Murray Blake

London food and coffee writer

French and Grace

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Unit 19, First Avenue, Brixton Village Market, SW9 8PR
Nearest tube: Brixton
French & Grace on Urbanspoon
website; map

Ellie Grace and Rosie French are food bloggers turned restauranteurs – they own a tiny restaurant (3 tables inside, 2 outside) in Brixton Village which serves up hearty Middle Eastern inspired food from a miniscule menu.  They started off running a “Salad club” from their flats (taking inspiration from the various home-cooking supper clubs that popped up in the trendy parts of East London a few years ago), this evolved into a home-spun bistro that received rave reviews whilst the blog cataloguing their adventures won the Observer’s best food blog award in 2010.  This success inspired them to pack in their day jobs and to go mobile: cooking in people’s houses for special occasions, at music festivals and eventually running a food van.  All of these culinary adventures reached their logical conclusion in the Autumn of 2011 when they opened their diminutive restaurant amongst the colourful Caribbean and Latin shops in Brixton Village.  The restaurant has won lots of awards and even hosted the esteemed Jay Rayner as a guest chef.

The menu focuses on wraps with side steps into meze and snacks; we went straight for the signature wrap – lamb sausage with red cabbage, carrot and butter bean hummus (£5.60).  The sausage was dense and meaty with a slightly spicy hue, but unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of it.  I wasn’t too disappointed though, because the red cabbage and carrot salad was superb – the cabbage was slightly sweet and melt in the mouth.  We also ordered a special of hearty Italian stew (£8.50) with pancetta, cabbage, white beans and parmesan – this was really simple but very tasty, the kind of meal I imagine a Tuscan field labourer happily tucking into.  Again (strangely) the cabbage was the star of the show – it has been perfectly cooked so it still had a slight crunch and it had lapped up the rich meat fats and sweet garlic used in the base of the stew.  To finish a luxurious sticky toffee pudding including morsels of ginger and bathed in a wonderful toffee sauce.

Verdict: join the fight for a table as soon as you can.

Also see: Zoe Williams, South London Blog and Wholey Moley.


Author: murraycsblake

London food blogger.

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