Among the dirty burgers, brunches and overpriced gift shops lies this little gem which we nearly overlooked, it’s so small. Okonomiyaki (try saying it when you’re drunk. Or indeed, when you’re sober) is a Japanese savourt pancake using egg as its base. Fillings can include meat, fish and noodles to really pad it out, topped with their version of brown sauce and mayonnaise, and sprinkled with bonito fish flakes. We’re painting quite a picture but this freshly cooked dish is delicious. We were first introduced to it in Kyoto and it’s the first time we’ve seen it anywhere in the UK (if you know anywhere else that sells it then leave a comment below, we’d love to hear about it). If it really isn’t your cup of matcha, they also serve soba and udon noodles – we had the pork soba noodles and one portion is plentiful. There’s about 12 seats inside and 8 outside this tiny establishment, so be prepared to queue (as with most Brixton Village outlets, to be fair). Our visit was swift but thoroughly satisfying. Okan, Unit 39 Brixton Village, SW9 8PR
Weight Watchers ‘Feel Good Cafe’, Windrush Square, Brixton
For those who want to shed a few pounds but are in need of a little kickstart, it might be worth putting 4th-6th June in your diary as Weight Watchers are setting up camp in Brixton’s Windrush Square to launch their Feel Good Tour.
Throughout the day they’ll be serving food from WW’s own range of ready meals and snacks, with experts on hand to provide advice on eating well and keeping fit. We’ve been told there’s also an opportunity to get involved with their Feel Good For Summer plan which could help you lose up 1 stone in 8 weeks. Not too shabby.
To entice you further they’ve got a ‘selfie station’ (remember when that word didn’t exist?) where if you post a snap with your own #feelgood tip, using the hashtag, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win 1 of 100 hampers containing Weight Watchers goodies.
A wedding at Brixton East
We’d never heard of Brixton East before being invited to a wedding there recently, but it’s mere moments from Brixton Village and several minutes walk from the main road.
An old furniture warehouse, the two floor space is now used for pop-up events (their website gives a snapshot of what’s been there before, including yoga and brunch days).
Wooden flooring, exposed brickwork and original features (check out the old giant clock on the second floor) make this a cosy setting for an urban wedding.
There’s also a small roof terrace which quickly became a smokers corner. We forgot to take a picture but some clever soul had thought to use old mattress springs as a frame for wall plants – now that’s upcycling taken to a new level.
Our friends hired the lighting adorning the walls, along with the candles dotted around, while the absolutely stunning flowers were from McQueens.
The best bit? It’s the most local wedding we’ve ever been to, requiring a 10 minute bus ride home Win.
A little whinge about Brixton tube station
Ah, Brixton. Whether you love it or hate it (we love it) it’s such a transport hub that you’ll inevitably pass through at some point.
If you take the tube from Brixton you’ll obviously know about the ongoing escalator works which basically means only two are in action at all times. When it’s rush hour, you’re faced with scenes like this:
They’ve since introduced barriers to control the crowds (note to self, get off the bus at St. Matthews’ Estate to avoid a futile walk), but at the wrong time of day, the queue can stretch up to H&M on the main street.
We’re told to expect this until July, and while we’ve been recommended to try other routes to avoid the bottleneck, friends who’ve attempted to travel to Stockwell or beyond say it doesn’t speed up the journey.
While the long-term result is meant to mean a smoother experience (though who knew escalators took that long to work on?), Brixton also faces further change with the closure of the ticket hall. Sure, we have machines, but queues to top up our Oyster cards are already extensive.
Campaigners have grouped together to call for the ticket office to be reopened, citing Boris Johnson’s 2008 pledge to prevent such things from happening. If you want to get in on the action, check out their website here.
In the meantime, roll on July…
Spring shopping in south London
It’s taken a while but the weather is definitely losing some of its edge and with the days getting brighter it’s time for a bit of a spring spruce up (pfft like we needed an excuse to shop).
There are some great gems sold by south London dwellers that will make easy additions to your home.
1) Clapham Bandstand Print, from £35 (unframed), Postcode Prints – we mentioned this local print company on our post about FEAST. Their limited edition prints are a cute and quirky way to illustrate the area and we’re particularly taken with this picture of Clapham.
2) West Norwood Tea Towel, £8, Ray Stanbrook Prints – we found this on Etsy, and there are tea towels for several other towns including Crystal Palace, Wimbledon and Brixton. Almost a bit too nice to use to dry your dishes, though…
3) Rob Ryan Bells Cushion, £30, Fred & Pickles – when splashing out on a new sofa isn’t an option. Fred & Pickles is a gorgeous boutique site run by a team in the Balham area.
4) Fridge magnet, £4.95, The Indigo Tree – spring clean your mind? Naff as it sounds, but we find that a good old mantra can help motivate you on a dreary day.
5) Candle, from £15, Charlotte Harley Candles – Hither Green based Charlotte sells beautiful soy wax scented candles through Etsy. The scent has a good throw and a great way to get a fresh fragrance into your home. Plus they’re way cheaper than your average posh candle.