• Brixton Village Market has become the destination for budget eating in south London. • Take Time Out’s video tour of the covered market’s restaurants and cafés. • Get the details and unbiased reviews of the best places, from KaoSarn to Honest Burgers.
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.
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.
This small Japanese café specialises in Osaka-style okonomiyaki, an iconic savoury pancake dish. Here, it's done brilliantly and served alongside a tiny but concise list of small appetisers and organic Japanese teas.
Relay Tea Room
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.
Rosie French and Ellie Grace, the duo behind the Salad Club supperclub, have just set up a permanent café serving simple Mediterranean-styled food: wraps, salads and stews.
Brixton area guide
Where once shone the Amber bar, you’ll now find the strikingly Latino Barrio Central. The main street-level bar comprises a narrow room lined with glass-topped tables, effectively display cases for comics, games and knick-knacks that exude playful character. A park bench and greenery at the back also offer decorative variety. The drinks menu, ‘in Spanglish’, is categorised by region or country: a Brazilian Lady (Abelha cachaça and passionfruit) complements manly Quilmes beer from Buenos Aires; a Mayan Magic (dark chocolate, chilli, agave and Cazadores tequila) represents Central America; a Hispaniola Spell (Brugal rum, shochu, jasmine, mint and ginger), the Caribbean; and so on. Bloody big Barrio burgers, sandwiches and burritos are filled with slow-roasted pulled pork and other grilled meats.