Monday, 28 January 2013

Salon, Brixton

We weren't the easiest lunch customers. Having faffed around with my booking no less than three times - "Thursday night? Sunday lunch? there's 5 of us! No, 6! No, 5!", we showed up at Salon in Brixton some of us hungover and bleary-eyed, a toddler in tow. Located above Cannon & Cannon, the meat and cheese deli in Market Row, the small dining room sat 25 or so, an open-plan kitchen small enough for only a few chefs to squidge in.

Happily we didn't have to do anything so strenuous as actually making a decision for what to eat as the menu is set. Usually 4 courses, this particular Sunday we were treated to 5 in honour of the Burn's Night passed.

A plate piled high with crispy fingers of lamb were greaseless and faultless, the breadcrumbs giving way to tender lamb shoulder within. The lamb came from Flock & Herd in Peckham, evidence of careful meat sourcing. A punchy mint sauce studded with tiny capers was essential to each bite and when we ran out of lamb, we carried on eating the sauce.

Their take on cullen skink was a comforting little bowlful, silky in texture and generous with the smoky flavour of the haddock. Seaweed flecked the soup and crunchy croutons bobbed within, retaining their crunch throughout. 

Partridge was presented on a board to share, a breast and a wing each. The bird was simply cooked and accompanied with rye bread mayo; we all dipped our fingers in it for a proper taste and the rye of the bread came through well. Vibrant pickled red cabbage rounded each mouthful off nicely. Partridge isn't my favourite bird but nevertheless I gobbled my portion up.

My favourite course was the mutton faggot served with greens and mashed swede. A dense shiny meatball, it was juicier than it looked. The slight flavour of offal came through but not enough to be off-putting (I'll admit it, I'm a liver-avoider). Mashed swede was intensely sweet, offset well by the broccoli-like floret, more bitter than I'm used to. 

Finally, dessert of whiskey semifreddo with poached rhubarb and oats arrived. The semifreddo, like the lightest whipped ice cream, had a just-discernible hint of whiskey. Rhubarb was served as poached sticks but also as a puree and the dish was garnished with face-puckeringly raw slivers. This was loved universally; the individual portion gifted to the kid was pilfered by the adults. 

Service was sweet and accommodating; not an eyelid was batted when forks were swept onto the floor and spoons banged against the table when we didn't catch it in time. The head chef himself, Nicholas Balfe came out to introduce a few of the dishes and it's evident they have a real pride in their ingredients and dishes. At £30 for the set menu, it was great value, and we all left happy and with a mind to return. 

Upstairs at Cannon & Cannon
18 Market Row
London SW9 8LD

Tel: 020 7501 9152
(Worth noting that while we took a toddler there and didn't have any problems, the bathrooms aren't really equipped with child-changing facilities.) 


Danofee said...

Another good place to eat in Brixton. It seems that I'll never get through them all, but I'll give it a try....

Blonde said...

Oh hurrah. I've not made it in there yet (always seem to get distracted by something else) but based on this, I'm going to have to give it a whirl.

Ed said...

Looks like a lovely weekend lunch.

Thought Salon were unfairly savaged by a grumpy Faye a few weeks back, so glad to see you enjoyed. £30 for some interesting and honest cooking is good in my book.

Hollow Legs said...

Danofee - I keep revisiting old favourites instead of new places, I fear I'll never get round them all!

Blonde - I know what you mean, I'm easily distracted too.. Do let me know what you think.

Ed - It was great. I was nervous after Fay's savaging, but I'm glad we went anyway as her words were unfounded on our experience.

Filipino Food said...

You just gave me an idea on what to cook. Thanks a lot.

Helena Lee said...

Glad you enjoyed. It's just good, clever honest food at Salon. I really disagreed with Faye for so many reasons- one main reason being that their menu makes stars of their suppliers and is evidence of their good relationship with them. This is something we should admire in the age of horse meat lasagne.