Brixton Village

The taco man is a forerunner of the alternative scene called Brixton.

In South London is this gem of a food market that gets you the moment you walk in through its portals. Brixton Village Market ain’t your corner if you are looking for posh dining and drinks. It has a homey vibe and is the kind of place where you where you relax with friends, browse in boutiques, eat, walk, browse some more and nosh to your heart’s content from a potpourri of cuisines.It ticks off all the essential ingredients that make a food market piquant. A cornucopia of colours, whiffs from kiosks and eateries enticing you with edible promises and just enough street fashion to keep the style diva in you hooked. It is a sensory experience in every sense of the term.

On the first sunny Saturday of December, we went into this neighbourhood in the southern borough of Lambeth with a friend. It is after all the happy month when everyone seems to be in the mood for some Christmas lovin’. Warm coats, boots and snoods, steaming cups of hot chocolate, spiced up coffees, red noses and big smiles – life is rosy in December. Nothing sits better in this frame of mind than a saunter into a food market. All you have to do is worry about which stall you have missed out and make a mental note that you’ve got to get back to it the very next weekend.

Brixton is a story of revival and survival. In the ’80s and ’90s, it was rife with racial tensions and economic problems and hardly anyone would think of venturing into the area for the day like we were doing now. But it has been turned around and the proof of it is in the popularity of the market with foodies on a budget.

As you get out of Brixton Tube, you turn right and walk straight till you hit the railway bridge. Take a right into Brixton Road Market and another right into Pope’s Rode Market. Or, like us, you do it the short way. Just turn right into Atlantic Street once you get out of the tube.

You will find this small arcade entrance.

 

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Bright eyes, bright gills, firm flesh. Check. The fishermongers of Brixton.
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This arcade was quite a rundown one till was transformed to make way for modern boutiques and shops alongside old timers such as the wig sellers, grocers and the like.
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Spotted. Miles nerds in Brixton.
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Brixton is home to the Caribbean community and it is reflected in the colour around you.
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Modern touches to the arcade that dates back to the ’20s.

 

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Brixton has become synonymous with the concept of food on a budget.
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The owner of this store, a bit of who you can see in this frame, is Aradhana. She took the name given her by her yoga teacher because she liked the sound of it on her tongue.
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Aradhana makes chocolates that hit the spot. They are not too sweet and she uses quality cacao. We tried a 85% cocoa content bar at her store and loved the nibble.
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Waiting for jerked chicken and more.
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This is a nice place to sit for some jerked chicken and conversation. We loved the sauces which were riddled with the fierceness of scotch bonnets. From the shop next door, we got some fried plantains, the sweetness of which went exceedingly well with the sauces.
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Jerked Chicken and rice at Fish, Wings & Tings
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Sweet plaintains
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Prawns ready to be devoured with a fiery hot sauce

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Because Blake lived in Lambeth for a few years of his creative life.
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Japanese street grub 
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Sake at Okan
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Fried aubergines in miso sauce, at Okan.
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Yaki Onigiri. Japanese grilled rice balls, served with sea weed.
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Squid and prawn noodles, topped up with fish flakes, at Okan. 

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Butterfish or white tuna (the pretty ones in orange).

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Pop Brixton

Then we turned into Electric Avenue, one of the first streets to have electric light and hence the name. Before WWII, it was covered with iron canopies but those were damaged during the bombing of London and taken off. We walked past the street market that goes back to the year 1880 and came across a rectangular structure, iridiscent with neon hues. Pop Brixton.

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Pop Brixton is constructed of shipping containers and festooned up with fairy lights for a festive touch.
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This is a vintage kilo sale where winter furs and vintage clothing can be bought in half kilo sacks. Here, buyers are examining what is on offer.
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Brownie bonanza
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Spotted again. 

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Now, why should you go to Brixton, right? What got me was the informality of the affair. Because Brixton cuts through pretentiousness and gets down to business. The business of good food and fun.

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