I still feel privileged to live in London, even after six years. But some weekends I find myself tearing my hair out thinking ‘what to do?!’ I often get the feeling that I’ve done it all and there’s literally nothing new to do. Of course I’m wrong – I should probably pay more attention to Time Out.
Last weekend though, I decided to head south to Brixton to have a look around the market and grab a bite to eat. The first obstacle was the tube – I forgot to check about the consistent weekend ‘upgrade’ works that are going on until the Olympics next year. It took a while to get there but a couple of tube changes and a replacement bus later, I arrived.
I have been to Brixton a couple of times before and not really liked it. Both visits were in the evening and I hadn’t exactly felt very safe on my walk down the backstreets towards Brixton Academy – don’t ask why I decided to walk down the backstreets. But after hearing so much about the regeneration of the market and reading about all of the cafes and restaurants popping up, I decided it was time for another visit, this time during the day.
Walking down a little alleyway towards the market, I passed shops selling Jamaican artifacts, plenty of odd looking fruit and vegetables and a hairdressers where the staff were shaking their booty along to the loud Afrobeats whilst working on the customers corn rows. Everything at Brixton market is colourful, happy and vibrant. And it is changing. Nestled in between the traditional units are a plethora of new cafes and restaurants, serving fantastic food at amazing prices. My first stop was Federation Coffee where I ordered a flat white and drank it whilst watching a sit in customer draw his surroundings. During my visit I clocked a few artists, carefully constructing images focusing on the cool crowd that now frequent the market on weekends.
After walking around various restaurants, I decided that pizza would be a great option to soak up the remainders of alcohol that I had the night before. I don’t know why I even considered going anywhere other than Franco Manca, one of my favourite pizzerias in London. Having never been to the Brixton ‘branch’ before, I went and queued for twenty minutes before being seated at a cosy table inside, with the huge gleaming white pizza oven in sight. We shared two pizzas – mozzarella, anchovy, capers and olives and chorizo and mozzarella. Both were perfect – the sourdough base soft, chewy and just the right amount of charcoal smothered over the base. London needs more pizza establishments like this. And at around £6 per pizza, it doesn’t even nearly break the bank.
For pudding, we wandered back through the market to Lab G, where I ordered a hazelnut and chocolate gelato. They had run out of their signature salted caramel flavour, which I was disappointed about but the hazelnut and chocolate was exquisite. I felt a bit silly walking down the street in mid November eating a cone of gelato and my hands didn’t thank me for it but it was the perfect way to end my foodie little tour.
Brixton market is a diverse hub of shops, restaurants and cafes and is run by a mix of creatives and old local residents. The website says it all – ‘Meat!, Nail art, Fresh fish (lots of this around!), DIY, Wigs (lots of these too) and a whole lot more. It’s a brilliant place to go to get away from the most popular and sometimes too touristy London weekend markets. I’ll hopefully be back there sooner rather than later – perhaps I’ll take a trip next time I want to buy a wig whilst chewing on jerk chicken and dancing to Aftrobeat.
The market arcades are open:
Monday – Wednesday from 8am – 6pm
Thursday – Saturday from 8am – 10pm
Sundays from 10am – 5pm