Donostia Social Club & Kricket
First thing's first, this is not Brixton's version of Box Park. Yes it's built from a network of shipping containers, yes it's a maze of food, drink, fashion and other offerings but it would stick out like a sore thumb in the Shoreditch of today. Pop Brixton is going for the neighbourhood feel with 85% of businesses local to Brixton.
It's unpretentious and chilled, aiming to make a positive impact on the community, give start ups and small businesses an extra foot in the door and its customers a host of entertaining options ranging from cinema screens and live music to the newest food and drink trends. (More on it's hopes and dreams here).
As is customary for a tiny person with an appetite for fun and a disregard for customary meal times, it was decided that two dinners were in order. This time it was the turn of Donostia Social Club where we headed down the Basque pintxos route, followed by Kricket taking us through Indian small plates.
Let's get one thing out in the open. We love Paul. If (when) you visit Donostia, you will meet Paul (the owner) and you will understand.
We slid into shipping container numero uno and took our seats at the bar. The dream team for the evening was part-comprised of Richly Deserved and Matt The List. (Other members included C and my cheese loving dino .. couldn't possibly leave him at home)!
Beer was care of Cerdos Voladores, a pale ale which was marketed to us as strong, sexy and gorgeous (how could anybody refuse that?!). If you read the label (go on, read the label), there are a couple of other entertaining additions.
We took to the menus and explored the Basque cuisine, a delicious fusion of northern Spain and France. Conveniently, we had been placed right next to the pint sized kitchen (remember we're eating inside a shipping container, expert space utilisation is a must).
First up it was the turn of the meat and the cheese boards (£8 each). I have it on good authority that both were heavenly and said diner really couldn't have wished for more (apart from quince and cherry tomatoes, both of which were provided so she was a happy chappy).
The other members of team fun took a slightly different track. One went for the braised Iberico pork cheek (£6), a sociable tender bowl of meaty deliciousness, another, the roasted quail and aioli (£6.50), miniature legs of crispy, paprika coated beautiful bird.
Next up were seared scallops, with toasted almonds, tomato salsa and green pesto dressing (£3.50), each cooked to perfection and beautifully presented inside a shell, too photogenic to miss.
Pinky lamb cutlets with spring onion and confit broad beans (£7) completed dinner number one without fault. Every dish we ate at Donostia Social Club was completely on point, presented with a rustic and hearty feel but delicate without being fussy. Yes, we will be returning!
Adios Donostia, second dinner is calling, this time in the form of Kricket. After waiting for about 35 groups of 5 minutes, we were hungry again and took our seats for our Indian feast.
We were past the decision making point, so it didn't take much persuasion for us to agree to ordering one of everything.
First up was Bhel Puri (£4), a raw mango, tamarinf, sev and yoghurt number. Crispy, sweet and one of my favourite offerings from Kricket.
Next were the samphire pakoras (£5) with wild garlic mayonnaise, date and tamarind chutney. Not too salty, with just the right amount of batter for you to be able to pretend it isn't really batter at all.
Kadai spiced Pardon peppers (£5) with crispy onions and a creamy sauce caused some divide in the table but were nevertheless polished off without much hesitation.
Hake (£8) with almonds inside a sweet malai sauce would have been garnished with samphire if it hadn't run out. No matter, the hake was flakey and flavoursome, we just needed something to dip into the sauce (fingers and faces were vetoed just this once).
Pork belly (£6) with a fennel infused blob of white (I always like to use the technical term of course) had a crisp, thin layer of fat on top of the tender meat which was flavoured with delicate spices and disappeared in an instant.
Aaaalmost finished, promise! How we got through all this without issue is still baffling me. Vindaloo bavette (£8) with coriander, burnt onion and radish was perfectly medium rare and cut into sharable slices. The grilled lamb (£8) (our Kricket winner of the evening) was barbecued and smokey and we had no shame in picking up the bone and tearing off every last bit. Big success!
Aand breathe, we made it. No regrets, two dinners are always a good shout. This time, Pop Brixton provided us with two excellent dining opportunities and tucked into the miniature spaces added a unique intimacy and warmth which you can't help but grin about.
Another fabulous offering is Hook, a next level, fish and chip joint with a superb twist (read about my visit to their Camden branch here). There are a whole host of other options, ice cream from Yumitub made (albeit relatively slowly), in front of your face, fresh neapolitan pizza from the fiery stone oven of Made of Dough, Mama's Jerk chicken, Babba G's Bhangra Burger and plenty more on the way for you to discover.
Open pretty much every day from 9am - 11pm, Pop Brixton has many exciting things happening each week so check out their website to keep in the know before you go.