Tag Archives: Brixton market

Kaosarn, Brixton Village, Granville Arcade

Oh Khao San Road, Bangkok. How many times have I wandered down your bonkers strip, waiting for a bus to take me to Laos or Chaing Mai or the beaches in the South. How many times have I peered in the window of a tattoo parlour, panicked and walked away. How many times have I sniggered at the white kids getting corn rows or dreadlocks on your pavements, coo-ed at the stray puppies, admired ladyboys (but not their consorts), wandered round the surrounding alleyways with their Thai boxing dens and street food stalls where I ate phad thai and drank Singha or Beer Chang. Oh the fake Diesel jeans and the silver jewelry and the fisherman’s pants and the slogan t-shirts. How many times did I sleep in the Ghekko Guesthouse for a couple of dollars a night, lying under the broken fan to cool down. How exciting it was to find that secret rooftop pool to get away from the heat and humidity. But how sad I was to go back a couple of years ago and discover that you are now inhabited by drunken 16 year olds from Derby with a penchant for starting fights and peeing publicly. Ho hum.

I have no idea if Kaosan in Brixton is named after the Bangkok street so excuse me for the nostalgia-fest, but ANYWAY, Brixton has always lacked a brilliant dinner venue. Sure there are plenty of decent places – Hive Bar, Upstairs, The Ritzy, Satay Bar, Fujiyama – but nothing to get excited about. And of course for lunch options you’re sorted – Franca Manca, Rosie’s Deli, Wild Caper, Brixton Cornercopia – but the market shuts in the evening. You can always shimmy along Herne Hill way to the Lido Cafe, The Florence and The Prince Regent, but sometimes you just don’t want the walk.

So when Jay Rayner gave a glowing review of the family-run Thai restaurant Kaosan in Brixton, The Chef and I and it seems a huge number of other Brixtonites got terribly excited. And it is utterly brilliant. We went there on Tuesday night and had the most amazing meal. You can sit outside or inside and its BYO so we sat under the stars drinking bottles of Sol and eating deliciously spicy food – the atmosphere is brilliant and it had that holiday feeling which is soooo invaluable when you’re living in London.

The food was consistently excellent too. Tender and juicy pork skewers, delicately battered goong tod (king prawns), crispy gaew tod (prawn and pork filo parcels). And then the mains of gai yang, kow neaw, somtum (chicken in a gorgeous marinade with a spicy peanut salad and sticky rice) and the most delicious deep lamb massaman curry. And all this for £15 each.

We both agreed it was the best Thai meal we’d ever had in London and that (shock!) it was probably even better than most of the meals we’d ever had in Thailand. I’m dying to go back and try the pork ribs and the green and red curries and to bring friends and lots of wine and try pretty much everything else.

We met the owner Noy (Noi?) afterwards who was lovely – he runs it with his wife, neice and daughter, a proper family business, and he really cares about the atmosphere and ingredients and his regulars. He did start talking about the “concept” but I chose to ignore that part. He said if you brought a party along he’d make special bespoke meals for you, and he was an incredibly lovely and happy man.

I am so so thrilled to find a fantastic resto in Brixton so thanks to JR for finding it! Icing on the cake was seeing the big man himself on the way there…

Kaosarn on Urbanspoon

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Some photos of Brixton Market

Here are some photos I’ve taken at Brixton market over the last two weekends, checking out the new pop-up shops and restaurants.  First of all, yes these photos still aren’t very good.  I needed to take them at a long shutter speed to get the light, but forgot to bring my tripod.  Also, still feel like a bit of a twat taking photos in public so I tend not to take enough time over them.  Anyway, these should give you at least a taste of the newly “popped-up” Brixton market.  Oh and the burger I had afterwards (at SW9, good burger – and they had some other interesting-sounding burgers like kangaroo and carrot, wild boar and ostrich – but not going to review due to sight welcoming me in the toilets – put me off my food almost as much as the one-eared cat in Antalya).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/46648549@N02/sets/72157623227359088/

Brixton Market – new pop-up shops, galleries and delis

Thanks to Dougald at Space Makers Agency who commented on my post on the Brixton Rennaissance, I’ve been alerted to the fact that there are several new pop-up shops, galleries and delis at Brixton market (shame on me for not going down for a while).

The Space Makers Agency liaised with the council, local artists and entrepreneurs, and the local community, to fill the 20 free shops in the market and the first wave of pop-ups looks really interesting with vintage fashion shops, textile shops, delis selling local produce, a design studio, sweet shop, a temporary art gallery, a photography project where you can have your portrait taken, and community shop run by Transition Town Brixton providing information and equipment on climate change and energy-saving. 

See, I told you Brixton is the place to be! More pop ups are planned and there’s also a big food event on Saturday 16 January so pop down if you can!

UPDATE: This Saturday (9 January) there is a special event in Brixton market – the School of Thought is doing a one-off pop-up shop (Unit 40) – the programme is still fluid but there will be various talks throughout the day.  Check out the Facebook page for more info.

