Curious Trends

19/11/2011

Slow food, ethnic homeware and vintage fashion at Brixton Market


I mentioned London’s Brixton Market a while ago in an article on upmarket markets. Brixton, a survivor of the original riots, remains relatively unharmed by the ‘how to spend it’ designer-crazed brigade. Ignore the armed police standing guard outside the underground station, the mega-sized branches of KFC and McDonalds - and march rapidly towards Electric Avenue – a monument to the history of electrical engineering and small commercial enterprise.


Brixton Cornercopia, in the covered part of the market, sums up all that is great about contemporary Britain. First off, undercover alfresco dining is the perfect foil for variable weather conditions – not to mention the curiously cosy stoveside indoor seating, the stylish Plumen bulb lighting – and there’s even a quirky vintage high chair for foodie toddlers.


All dishes are made on the premises from sustainably sourced ingredients (many from the market itself) – there’s also a delicatessen opposite, owned by the same proprietors, selling everything from black treacle and Price’s votive candles to handmade baskets, London honey and Andy Forbes’ Brixton Sour handmilled, woodfired bread. Try the wonderful Kingston Black Apple Aperitif – made in Somerset, it’s a blend of cider brandy and the juice of one of the finest vintage cider apples. Starters include white anchovy, fennel and samphire, or coarse pork terrine with homemade piccalilli. The Crown Prince Squash ‘Socca’ pancake is delicious – and for pud there’s burnt orange crème caramel with armagnac prunes – or quince suet sponge with Dorset clotted cream.


This is one of many eating establishments within the covered market, ranging from Mexican restaurants and woodfired pizza parlours to vegan cafes and the Honest Burgers bar. Casa Sibilla, a Puglian restaurant and deli offers regular cookery classes too. And all this in addition to the visual feast: the stunningly presented mountains of vibrant coloured, nutrient rich produce – live crabs, slippery wet fish, fat Colombian sausages – even cheap as chips tripe, should you so desire.









Other things to look out for in the market are African goods – you’ll find fabulous printed cotton textiles, brightly decorated ethnic furniture, pots and bowls here (and a profusion of funky plastic kettles, that are possibly watering cans?)


There’s a choice of Afro-Caribbean hairdressers too – as well as the Brixton Wig Bazaar on the corner of 1st Avenue (note the original signs still in use).


And some cool vintage clothing shops, including Saloon 97 for women, and Two and Six for men. Plus a selection of quirky retro memorabilia and record outlets.


A treasure of an old Jamaican lady runs a shop called Collectibles, selling vintage china and tapestries – whilst sewing together her own patchwork quilts on the premises.


Brixton Market is full of industriousness, creativity and local character. Under no circumstances should developers, or chain stores, ever be allowed to destroy its charming authenticity.



This article is reproduced at The Dabbler with an alternative, original set of photographs.
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