About 2 weeks ago on Twitter I came across Brixton Diner, a pop up restaurant being set up by The Pickled Fork. An American-diner themed pop up in nearby Brixton, with 3 courses for £20 each?! We were on it like a hypothetical car bonnet – amazingly there were still tickets left so we snapped two up.
When we arrived on Saturday, having been told to look for the blue door between a fried chicken shop and a cafe, we were welcomed with great enthusiasm and quickly shown to a table. Having perused the drinks menu, we opted for a bucket of 5 beers for £7.50 (a mixture of ‘whatever is on offer at the off licence’, which turned out to be Becks and Miller’s) and a Long Island Iced Tea at £7, which came served in a cute coffee pot.
The pop up is set up in an old solicitor’s office but you wouldn’t know it save for the sign above the front door; inside has been transformed into a comfortable space with red gingham tablecloths and communal bench-style tables. A note on the tables – if you’re not keen on social dining, it’s probably not for you. You’re sharing sauces, salad and water as well as your bench and table, and the people either side of us were quite chatty! The staff also added to the friendliness in the atmosphere, milling about constantly, all with a smile.
Onto the food and at 7.30pm Chris introduced himself and the night, explained the menu and what was in front of us (including the four homemade British sauces!) This was just a typical example of the great communication throughout – such as during my booking over email, to the directions and great tips on local pubs before the event.
First course was the chicken wings, served with some fresh celery and iceburg salad. They were crunchy on the outside and succulent on the inside; I could have happily eaten them plain, but the blue cheese sauce was a highlight for this course – cooling and creamy, it perfectly offset the slight spice of the wings’ coating. Some people nearby were commenting on the saltiness of the wings, that it was slightly too much, however my husband and I both agreed they were fine for us. Different tastebuds I guess!
Onto the main course, which consisted of a brisket bap, wild garlic slaw, cheese crisp, cheddar-salted fries, battered pickles and a corn on the cob. The brisket was seasoned well and was complemented by the slaw in the soft bun. My only gripe here was probably that there could have been more brisket! Not being a corn fan, I can’t comment on that, but the fries were very tasty and the southwest sauce was my favourite with them. The homemade HP sauce added some nice fruitiness that went well with the battered zucchini and my husband liberally sprinkled the chilli sauce all over his fries!
The dessert was the banana & clotted cream pie, perhaps the least imaginatively served course (on a paper plate). It was a layer of Hobnobs and peanut butter, a layer of banana, a layer of cream and meringue. On the side was honey cream which was smooth and went well with the rest of the dessert. It wasn’t heavy like some of these desserts can tend to be, but rounded off the meal with a welcome sweetness.
All in all we were very happy with our experience at Brixton Diner. We weren’t really expecting a culinary epiphany and we didn’t get one, but we got exactly what we came for: this is good, honest, well-made, American cuisine at a very reasonable price. At just £20 for 3 courses, cheap drinks and friendly service to boot, this was extremely good value in London and I would definitely seek out another of The Pickled Forks’ pop ups.
If you’d like to check it out yourself, unfortunately Brixton Diner has now closed! However the guys behind it always have something on the go. Check out more details on the Pickled Fork website or their Twitter page.
If you would like to read some of my other London restaurant reviews, see below:
When Mac Met Cheese (pop-up), Bayswater
Holborn Dining Room