Pop Brixton in a nutshell
Pop Brixton is a hub for start ups, encouraging London’s latest designers, street food vendors and restaurateurs to spread their wings.
What’s the vibe?
If you saw it from the train that clatters over Brixton High Street this collection of young creative businesses could be seen as a human-sized Legoland, with shipping containers stacked on top of each other at various angles. Exposed bulbs are strung between the colourful structures to cast an edgy glow over an area of long wooden tables where trendy 20-somethings sip on Red Stripe or small-batch cocktails with their choice of street food.
Which street food and restaurants to try at Pop Brixton?
Pop Brixton is a foodies’ playground – clamber up the stairs to pick up Venezuelan arepas from Petare and ogle the grilled cheese at Raclette Brothers, head under an arch to find regional Italian street food from Don Luigi, or ascend the ramp to a greenhouse-like tunnel and pop out the other side to Smoke & Salt. The latter is probably the most high-end dining experience you’ll find at Pop Brixton, with tables set out on the terrace and an intimate, candlelit dining area inside. Tuck into small, seasonal plates that focus on traditional techniques – smoked ricotta with tomatoes, whey and toasted buckweat, cured Chalkstream trout with red onion, raspberry and chipotle, veal schnitzel with pea and lovage remoulade and baby gem lettuce. The elderflower bellini is freshened up with mint shrub, while the negroni blanco (grapefruit, gin, lillet blanc, suze) is aged in house.
– classic negroni
– rhubarb negroni
– white negroni
You can eat and drink across the globe – Sicilian small plates at Franzina Trattoria, Mexican street food at Maria Sabina, gyozas and ramen from Koi Ramen (pair pork, chicken or veggie dumplings with Japanese beers – Sapporo premium, Asahi super dry, Asahi black). Finish with Spanish Love Churros or a sweet crepe or waffle from L’Amuse Bouche.
Our favourite restaurant at Pop Brixton was Duck Duck Goose – pastel pink and green tables are laid with fanned-out napkins and neon-orange spoons and chopsticks, while fairylights are strung from the walkway above. Order a feast to share – bowls of unctuous duck fat rice peppered with pork belly and peas, air-dried char siu pork belly and duck marinated and then roasted to create crispy skin and super-juicy meat, and the doorstep prawn toast, flavoured with five-spice, deep-fried then topped with wiggly bonito flakes.
What is there to drink at Pop Brixton?
There’s plenty to drink – blend in with the locals and order a Red Stripe or spiced rum from S11, or go for craft beer brewed in South London (Belleville Brewing Co, Brixton Brewery and Gipsy Hill) from Brixton Port Authority (look out for the blue pelican motif). The latter also offers punchy gin cocktails, with an impressive selection of London-distilled gins including Jensen’s (Bermondsey) and Hayman’s (Balham).
New Zealand Wine Cellar specialises in, as the name suggests, New Zealand wines. The kiwi-run business ensures that the country’s lesser-known producers are given the limelight. Peruse the neatly packed shelves before sitting round a barrel to sip on the likes of Black Estate Riesling, No 1 Family Estate Sparkling Marlborough or Rachel Pinot Noir from Seresin Estate in Marlborough.