Tag Archives: Philippe Castaing

The perfect Saturday morning and coffee at Opus, 89 Acre Lane, SW2 5TN

The perfect Saturday morning includes all of the following: a lie-in, bacon and eggs, the Guardian weekend, and aimless faffing.  Then before heading off for the day, a nice relaxing coffee.

Which is where Opus comes in. It’s a  self-proclaimed “friendly neighbourhood coffee shop” run by Philippe Castaing who also owns the gorgeous restaurant upstairs, called…Upstairs. It has the Saturday papers and French Vogue (oooh get you) and is filled with a relaxed crowd.  Perfect to go along for a chilled out coffee and cake, and they make delicious paninis.  It’s also a good place to pick up flyers about local events –  I picked up a flyer for the Urban Art fair on Josephine Avenue next weekend. Philippe is at the forefront of the Brixton regeneration and it makes me feel like I’m at the heart of what’s going on when I’m there.

What’s the one thing missing from my perfect Saturday?  El G.  But you can’t have everything 🙂

Opus on Urbanspoon

Upstairs restaurant, 89 Acre Lane, SW2 5TN

1197293398501A wonderfully simple, intimate dining experience.  Upstairs is in a Victorian house that has been split into downstairs coffee shop (Opus), 1st floor bar, and upstairs restaurant with about 8 tables and a fantastic small menu where everything is good and the wine is even better.  You normally start with drinks at the tiny bar on the 1st floor, which could be someone’s living room.  You are then escorted to dinner on the top floor. 

Although there are reports that the menu is lacking of late, and I was a bit disappointed to see leek and potato soup as one of three starter choices which I thought was a bit safe, the food is generally wonderful – French, tasty, delicate.  I had one of the best starters I’ve ever had there – rabbit ravioli – which was intricately made and packed with flavour. The menu offers only 3 choices of starters, main and dessert, but I like this – shows confidence and you know anything you order will be superb. Is up there with Chez Bruce standard cooking in SW London.  Wine list, as a French run place, is superb and the cheese plate is fantastic too. Run by the inspirational Philippe Castaing, who has an inspirational vision for Brixton and is making it his business to transform Acre Lane.  Small, quirky and romantic.

UPDATE 12 August 2010: Sadly I’ve been back twice since I wrote this post and I’ve been disappointed both times. Philippe and the other staff there weren’t particularly friendly and the food, although good, was a little unambitious and unimaginative.  It was also incredibly expensive for what you got too (around £70 each for a 2 hour meal). I sadly won’t be back again until I hear better stories and as promised I haven’t written up my bad review because I only want to dwell on the positive. Come on Upstairs sort your shizzle out! I still love Opus though – see my review here.

Upstairs Bar on Urbanspoon