Cheap eats abound in Brixton Village Market these days, and Okan delivers on this front. Specialising in the Osaka street-food staple, okonomiyaki, the menu may be small, but it’s perfectly rounded – fried noodles, edamame, a little grilled aubergine and the all-important Osaka-yaki, all included. As the name suggests (okonomi means ‘as you like it’), you can put pretty much anything into your batter mix, but pork, squid or kimchi are popular choices.
A veggie-friendly combination of cheese, sweetcorn and rice cakes (mochi) made for an enjoyably chewy texture and plenty of flavour, though it got harder to pinch bits off with our chopsticks as the stuffed pancake hardened. Yakisoba, with slivers of pork and pickled ginger (benishoga), was perfectly al dente and filling, though less tangy from worcestershire-style sauce than usual.
The thrill of an okonomiyaki restaurant often comes from watching the pancake cook before your eyes, but not here – there aren’t the facilities. Nevertheless, Okan is still a lot of fun. Much of the seating is on ‘outside’ benches, so you’re always in the thick of it in the vibrant market. Grab a beer and watch the world go by.