as the mains arrived.
A more than generous £12 helping of steaming noodles, bathed in a hearty but subtle broth, came topped with sliced duck and char siu pork. The meat was tender, with a touch of spice cutting through. The drinks selection is a la display fridge (so beer or soft drinks). Hainan chicken on jasmine rice was even more generous and affordable at £10.50, with fresh ginger contrasting the umami of the succulent chicken. Sliced cucumber and chilli sauce might not be the most glamorous addition, but they worked perfectly to add a zing of freshness.
Sometimes a lavish setting can cloud one’s judgement. But it’s safe to say, given the backless kiddie stools and fishmonger neighbours, it was the food at Three Uncles that stole our hearts.