UPDATE: This Saturday (16 January) there is a food event at Brixton Market – with free tastings, pop-up shops and restaurants.  Check out the Facebook page for more info.

The Brixton rennaissance

I don’t know what’s happening or why, but there is a real sense living in Brixton that something is happening and that it’s good.  For years people have been saying that Brixton’s “up and coming” but finally it feels like things are moving.  There’s an excitement in the air – recently we’ve seen the arrival of Brixton farmer’s market on Brixton station road;  a new smaller market outside the KFC selling hemp porridge, venison sausages, olives and lamb burgers; and the Brixton market itself is alive with the now famous Franco Manca, Wild Caper and Rosie’s deli, as well as the usual jerk chicken shops, music stalls, and fish and meat outlets.  There’s new bars like The Rest Is Noise, the Prince and Dex Club and the refurbished Plan B. Everyone seems to be walking round with a smile, slightly smug, as if to say “yes, I live here” .  They’s building a new Brixton Square  to be the focal point of this new “village”, and even the tiny park on my street is being done up, in a Grand Designs type community design.  Lottery money has flooded into the gorgeous Brockwell Park (which has a view of the City that can rival, sort of, Hampstead Heath) which now has a real community feel with lots of local events.

With Victorian terraced houses at far lower prices than neighbouring Clapham, estate agents say that for the first time young professionals are choosing to move from Clapham to Brixton, rather than the other way round.  Of course, this leads to a concern about pushing up house prices, and forcing the communities who make Brixton the place it is into other areas, but at the moment its a great mix of people – if you walk round the market you see old and young, every nationality you can think of, all enjoying what Brixton has to offer.

According to my North London friend Amy, Brixton is the only place in South London that has the same vibe as north of the river.  High praise indeed.

UPDATE:  The now defunct Woolworths on Brixton high street is going to be transformed into an H&M!  Now there really is very little reason to leave our little village of a weekend…

Rosie’s Deli, 14e Market Row, Brixton Market: http://www.rosielovell.co.uk/deli.html

rosie-observer-thumbRosie is turning into a bit of a celebrity chef.  Not only does she have her book out “Spooning with Rosie” (good christmas present for non-Londoners as you can say its from your local deli), but I understand that she may have a new TV series lined up with her as the female Jamie Oliver cockney chef… Anyway there’s been so much publicity about Rosie’s deli that my boyfriend and I went to her cafe for lunch a couple of weeks ago.  Its within the fantastic Brixton market, just by the Coldharbour Lane entrance, which is a great experience in itself – what with Franco Manca the pizza place, music shops, Secondo vintage clothing, and tons of fruit and veg, meat and fish stores. 

Anyway the first thing I noticed is that the famous Rosie’s deli is TINY – there’s about 5 tables inside and about 4 outside, so if you manage to get a table then you’re lucky.  I wonder with her new found fame whether she’ll move to new premises – although this may lose the charm of the place.  A pop up restaurant is planned for Christmas.

Inside, you can buy organic olives, cheese and meat, as well as olive oils, sauces, jams, organic fruit juice, etc.  It all looks lovely and quaint and tasty but at £3 for a bottle of apple juice, it ain’t cheap.  We sat outside and had a lovely coffee (I loved how it was served in china cups with saucers, how cute) and a ciabatta.  The food is really good but again its not cheap.  I’m yet to try the soups, quiche and other meals offered.

Definitely pop in for a coffee and cake (if you can find a seat!) and if you have the chance, speak to Rosie herself, who seems to always be behind the counter.

Rosie's Deli Cafe on Urbanspoon

Secondo, 642 Voltaire Road and Coldharbour Lane

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Secondo is in a few places – its in the centre of Brixton market (between Rosie’s deli and Franca Manca), in Coldharbour Lane and I’ve just discovered the newest one, opened a month ago next to Clapham High Street station on Voltaire Road (opposite Tsunami restaurant).  Secondo is a pretty cool place.  The Clapham version has a cafe, selling nice coffees, quiches and cake, a vintage clothes and shoes shop where I spotted a vintage pair of Miu Miu shoes for £30 and some pretty cool fake fur jackets and retro woolen jumpers. 

The Clapham version is bigger than in Brixton and the venue under the arches of the railway station really suit it.  I liked especially the “caravans” at the back of the shop where the toilets are and the fact that you can grab a coffee and just wander around.  It is certainly the coolest place in Clapham and the people sittiing in the cafe were certainly pretty funky.  I understand from my yoga class that they do DJ nights and serve booze so worth checking out what’s on.

On 28th November 2009, they are having their opening party in Clapham – the grand vintage ball – should be worth a visit!

UPDATE:  Had a very enjoyable coffee and shop at the Brixton version on Coldharbour Lane this weekend (the shop in the market appears to have closed down).  There were no tables at Rosie’s as usual so went to Secondo and had a lovely cappucino while listening to French radio.  Then had a wander round but not really long enough – loved the tweed hats and floral dresses, definitely worth popping in!