With a swath of new openings happening every week there has to be something said about a place I have visited for two Sundays in a row now. Salon in Brixton Row piqued my interest a few weeks back when I spotted a couple of brunch photos making their way into my Instagram feed. I’m always on the hunt for an interesting brunch thats able to keep my attention longer than it is to smash an avo into a pulp and plonk it on toast.
I love this corner of Brixton. Yes it’s contributing to the gentrification of the area but there’s no other undercover markets with so many great restaurants by start ups food businesses for me to pick and choose where to dine. Salon might be a difficult find as from the walkway it looks like a deli – and if you’re really lucky the team might have set up a table of samples for you to nibble on while you ensure you’re in the right place. I would suggest ensuring your have a booking as the first time I arrived at 9am I was the only person in the place yet was quizzed whether I had a reservation – a sure sign the place was going to get busy quickly (which it did). I booked a table on the bus on my way for my second visit and lucky I did as the pair in front of us were told they had an hour wait on their hands.
The place was opened up by Nicholas Balfe who previously worked at Brunswick House in Vauxhall, Frank’s Cafe in Peckham and Young Turks which took the Shoreditch scene by storm a few years back. It’s in one of those spaces that used to be a pop up and has luckily enough been allowed to go permanent – similar to Shackfuyu in Soho. That’s more than a half decent resume and his new gaff is worth checking out.
Both times I decided on the three cheese cornbread, shredded ham hock and chipotle slaw. It’s certainly a decent serve and you have the option of adding a poached duck egg should you with to glam it up a bit. The whole dish works as a whole but gets a little one dimensional toward the end. I would like to get a little bit more of a kick from the pickled chilli and chipotle if I had my way. Next time I will be looking to try the roast mushrooms, pickled shallot’s (sic) & cow’s curd on toast, which had sold out on my second visit.
Hidden at the bottom of the menu was a line with “cakes, pastries, desserts & grilled cheese sandwiches…” – so we had to give their version of a toastie a try ass well. No idea what cheese was going on in the sandwich but it was one of the great versions of a toasted cheese I’ve had this year. The thin layer of onion was much more successfully incorporated into the sanger than the horror story we had at Beef & Brew. Definitely one to order as a sharing course for next time too.
Smashed avo was brought over to the UK by the first Australian cafe settlers back in the mid-noughies and as a rule I never order it because there should always be something more interesting on a menu that it to have. The rule unfortunately doesn’t apply to people I invite for brunch – especially if they are nursing a mega work Christmas party hangover… The Brick House sourdough toast was spectacular, the avocado was well seasoned and they rated the addition of chilli to the dish to pick it up a notch.
There’s some seriously good cooking happening during brunch which will now tempt me back to see how they go at dinner.
Contact: Salon – 18 Market Row, London SW9. Website.