Once a rundown arcade, Brixton Village Market is now home to more than 20 new cafés, restaurants and takeaways and has become Brixton's culinary and cultural hub. On Thursday and Friday nights the market is open late and to the delight of customers there is live music and a wide selection of international cuisine on offer, as well as a warm, community atmosphere.
A very concise menu is served at this tiny Pakistani café, which is run by Imran Bashir: own-made samosas, curries, three types of thali (minced lamb, chicken or vegetable). The dishes are home-style, and the thalis served on a segmented stainless steel plate, in the Subcontinental way. The dahl is rich and thick, the keema (mince) delicately spiced and with just the right amount of ghee, the raita creamy. The masala chai is exemplary, and the prices for all dishes very low.
SW9 may now have a Starbucks, but this little coffee shop, hidden away in Brixton Village Market, continues to serve those who want to support local businesses instead. And it’s easy to see which is the more intriguing – it’s a funky, if small, space that serves Nude Espresso coffee and a range of pastries, cakes and brownies.
Salad Club hostesses Rosie French and Ellie Grace have taken their monthly supper club to the next level by giving it a permanent home in Brixton Village Market. French & Grace serves a small selection of Mediterranean dishes, notably salads and wraps. The tiny eatery has space for only three tables inside; a handful more are placed outside, in the covered arcade.
This family-run Thai restaurant is the most conspicious as you enter from Coldharbour Lane, as it has alfresco tables on the market’s forecourt. Mr Pee Noi and his team cook up terrific spicy Thai dishes, despite the handicap of no gas in the kitchen (it’s all done on electric cookers). Maitre d’ Giselle handles front of house. Booking essential.
This family-run café specialises in Beijing street food, from pan-fried dumplings to deep-fried vegetable dough balls. The menu is short, featuring cold dishes such as salads of seaweed with sesame, or wood ear fungus with boiled peanuts and celery.
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.
This tea specialist also does light lunches of open sandwiches, soups and stews, but the main draws are clearly the tea blends and freshly-baked scones and cakes. The loose-leaf chai lattes are particularly brilliant, and are blended in-house.
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