A resource and running commentary on stylish London

Little Miss Curious goes to Brixton

Brixton has been in the news quite a bit lately. Last week the Queen and Camilla, aka the Duchess of Cornwall, jointly visited the Ebony Horse Club in the heart of South London. If that wasn’t enough, the House and Home section of last weekend’s FT featured an article about the soaring house prices in the area, as professionals move in.

Attention all followers of Stylishmews:

Leave your pre-conceived notions of Brixton somewhere in Central London and jump on the Victoria Line. Get off at the last stop. You will emerge from the 8 minute tube journey (via Victoria Station) feeling both adventurous and apprehensive.

I must confess. In 17 years of living in London, the thought of venturing to Brixton had NEVER, and I mean NEVER crossed my mind. The media tend to portray the area and it’s inhabitants as threatening, aggressive and criminal. This is only part of the story. In spite of these perceptions, Brixton is a vibrant community, proud of its multicultural past and present.

At the top of my Brixton to do/view list was a dim sum restaurant on Atlantic Road and an african fabric shop located inside something called the Brixton Village Market (once described as a 24 hour crack supermarket by local police). Armed with the map featured above, I set out walking along Atlantic Road in search of Village Market, Market Row, and Reliance Arcade. 

All my apprehensions disappeared the moment I found Village Market. The large indoor space consist of a series of vaulted arcades which host what can only be described as an international food court and market. Locals are not terribly happy with what they see as the gentrification of their local institution. I, on the other hand, accompanied by my lovely and equally adventurous friend S, could not have been more delighted!

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The main thoroughfare inside the Village Market where you can find anything from breadfruit to gelato

Nothing can beat the thrill of discovering something new! As someone who genuinely loves to eat and cook, this adventure left me speechless. An infinite variety of restaurants, coffee bars, bakeries, fish mongers, fruit and veg stalls, vintage clothing shops, wine and cheese bars. You name it, it was there. All under one roof. Everything homemade in front of you. Quaint pop up restaurants, up and coming chains such as Honest Burgers at unit 12,  and Champagne and Fromage at units 10-11. If fried chicken is your thing, the people behind Mayfair’s uber successful Meat Liquor have opened up Wishbone across the road at unit 12 Market Row. The sourdough crust pizza at Franco Manca looked divine, and well worth a return visit at unit 4, Market Row.

From the homemade gelato made fresh every day, at Lab G, found at unit 6 to the largest pancakes I have ever seen being served up at Burnt Toast, at unit 88, Brixton Village Market must be experienced on an empty stomach. No matter which way you turn, there will be some sort of cuisine which will ignite your taste buds.

To give you a feel and flavour of what I experienced please click on the TimeOut clip below.

My original objective in venturing to Brixton was to try the dim sum restaurant, The Courtesan, located further up the road at 69-73 Atlantic Road. The interior space we found ourselves in was both surprising and interesting! In fact, it looked like a 1930s style Hong Kong Opium bar complete with a speakeasy, called the Boudoir, in the basement. It’s grey washed walls, art-deco lights and peeling paint furniture make you feel as if you have been whisked back in time…

Everything we sampled was delicious. From the steamed sea bass, to the vegetable dumplings. each dish was made using local ingredients from the market down the road. Open from noon to midnight every day, except on Fridays and Saturdays when it stays open until 2am, this is a destination well worth the 8 minute tube journey. I would go so far to say its worth a visit, regardless of where you are coming from.

The Entrance to the restaurant

The Boudoir games and cocktail lounge

The Boudoir games and cocktail lounge

It was a little too early to hit the Birdcage cocktail bar

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I particularly liked these trousers using traditional African fabric

Both S and I are a bit in love with African printed textiles. There are many shops selling these bright and colourful fabrics, such as African Queen Textiles located in the Village Market at unit 29-31. Located at 63 Atlantic Road, a few doors away from the Courtesan is the Ohema Ohene boutique, specialising in fashion using prints from Ghana. Authentic, rich colourful motifs found here are both quirky and dramatic.

If you decide to visit Brixton on a saturday, make sure to visit the market stalls on Electric Avenue, Pope’s Road and Brixton Station Road. They’re all part of a big, pedestrianized area in the middle of Brixton which joins on to the covered arcades. Each saturday of the month hosts a different themed market.

One of the many market stalls on Electric Avenue

One of the market stalls on Electric Avenue

Not to be missed is the hustle and bustle of the Electric Avenue market where you can find anything from pots and pans to exotic herbs and spices. This is where the locals do their food shopping.

Of the many stylishmews outings, this one has to be one of my favourites.
If this post has piqued your interest and you decide to visit Brixton for yourself, why not share with stylishmews your favourite spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

MARKET ARCADES
8am –  11.30pm
Mondays till 6pm
Open Sundays

BRIXTON STATION ROAD MARKETS:
Food Corner Wed-Fri lunchtime
Friday Market 10am-5pm
Themed Saturday Markets 10am – 5pm
Sunday Farmers’ Market 10am – 2pm

ELECTRIC AVENUE AND POPE’S ROAD
8am – 6pm
Weds till 3pm
No Sunday trading

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