Barrio has finally arrived south of the river smack bang in the middle of Brixton and we were invited to check out the venue, food and cocktails last week.
We kind of knew what to expect, as we are already fans of the other Barrio outposts in Soho, Shoreditch and Angel and their excellent Latin American food and drink menus and colourful, fun décor, but yet again Ferdie Ahmed, Barrio’s founder, and his team have been able to give the Brixton venue its very own distinct flavour. Walls are covered in tiles hand-painted by customers and members of staff, and murals by local artists and it even has one of Barrio’s up-cycled customized vintage caravans which has two booths for guests to relax in and basketball hoops on the walls.
Situated on Acre Lane, just five minutes walk from Brixton Underground and the Ritzy Cinema the 200 capacity ground floor restaurant/bar has an outside patio, perfect for soaking up the sun whilst sipping a cocktail or having brunch at the weekend when it opens its doors at 10am.
The place was already packed when we arrived but after finding a table, we were served very quickly by the friendly, helpful and very efficient staff, and got stuck in to the press night menu.
- Cancha Corn –spiced crunchy Peruvian corn. Very nice and nibbly with a dash of lime juice
- Ceviche Amarillo – white fish, tigers milk, avocado & plantain chips. Fresh and clean taste, with many different flavours and textures to enjoy.
- Pork Sanguche – pork belly sliders with sweet potato jam & rocoto mayo. Nice and sticky.
- Mi Carazon – marinated ox heart skewers with ‘Carretilla’ salsa, rocoto cream & cancha corn. One of my favourites of the night.
- Tenderstem Broccoli with Amarillo chilli cream & garlic crisps. The vegetable and the sauce went beautifully together.
- Lima Lickin’ Chicken – crispy marinated fried chicken with lemon popcorn and panca chilli dip. Another favourite – the chicken was crispy, yet juicy and perfectly spiced.
- Sweet Potato Fries – with aji panca alioli. Very moreish.
- Tequenos – crispy wonton filled with 3 cheeses, charred spring onions served with tomato chipotle chilli jam. This was the only dish we didn’t get to taste, as they had run out.
And for dessert :
- Peruvian Mess – dulce de leche cream, bitter chocolate custard, banana jam, meringues, caramel, topped with peanut cream. A wonderful dessert, quite sweet, but tempered by the bitter chocolate. I don’t know if the regular size is any bigger, but for me size we were served was perfect.
The food was created by Barrio’s group head chef Ernesto Paiva, bringing his Peruvian heritage to the kitchen and Barrio Brixton’s head chef Heath McDonald whose speciality is Baja Mexican cuisine. They source fresh South American ingredient and herbs daily to make their cooking as authentic as possible and it shows. Another one of their strong point are their home made marinades and unusual sauces which give the food its distinctive Barrio flavour.
The same is true for the cocktails, as in all the Barrio bars. Drinks Supremos ‘Salt of the Earth’ have worked in conjunction with Barrio to come up with an exiting cocktail menu with many new creations as well as firm Barrio favourites.
We managed to get around to most of the cocktails on offer at the press evening, all in the name of research, of course. We tried the following
- Che Guava – rum, mescal, guava, passion fruit & lime.
- Wake Me Up Before You Man-Go-Go – bourbon aperol, mango lime, orgeat.
- (Kumma Kumma Kumma Kumma) Kumquatameleon – cachaca, kumquat syrup, triple sec, lime.
- Voodoo Mama – plantation overproof rum, Koko Kanu, coffee liqueur, pineapple, lemon.
- Brazilian Lady – cachaca, passion fruit, cointreau, lemon, egg white.
- Ol’ Dirty Bastard – bourbon, rum, orange and angostura bitters.
The other three cocktails, which we did not get around to were Port of Call (pisco, mescal, lemon, egg white, port), Pina Picante (tequila, pineapple, Rico hot sauce, agave nectar, lime, egg white) and South Sea Sour (gin, cointreau, pineapple, grenadine, lemon, bitters).
There are of course many more food (just have a look at the full menu on their website) and drink choices, including brewery-fresh tank beer and local and Latin craft beers.
Barrio Brixton is a very welcome addition to the local restaurant & bar scene, a great place for everybody who loves to give their life a little Latin American twist now and then and who is after authentic and honest cooking and a great cocktail menu.
We enjoyed the evening immensely: we loved the venue, the food was excellent and so were the drinks and we were more than well looked after by the friendly staff.
Muchas gracias Barrio Brixton & buena suerte!
Barrio Brixton is open 7 days a week and until 2am at the weekend.