Atlantic Road, London SW9.
Open Mon-Weds 10am to 6pm; Thurs-Sat 10am to 10pm; Sun 12pm to 5pm
Brixton Village is in a rather pleasant state of change right now. The covered market pictured above has been around since 1937, and has for a large part of its history been a fresh produce and butchery market catering to the African and Carribean communities in the vicinity. Most of that is still there, but the market has more recently been the stage of a quiet food revolution. It is now a happy hunting ground for coffee addicts, foodies out for a cheap eat and avid people-watchers. More importantly, it’s not been colonised by tourists yet, and here’s hoping it stays that way.
Getting there is not difficult. Simply take the Victoria line all the way south to Brixton and then walk down Electric Avenue, taking in the smells of freshly killed meat and fish displayed in the Middle-Eastern butcheries along the way.
Brixton Village Unit #12
Honest Burgers at Honest Prices (Beware the queue!)
Places like Honest Burgers are a god-send to the burger scene in London. With prices from £6.50 for its basic offering, it represents possibly the best value-for-money burger in town. The patties are 35-day aged beef from the Ginger Pig butchery, which in turn gets its meat from British Longhorn cattle, which in turn was described by Heston Blumenthal as the most fragrant and succulent meat available in the UK currently (see this video for a ten minute instructional on how to make the perfect steak).
The patty is complemented by a slightly sweet, glazed brioche-like bun. Nice and crusty on the outside, meltingly pliant when bitten into. The basic burger with red-onion relish is £6.50. The Honest Burger, with crisp smoked bacon, mature cheddar and crunchy pickled cucumber, tops out at £8. Not listed on the menu is the Federation Burger (£12), which is the same as an Honest Burger, but with two patties. You might only want to have this if your family does not have a history of heart disease. Chips are triple cooked, skin on, dusted with salt and rosemary. Like any good burger joint, mayonnaise is available on request.
A word of advice: Come early to avoid the queues. The sitting area is probably big enough to fit only 15 customers, baby prams and all. We arrived at the stall at around half past 11 and were lucky to have only waited half an hour. Not that the wait was an unpleasant one, really. Between my friends and I we took turns to wander the market whilst one of us stayed in.
Federation Coffee (#77-78) just down the block. Family Friendly, too.
The market has a wide variety of cafes to sit and chill out at as well. The proprietors all seem to know each other pretty well: the Federation Burger at Honest Burgers was named after the Kiwis at Federation Coffee just down the avenue.
Space enough to sit outside
Alfresco dining at the Village is actually a viable idea. The covered nature of the market keeps the worst of the weather away but allows enough light to come through. Makes for lovely photography too!
Fresh Produce.According to wikipedia, some stalls are still selling live African snails. We didn’t see any that day.
All in all, a pretty good day out of Central London. Brixton Village is a place that is ripe for repeat visits. KaoSarn (Thai) and Mamalan (Beijing Dumplings) are a couple of places we walked by but were too stuffed to try. Will come back soon. Watch this space!