There is such a thing as south of the river, Kentishtowners. And today I want to take you on a short stroll around Brixton, the much-overlooked manor that London has finally welcomed back into the fold.
Brixton’s reputation – a little like its northern chum Camden Town – has, over the years, gone up and down more times than Mrs Kentishtowner’s knickers (Enough already! Ed). But since the once-deserted 1930’s Granville Arcade was taken over by small, independent outlets and christened Brixton Village, its identity has had a well-publicised refresh, and it’s now an assault course of food, drink and shopping. Burger or thali, Japanese or Italian? Or just a nice bit of vintage clothing or homeware shopping?
This weekend, however, let’s leave the Village and take a mooch down Market Row, stopping by at my three favourite haunts. And if you really don’t want to spend a penny, just hang out and soak up the atmosphere, with its colourful fishmongers (plentifully stocked, unbelievably cheap) and butchers.
1. Franco Manca
Where it all began. Be prepared to queue for this no booking pizza joint. Gorgeous sourdough, a choice of 6 toppings and 2 specials. Chuck in a Sam Smiths beer and it’s impossible to spend more than £20 for two people. Mrs Kentishtowner and I split just one pizza a few weeks back – and left with change of a tenner (she also admitted, a couple of wines in, that it was way superior to KT institution Delicious).
Oh Seven, how I love your hip interior, warm welcome, fabulous cocktails and those delicious pinxtos. This place is effortlessly cool, with no hint of pretension. The site is a former luggage store – in a playful nod to this, the bar is made up from vintage suitcases, and the cocktail menu printed on luggage labels. Just five cocktails on the menu, all for the very 2012 friendly price of £5. The Bramble comes in a teacup with a little fruit muffin to accompany it. And don’t forget to pop upstairs to see the regularly changing art exhibition.
3. The Bread Room
A cosy little café with a mouthwatering selection of breads and pastries. I recommend the pain de campagne – a rustic, crunchy beast (and vigorous workout for the mouth.) The croissants taste authentically – even nonchalantly – French. And the most perfect cup of coffee too. A little bit of Paris in Brixton (stop sniggering at the back!)
I could bore you for hours. Really I could (Really she can – Mrs Kentishtowner). And we haven’t even reached Brixton Village yet. Till next time, SW9 – as we say on Electric Avenue*.
Words & Pictures: Louise Perry