Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Happy Brixtmas Eve: Brixton Village

This weekend it was Christmas in my house in Brixton. Or Brixtmas, as my housemates and I christened our festive celebrations before we all went back to our various homes for the holiday.

I had agreed to cook a Christmas dinner for my housemates on Sunday. On Saturday as well as buying a turkey and an ample supply of vegetables (eight varieties in total) I headed to Brixton Village for some Christmas shopping.

The undercover market is one of the many highlights of living in Brixton (for somewhere with such a bad reputation, there are a huge number of these). As Jay Rayner recently attested in a review for the Observer, it would be impossible to mention all of the gems situated in Brixton Village. As well as gift shops, African fabric emporiums and the general market stalls where you can buy anything from bathroom scales to religious figurines, Brixton Village is home to some of the best restaurants and cafés in London. And not just a few of them, but so many that eating out there is as much heavenly as it is a decision-making nightmare.

Many of the restaurants aren't licensed so work on a 'bring your own' basis and food is affordable (even for a student like me). To give you a sample of the breadth of food available at Brixton Village, under the one roof you will find both the best (arguably) burger and pizza restaurants in London, a vegan cupcake shop, a café with toasters at each table for you to toast your own bread, an amazing Thai restaurant and a café that serves street-food from Pakistan.

If it sounds too good to be true, there are a few drawbacks to Brixton Village. The variety does make choosing where to eat or have a coffee nearly impossible, so be prepared to wander around in an overwhelmed daze for half an hour or so before deciding. The opening times are somewhat limited (Monday - Wednesday: 10am to 6pm, Thursday - Saturday: 10am - 10pm, Sunday 12pm to 5pm) which makes the whole place pretty busy during its open hours. And many of the restaurants look onto fresh meat or fish stalls which doesn't help a hangover on a Saturday morning (I have heard).

Nonetheless, I love Brixton Village, and it is a testament to the diversity and general buzz of Brixton itself. And it was a perfect place to spend the afternoon on Brixtmas Eve.

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