A Chef’s Guide To Brixton | SLMan
Manu Canales is head chef at Kebab Queen, the brilliant luxe kebab house hidden beneath Maison Bab in Covent Garden. When he’s off duty, he’s in Brixton because, in his own words, it’s one of London’s cultural wonders. Who better to give us a guided culinary tour? From breakfast spots to late-night drinking dens, here are Manu’s best places to eat and drink in SW9 and its surrounds…

BREAKFAST

Senzala Creperie
Brixton Village has so many hidden gems but when I want a sweet treat for breakfast, Senzala is my go-to. They serve the most irresistible crepes and the atmosphere is great – you feel right at home. The Coco Loco crepe with Belgian chocolate, coconut and rum ice-cream is pure heaven.
 
Visit SenzalaCreperie.co.uk
 
The White Horse
This pub on Brixton Lane does a mean full English. At the weekends they also run really cool DJ sets during the day – fingers crossed the live music returns after lockdown. When it comes to breakfast, I like to try as many things on the menu as possible – the eggs royale are next on my list.
 
Visit WhiteHorseBrixton.co.uk

BRUNCH

Blank Brixton
At Blank, you get good-quality soul food. Everything on the menu is homemade and healthy. I’ve tried so many things, it’s hard to choose a favourite, though I must recommend the brunch bowls – they have something for everyone. During lockdown 2.0 they’ll be giving away 650 free meals to NHS staff – even more reason to stop by in future.
 
Visit BlankBrixtonCafe.com
 
Three Eight Four
I can’t compile this list without mentioning Three Eight Four. If you want a really good boozy brunch, choose the huevos rotos with fried potato, eggs and bavette steak, which comes with a bellini, two glasses of prosecco and an espresso martini to finish. I always leave this place happy and full.
 
Visit ThreeEightFour.com
 
Burnt Toast Café
Inside Brixton Village, this small café does a really generous all-day breakfast. It’s always super busy (the best sign of a good establishment) but you’re most likely to get a table in the late afternoon. Once you’re in, the pancakes are a must.
 
Visit WeAreBrixtonVillage.com

COFFEE 

Federation Coffee
Federation is one of the best roasters in Brixton, with a fantastic offering of snacks and cakes from Brick House Bakery and the Little Bread Pedlar.
 
Visit Federation.coffee
 
Volcano Works
On Ferndale Road, Volcano Works is sustainable and tasty – an important and rare combination. As an independent roaster, it’s exactly the sort of local place to support during these hard times. It’s been around for ten years, and hopefully many more decades to come.
 
Visit VolcanoCoffeeWorks.com
 
Stir Coffee
If you’re ever on Brixton Hill, make a beeline for Stir Coffee. The coffee is excellent, as is the selection of beers and cocktails in the evening. Right now, I think we could all do with a touch of their ‘good vibes matter’ mantra.
 
Visit StirCoffee.co.uk

LUNCH

Ichiban
Ichiban is one of my top lunch spots in Brixton. This simple family-run Japanese restaurant has been around for years and it’s no wonder. It’s one of the best places for sushi.
 
Visit @IchibanSushiBrixton
 

Etta’s Seafood Kitchen
In three words, Etta’s is warm, hearty and welcoming. If you’re lucky enough to bump into Etta herself, you’ll feel right at home, like you’re having dinner at a friend’s house. The seafood platter with cod goujons, king prawns, calamari, ackee and saltfish, and fish fritters is the closest thing you’ll get to a hug in a bowl. Topped off with a glass of prosecco, what more could you want?
 
Visit EttasKitchen.com
 
Kricket Brixton
There’s always something good happening at Kricket. The seasonal Indian menu is a treat – ask the waiters for their recommendations and be surprised by something fresh and tasty. For a failsafe option, ask for the Keralan fried chicken.
 
Visit Kricket.co.uk

APERITIVO

The Shrub & Shutter
This place is so cosy and romantic. It’s the perfect spot to bring a date. The cocktails and small tasty plates are almost too good – it’s hard to leave at the end of a night.
 
Visit TheShrubAndShutter.com
 
Maremma
Maremma is a young Italian restaurant that always surprises me with its carefully selected wines and beautifully executed food. From 4-6pm, aperitivo time here feels incredibly sexy – you’ll want to keep going back for more.
 
Visit MaremmaRestaurant.com
 
Champagne + Fromage
For some seriously good wine and cheese, head to Champagne + Fromage in Brixton Village. For the full experience, you want a charcuterie board, a small selection of French cheese and a glass of champagne. They also offer an afternoon tea which is meant to be very special too.
 
Visit ChampagnePlusFromage.co.uk

DINNER

Okan
Okan is the place to be during the week. The Japanese menu has everything from yakisoba and miso soup to refreshing cocktails and a selection of teppanyaki dishes (cooked on an iron griddle). There are two branches in Brixton – one in the Village and one in Brixton East, the latter being slightly less busy during the evening.
 
Visit OkanLondon.com
 
Gremio De Brixton
Set in a slightly spooky church crypt, Gremio de Brixton is a fantastic tapas restaurant that’s super popular with locals thanks to its ambience and reasonably priced plates. Don’t miss the chickpea and sweet potato fritters, or the Serrano ham croquettes, both of which are hard to share.
 
Visit GremioDeBrixton.com
 
Naughty Piglets
This restaurant has been in Brixton for five years and it has an impressive wine list, plus some fantastic seafood and meaty plates. Pork belly, smoked eel and Devonshire crab are just a few of the highlights from the most recent dinner menu.
 
Visit NaughtyPiglets.co.uk
 
Salon
Salon is one of the most famous restaurants in Brixton, but it’s so worth the hype. Tucked away in Brixton Village, a meal here is like the best fine dining, but without any of the fuss. A great dinner usually consists of a meaty main course (pheasant or whatever red meat is on the menu), followed by a few house cocktails. During the summer, I’ll always choose a G&T with Sipsmith and some kind of flavoured tonic water. A cheeseboard will finish a near-perfect meal. 
 
Visit SalonBrixton.co.uk

DRINKS

First Aid Box
First Aid Box on Dulwich Road is a really interesting place – they do some of the most creative cocktails in the whole of Brixton. I’m always happy to be blown away and try some unusual drinks, although anything with vodka is a big no-no for me. The staff here are lovely, and partly why I always go back time and again.
 
Visit @FirstAidBoxHH

Canova Hall
A two-minute walk from Brixton tube, this stylish bar is a great place for a casual drink or a date. I’ll order a pint of Guinness every now and then, but I’ll always look at the menu to see what new drinks they have. Canova Hall also has a really cool prosecco tap in its bar, so it’s easy to get carried away.
 
Visit CanovaHall.com
 
For more about what Manu serves up when he’s at work, check out KebabQueen.com

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