The best restaurants in Brixton
When Honest first opened in Brixton, there were queues round the block. Now the burger boys have branched out all over London, demand in south London has lessened and you probably won't need to be so strategic about getting a burger fix at all. They still sell reliable patties with those addictive rosemary fries on the side - safe pre-gig grazing.
There’s no shortage of well-priced eateries in Brixton Village Market, but KaoSarn is one of the biggest crowd-pullers. The place is regularly packed inside and out with a mix of stalwart Brixtonites of all ages, and young hipsters soaking up the Market’s vibe – and it deserves to be busy. The food is not only cheap, but bursting with authentic Thai flavours. As at many of the surrounding dining venues, the decor is basic, with mismatched furniture and much of the seating ‘outside’, spanning both sides of a corner site at the edge of the market.
Khamsa is a homely neighbourhood joint run by a couple who quit their jobs to pursue their goal of making Algerian cuisine better known. It’s an exceptionally pretty spot with intricate handmade crockery, colourful pillows and curtains, timber-panelled walls and blackboard menus. There's a marvellous meze selection and surprisingly interesting salads to choose from, while tagines and lamb dishes star as mains. You can bring your own booze (no corkage), or there’s a range of fruit juices.
Koi might be the word for carp in Japanese, but as any sushi master will know there’s more than one way to fillet a fish, so here it means something completely different. The owners of this street stall in Brixton are convinced the UK is about to fall head over heels for the Japanese version of noodles in soup, so they named their stall ‘in love’. But that’s enough carping on about names, let's talk noodles.
Kricket (within Pop Brixton) is a pint-sized set-up serving British-Indian small plates – stylish and seasonal spins on street food from the hand of Will Bowlby, a former chef at big-hitting modern Indian The Cinnamon Club in Westminster. Pakoras, fried chicken and even sausage rolls are given a fashionable makeover. Service is spot-on, and splendid spice-infused cocktails deliver more kick than masala chai could ever do.
This no-bookings, cash-only Chinese café is an offshoot, a second branch of the original in Brixton Village Market. It’s typical of a new wave of restaurant entrepreneurs who have moved from running a supper club to setting up premises with little experience or capital, spread the word by social media, and built up a loyal following. The experience gained at the first branch has paid off.
US-born Masterchef winner Tim Anderson brings his fusion food to a keen London crowd. Sure, it’s not the cosiest spot, with its bright lighting and hard backless stools. But the staff are lovely and this place is all about the cooking – think comfort food with Asian flavours. Like the chicken karaage: with its crunchy chilli-and-salt flour coating. Opt for anything from pig tripe to a mentaiko pasta that's like a creamy cod roe version of a carbonara. Or the fiery curry goat tsukemen, a mind-blowing two-bowl approach to ramen.
The Lyon-born proprietor Margaux Aubry of Naughty Piglets in Brixton teams natural wines with steamed mussels or clams. The brief blackboard menu is prepared in the basement kitchen by Aubry’s husband, Joe Sharratt. Beside plump steamed mussels in bonito butter are other classic small plates such as fatty duck rillettes, or a simple salad of black tomatoes topped with shavings of salted ricotta. Desserts are great too: scoops of chocolate mousse are served with crisp almond tuiles, dulce de leche and a crumble infused with white chocolate.
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.
Seven’s Facebook page describes it as a ‘new food, drink and art concept’: don’t worry, though, it’s really just a vaguely Spanish-style bar in one of Brixton’s covered markets, and a rather nice one too. It joins the likes of Franco Manca and Rosie’s in Market Row as one of the new independent ventures that have set up among the Caribbean veg shops and hair salons in the area.
Find more amazing restaurants in London
In what is surely the ultimate guide to the best restaurants in London, you’ll find it all: zeitgeist-defining celebrity haunts, the best new restaurants in London, Michelin star restaurants with starched linen napkins and restaurants serving down-to-earth cheap eats. What they all have in common is that they serve some of the best dishes in London at fair prices, with service befitting the setting. In short, if you’re looking for a great meal, you’ve come to the right place.
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