Brixton Food Review 2016: the best restaurants and cafes – and the biggest flop

Brixton Food review 2016: the best restaurants and cafes and the biggest flop

It’s been another year of change in Brixton and our resident food critic has been going through his notes from the year and compiled his Brixton Food Review for 2016.

There’s never been so many places to eat out in Brixton and no doubt some may disagree with his choices, so please leave your thoughts in the comments box below. Over to you, Sam:

Brixton Food review 2016: the best restaurants and cafes - and the biggest flop

Best Overall Food Experience: Fish Wings & Tings

Busiest New Arrival: Rum Kitchen

Biggest Flop: Dirty Burger – we’ve never seen more than two people in there

Saddest Loss: All the food places from the Arches. We still desperately miss the Kaff Bar too.

Best Café: Sam’s Cafe for the breakfasts, San Marino in general

Sam's Cafe, Acre Lane, Brixton - enormous portions fantastic value

The end of the year means time for a round-up of what’s been going on food wise in Brixton in 2016, which is also the number of new burger places that have opened.

Perhaps next year everyone will finally get bored of meat in a bun, judging by the lack of success of perennially empty Dirty Burger and similarly struggling Dip & Flip on Atlantic Road, and we’ll be treated to more variety.

If not burgers, then it’s chicken places like Fancy Funkin’ Chicken opening but the idea is so boring we’ve yet to ruffle up the enthusiasm to eat there. The nearby Rum Kitchen certainly hasn’t suffered from a lack of customers, the busiest of all the newly opened places this year.

We do our best to keep up with all the changes but, to Michael Gove’s delight, we are not experts and don’t claim to have visited each establishment.

If you disagree or think we’ve made a surprising omission then leave your comments below.

Perhaps the diverse range of food helped the majority of us in Lambeth (78% of voters) see part of how immigration adds much to our culture. If every small (minded) town in England had half the selection of mouth-watering global food enjoyed here, maybe the dog’s dinner that is Brexit would have been avoided.

Enough Brexit and on to the breakfast. With no new stand outs we can only head you towards these favourites of ours: Sam’s Café on Acre Lane for a good old fashioned bargain fry up, the breakfast provided by Duck Egg available in POW and for pleasing (even if opposing) experiences Salon and Vera Cruz. After all, it depends what you’re after.

Decent but departed breakfast choices include Rosie’s and Phoenix, although the glory years are a distant memory so this loss was felt less keenly than the previous shuffle up the street.

Traders hoofed out as Brixton's Food Court is closed down

More sad goodbyes were said to the barely established Latin food court and of course the various places affected by the well-documented council stitch-up that is the Brixton Arches debacle.

Café culture grows, with F Mondays & the new Stir Coffee bringing some sophistication to the Hill, which also has the new chippy Fish Lounge. Perhaps this area will be the next target for the relentless gentrification.

Brixton Pound opens up cafe and community space in Atlantic Road, Brixton, London, July 2016

Atlantic Road, long since surrendered to the big-G, does however now provide a home to the very pleasant and pay-what-you-feel Brixton Pound Café.

In a similar vein you can now grab a decent coffee at the co-operative Brixton Cycles on Brixton Road. San Marino remains the best people-watching spot and serves good coffee and bites to boot.

POP is a place yet to truly find a place in the hearts of many Brixton residents, but remains popular with the food tourists or ‘night-time economy’, as you might say if you’re annoying. Ignoring the problems of the site, there are some decent places to eat.

Kricket gets a lot of love, despite the old price & portion metric not being fantastic, as do Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and the tapas of Donostia Social Club as well as a pizzeria to compete with Franco Manca in the Made of Dough (not to be confused with Coldharbour Lane’s Mama Dough).

Boqueria on Acre Lane

Talking tapas, Boqueria on Acre Lane – which has gradually seen a few more places of note popping up, such as Lisboa and Bar 160, – remains the place to beat, with Gremio apparently fading in popularity when we recently visited.

Change seems less rampant within the Village with the best stuff coming from various established places such as Elephant, Senzala, Casa Morita, KaoSarn and still the best ice cream in Brixton at Lab-G.

Overall, some old favourites including Bamboula, Khamsa and Negril continue to deliver good food and a more independent feel than a lot of the more chain-like places that are starting to dominate Brixton, and we’re pulling out Fish, Wings & Tings as the Best Overall Food Experience in Brixton of 2016, the relaxed vibe and super food is perfect on a summer’s day.

We feel full. Time to step up to the plate labelled 2017.

Read more in our ultimate Brixton eating out guide: the best restaurants and cafes in SW2 and SW9 or join the lively discussion here.