The Brixton renaissance has been happening for some years now. No longer run down and only famous for its prison, Brixton has become, among other things, a thriving hub for foodies.
At the heart of that is Brixton Village Market.
Formerly the Granville Arcade, the market has become a go to for not only the best food in South London, but a flavour of things to come. Honest Burgers opened their first London store here and the Observer has called the market “the most exciting, radical venture on the British restaurant scene right now”.
Here's our guide on the best it has to offer.
1 | Mama Lan’s Chinese
What would you do if you were brought up cooking for the street markets of Beijing and wanted to bring the same flavor to London? If you’re Mama Lan founder Ning Ma, you start a supper club in your living room before quickly expanding to Brixton Village and Clapham Common.
Located in Unit 18 of the market, Ning Ma keeps the restaurant a family affair, employing both her mother and father to help craft the best dumplings you’ll taste in the capital, made from recipes that stretch back 40 years and 5,000 miles.
Insider tip: Ning recommends the Spicy Chicken Ban Mein, a chilled noodle salad perfect for hot weather. Wash it down with a Pink Lantern cocktail, a combination of gin, lychee and lime.
Price: You can eat comfortably here for £15 each with most dumpling dishes coming in at £5.00 and all cocktails at £5.00.
2 | Brixton Village Grill
If big lumps of meat and fish are your thing, this British / Portuguese restaurant should be right up your street (or more specifically, unit 43-44 of Brixton Village). On the menu are a range of steaks, tiger prawns, peri-peris chicken wings and flame grilled chicken, all of it cooked the Portuguese way (no, forget Nandos).
Insider tip: Eat all of the meat you can manage, then tackle the Dime Bar Cheese Cake for desert.
Price: Ridiculously good value. A 6oz Sirloin steak is £6.50 while Fish of the Day is £6.
3 | Jalisco
Head here for Mexican food made from ingredients sourced locally in the Lambeth area. A relatively new opening, Jalisco is already famous for it’s enchiladas, quesadillas and burritos. However, their USP is “Taco Man”, who’s on hand to sort you out with a quick £1 taco. While all dishes are delicious, Jalisco is all about the atmosphere. Sit outside and enjoy the sun on the terrace and knock back a few cocktails, including Margarita Jamaica (made with hibiscus and sorrel). Alternatively, head there before work and enjoy the Arepa breakfasts (stuffed corncakes).
Insider tip: Grab yourself a plate of jalapeño nachos and explore the range of Mexican beers on offer, from Pacifico to Modelo and Chili Beer.
Price: For £7.50 you can get a large burrito and a soft drink, or three tacos and a drink. Beers are £3.50 each.
4 | Elephant
Promising “authentic Pakistani street food”, Elephant does its best to combat the Anglicised dishes served up in most British curry houses. The emphasis here is on authenticity and as such Imran Bashir’s menu offers a fresh taste on samosas, thalis and pakoras as well as a selection of fragrant curries (lamb is the obvious choice).
Insider tip: Stock up on drinks at the local off-license. Elephant has no license of its own, but does allow customers to bring a bottle.
Price: Expect to spend around £9 each.
5 | Senzala
If you thought the Parisians had the edge when it came to crepes, you’ve clearly never experienced Senzala in Brixton Village. Offering a selection of over 20 crepes and galettes (a sort of wholemeal pancake), Senzala’s menu can be hard to take in. Stick with it though and you may just discover your new favourite restaurant. While each crepe is bigger than expected and fillings are plentiful to the point of overkill, we recommend sampling both a savoury and sweet crepe as it’ll be too hard to choose otherwise.
Insider tip: Start your day off properly with the Full English Galette.
Price: £4.10 for a basic crepe, or just under £8 for the top range pancakes.
6 | Franco Manca
It takes 20 hours to prepare the sourdough used in Franco Manca before the pizzas are cooked at 500C in a wood burning “tufae” ovens in a system developed by 5th century Greek settlers in Neapolis. What this means is that every single part of the pizza is delicious, so there’s no reason to discard those crusts anymore. With a total of nine restaurants in the capital, it won’t be long before Franco Manca branches out across the country, so head down to Brixton and say you were there first.
Insider tip: Go for the Glouchester Old Spot Ham pizza with mozzarella, buffalo ricotta and wild mushrooms.
Price: All pizzas are under £7 and beers brewed in the Cotswold’s are a very reasonable £3.20
7 | The Joint
A relatively recent addition to Brixton Village, The Joint has been specialising in pulled pork since its opening 16 months ago. The restaurant was started by chef Warren Dean and baker Daniel Fiteni with the aim of creating fast food with a twist. Success has been achieved in menu highlights such as BBQ 16 hour pulled pork burgers, Asian slow-cooked chicken burgers and BBQ baby back ribs. Finish off your meal with a side of hushpuppies – fried cornmeal batter rolls that are set to be your next food addiction.
Insider tip: The Joint has started Bad Boy’s Bakery, a joint venture with Brixton Prison that teaches inmates kitchen skills.
Price: £7 per wrap.
Brixton Village is located on Atlantic Road, London SW9. Opening times are Mon-Weds 10am to 6pm; Thurs-Sat 10am to 10pm; Sun 12pm to 5pm
Have we missed anywhere? Let us know below