Thursday, 8 May 2014

Brixton Bites...

Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (most nights, when a big plate of the smelly stuff appears to snuggle up next to a nice glass/bottle of wine); there is nothing better than cheese. Yup, the smellier the better, blue, yellow, the creamiest of whites, soft, crumbly, flecked with salty delicious crunchy bits; I just can’t get enough.

So when a recent outing took me past the charcuterie strewn front of Champagne + Fromage in Brixton Village; the fine, stinky, drop-dead delicious Reblechons and perfect, milky skinned rounds of Camembert were well and truly calling my name. Well, Charlotte is très français as prénoms go- what did I really expect?!

Beckoned by the rickety folding chairs, dotted with tartan cushions and clustered invitingly around brushed steel tables, several already boasting slender flutes of softly bubbling champers; this place is straight from the pages of my holiday album circa ’04 (without the dodgy tie die tankini, or even more dodgy henna tattoos). With most glasses of bubbles on the menu obligingly offering you change for a tenner, and the selection of cheeses and saucissons giving many a deli across the channel a run for their Euro, Champagne + Fromage is the perfect place to commence a night exploring the never-ending delights of the bustling, achingly-cool, foodie-destination into which Brixton Village transforms after the last of the daytime fish, meat and random cookware vendors pack away their wares and close up their shutters.

Now, be warned; the menu is not one for the lactose intolerant/vegetarian/- Plates of peppercorn specked, fat rippled charcuterie cosying up next to big wooden boards of fruity Brie de Meaux and blue veined Roquefort, and an extensive list of meat and cheese draped, olive oil drizzled tartines on the crustiest artisanal baguette, this is French food at its finest.

But, for 3 girls giddy on a couple of glasses of reasonably-expensive pop, on this occasion the only way to go was hunks of bread dipped into the ooziest of baked camembert. With options ranging from garlic and herb, to rounds flecked liberally with crunchy nuts, we opted for our wheel to be spiked with figs and thyme.  With just enough sweetness from the fig to cut the richness of the cheese, and fragranced perfectly with earthy thyme, the speed at which the whole cheese was demolished pays absolute testament to just how perfect this place is, whether it is for a quick aperitif or to take full advantage of the amazing French fare on offer. They even do afternoon tea complete with homemade macarons. C’est un triomphe.

Snuggled in blankets, the tables bordering the crowd of hungry revellers filling their faces with delicacies ranging from Japenese Okonomiyaki and crepes bursting with caramelised bananas and homemade butterscotch, to buns dripping with pulled pork; Champagne + Fromage well and truly cemented Brixton Village as my favourite foodie destination in London. Top the evening off with a legendary sour-dough pizza at Franco Manca and several lemon cheesecake martinis in Seven at Brixton and you have pretty much my perfect evening.

Food, friends et fromage. What more could you want?

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