• 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
House of Vans
Taking over what used to be the Old Vic Tunnels, the House of Vans has turned the space below Waterloo station into a hot new destination for skateboarders, and promises a variety of diversions that will also appeal to those with no particular ambition to execute a credible 360 flip. The underground venue is sister to House of Vans Brooklyn where tickets for the free, all-ages summer concerts go like hot baked goods. The London branch also boasts a live music stage, as well as two tunnels’ worth of purpose-built skate park and an art gallery that will open with ‘Scissors & Glue’, an exhibition documenting the brief history of zines (till September 20). There’s a café, bars and cinema space and a regular programme of talks and workshops is planned. Skate sessions are free and open to all ages (there are lessons with The Skateboad School on Saturday mornings) but to be sure of entry book in advance on the House of Vans website where you’ll also find updates on upcoming gigs.