Having lived in Brixton for nearly four years, I can truly say that this Jamaica-influenced south London neighbourhood has stolen my heart. For anyone who knows me, one sure fire way to my heart is through my stomach, and Brixton is filled with countless boutique-style restaurants that can satisfy any craving. From Colombian to Jamaican to Chinese to French…Brixton has got it all.
Senzala Creperie Bar in Brixton Village Market serves up delicious crepes-on-steroids. As in, they are huge! For anyone who’s recently gone to France, don’t expect a dainty, thinly filled crepe when you come here. You’re gonna get your moneys worth. They’ve somehow managed to fit an entire English Breakfast inside one of their crepe options, and even left room for a delicious salad with honey mustard dressing on the side. My go-to order was the Dujhan (one of their vegan options), a savoury crepe filled with asparagus, caramelised onions, garlic mushrooms, spinach and sundried tomatoes…but as someone who loves her melted cheese…I would add Emmental as a supplement. Truly delicious! Come here for sweet or savoury crepes, galettes, salads, and coffee.
Federation Coffee in Brixton Village Market is there for the early risers. Opening at 6:30am, it’s the place for coffee aficionados who have an opinion about their grinds. Come hungry and order their cheese croissant toastie!
San Marino is your classic Ma and Pa style cafe – italian style. Located on the corner of Brixton road and Brixton Station Road, it’s a great place to stop for coffee (Soy Lattes were my “the usual”) and a marble cake (theirs is extremely moist and baked fresh daily) before hitting up the farmers market on Sundays. If you’re there for lunch, order one of their amazing paninis that never skimp on the mozza! My favourite was always the simple tomato/mozzarella panini. Delizioso!
The Lido Cafe is admittedly more in Herne Hill territory, but is close enough to put on the list for anyone staying in Brixton. You’ll definitely need to book in advance if you’re planning to come on a weekend as this is one of the top spots for brunch, especially on a sunny summer’s day. Note: ask for a table on the poolside terrace! You’ll have a view of everyone splashing around in the Lido pool as you enjoy Hass Avocado on Toast with Home-Pickled Chili (Highly recommended!) or Home-Made Goji Berry and Quinoa Gronola.
As someone who worked from home, I always thought there was a hole in the market for a light lunch takeaway spot – unlike Soho for example where smoothie and salad bars can be found on every corner. If you want something quick and easy, your best choice would be taking a look at the food stands on Brixton Station Road, where you can find burgers, bunny chow, Japanese street food and Mexican beef tacos – depending on the day – or browsing through the various options in Pop Brixton. There’s also another little food-stand world tucked away on Railton Road, near Argos, which has loads of options from tacos to crepes to smoothies. This is also a great spot to come for happy hour drinks!
You can also, of course, wander through Brixton Village and Brixton Village Market and eat anywhere that makes your stomach tingle. Some recommendations are Chicken, Wings and Tings (order the Fish Balls and Goat Wrap) or Mama Lan for some truly authentic Beijing-style dumplings and Spicy Beef Noodle Soup. Feeling Japanese? Head over to Okan and try some street food from Osaka (the Okonomiyaki with beef and noodles is incredible!).
If you’ve been wandering around for a few hours and starting to get a bit hangry, but not really in the mood to sit down and eat, I have two solutions for you! Something savoury? Follow the smell of Colombian-style cheese arepas cooking on the grill in front of Las Americas at 26 Pope’s Road, and buy one, maybe two! Say “Si por favor” when they ask if you want butter and locate one of the salsa trays on the counter (for spicy lovers only!) for an extra kick. For me, the salsa is what makes this snack a perfect ten. Something sweet? Go to Sponge and Cream inside Brixton Village Market and share a slice of Banana Chocolate Cake with a coffee.
There are so many great options for dinner in Brixton but I’m going to narrow down the giant list in my head to three. Number One: Salon in Brixton Market offers seasonal, local and creative dishes in an intimate setting. Surprise your palette with the four delicious courses on the Set Menu for £33/per person, and splurge an extra £25 to get the accompanying wines that will beautifully enhance your every bite.
Number Two: Located up Acre Lane, Boqueria is a modern tapas restaurant with incredible Spanish dishes. They’ve somehow managed to elevate the Pan Con Tomato which is the perfect balance of buttery and fresh. Besides your classic Jamon Iberico, croquetas, and cod fritters, the suckling pig with sweet potato crisps, apple sauce & lemon sorbet was a huge hit. Great for a big party or catching up with friends over a few hours of eating and drinking.
Last but not least, I would add our old haunt The Shrub and Shutter to the list as Number Three. They’re an innovative cocktail bar located just a hop skip and a jump away from our old flat on Coldharbour Lane, and quickly became a favourite before-dinner, after-dinner, or dinner spot. They’re constantly changing up both their drinks and food menu with creative new potions and food combinations. Expect lots of “ooo-ing” and “aaah-ing” as they bring out your cocktail with all sorts of fun gizmos that you’ll be talking about for days. But don’t come here if you’re in a rush. Since becoming so popular, I’m sorry to say their service has suffered a bit, but still worth a visit.