I’m not really a food blogger. My restaurant reviews many consist of “I went here, I ate this, it was lovely, here have some bad slightly drunken photos I took on my iPhone.” So for that I apologise… but the fact is that I like eating out, especially at small local restaurants, and if I like them, I want to recommend them to everyone! So here is a recommendation for Salon, a small restaurant in Market Row, Brixton.
Salon began life as a restaurant above a small shop selling charcuterie and cheese – the cheese has formed my favourite course at many of our friends’ dinner parties. Recently they expanded – the Dining Room is still upstairs, serving locally sourced, seasonal dishes with a set menu that changes regularly. The food is fantastic and we’ve gone several times when we’ve wanted a slightly posher dinner close to home. It is the kind of place where, even if on first glance you raise your eyebrows at the set menu, everything that comes out will be delicious. However, the shop downstairs is now the ‘Store Room’, still selling charcuterie and cheese but now with several small plates, pies, pasties and cakes to eat in or take away. Although we cook all our lunches and dinner during the week, we can be quite lazy on a Saturday night and often end up making a last minute decision to eat out or get a takeaway. And that’s what happened yesterday, when at 8pm we were feeling very lazy with no plans and decided to walk into Brixton.
We took a seat outside Salon, where we could watch the hustle and bustle of Market Row on a Saturday night and ordered two glasses of a Spanish grenache – the cheapest wine on the menu at £3.50 a glass but absolutely delicious.
First up was a cheese platter – a creamy stilton, a harder goat’s cheese and a soft waterloo, served with toasted bread from the Peckham Rye bakery (their sourdough is my favourite ever bread) and a tomato chutney. That all disappeared quickly, the stilton especially was fantastic.
Next came the Nduja croquettes – sadly I’m sure I took a picture but it seems to have disappeared from my phone! They were little balls of rich, creamy, spicy goodness, served on a bed of alioli. We devoured them and then I may have used my finger to completely clean the plate of any alioli.
At the same time, our vegetable dish arrived – courgettes on a bed of goat’s curd with hazelnuts. The courgettes were cooked to perfection, the hazelnuts added an interesting crunch, and the goat’s curd was…. well I love goat’s curd. Again I may have used my finger to clean the plate.
We had also wanted to order the meat platter, but were told that it wasn’t available that night as their meat delivery hadn’t turned up a few days previously. This could had been annoying had you come specifically for the meat platter, but I actually have a lot of respect for a restaurant that can’t always serve everything on the menu – it makes me trust the freshness of their ingredients that bit more.
We finished up with another glass of the grenache for me, a bourbon for James (he loved it) and chocolate brownie ice cream to share – chewiness of the brownie mixed with creaminess of the ice cream – I have no idea why I haven’t had this before! It was delicious.
Service was informal and friendly, one guy running the Store Room who obviously knew quite a bit about the food he was serving up and was keen to explain the cheeses to us.
So with three dishes, three glasses of wine, one pudding and one bourbon the bill came to £38 – not bad for a meal where every dish had us exclaiming with delight and scraping the remains into our mouths with our fingers! (okay, just me then!)
If you’re ever in Brixton and fancy a few small plates of local, seasonal food – British tapas if you will – I’d really recommend both upstairs and downstairs at Salon.