Time Out Love London Awards – My South London gems

Oh So London - the city life

It’s important we celebrate the independent businesses we have in our neighbourhoods. And when Time Out asked me which local businesses I liked the most, as part of their Time Out Love London Awards, I tell ya, it was a tough one to call.

While I love nothing more than exploring different areas of London from time to time, I actually spend a lot of my daily life trying out different cafes and restaurants within my little pocket of South London between Brixton, Streatham, Balham and Clapham.

Brixton Market

For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of my top independent cafes and restaurants which have brought plenty of joy to my London life in the past couple of years. Tell me what you think, and join in the debate – who do you think should win the title of best independent business?


While we’re all feeling the Monday Blues, the baristas at F.Mondays are blasting out lattes and beats like it’s the weekend. I come here for a little pick me up and to remind myself that Mondays actually aren’t that bad. They deserve a mention for brightening up this little part of Brixton Hill while still maintaining a local feel. The pastel de nata they serve are fantastic too.

112 Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1AH

F.Mondays Brixton Hill

Read: F.Mondays, Brixton: A coffee shop that makes things a-okay

Kata Kata

I only discovered this place recently, but wow, is it unique. Just a few metres up Brixton Hill from F.Mondays, Kata Kata is every vegan foodie’s dream. I’m a full-on carnivore but the colourful setting, cheery staff, incense aromas and downright delicious buckwheat galettes impressed even the most veggie averse of gastronomes (my other half). These galettes are packed with delicious cheeses, vegetables and gorgeous spice combinations. The ginger kick you get in many of their juices is delicious too.

132 Brixton Hill SW2 1RS

Kata Kata, Brixton

Kata Kata, Brixton

Brooks & Gao

This coffee shop won me over the moment I was handed a perfectly poured latte with a fantastic vintage spoon. But try the chocolate and mango loaves, banana bread and focaccia style sandwiches – all within its cool and rustic surrounds – and you’ll realise this artisan vibe is as authentic as can be. It might not be the most purse-friendly of places in Streatham, but you won’t mind paying a little bit more for food and drink that’s been made with this amount of thought and care.

28 Streatham High Road

Brooks & Gao, Streatham

Brooks & Gao


The ‘slow’ and sustainable ethos behind Cornercopia lead me to write about them for the Time Out blog this week. And once I’d tasted their food and met the resident chef recently, my already positive impression of this little place grew even more.

Sherri, aka Blue Jay, cooks up fresh and thoughtful dishes day in, day out, and the innovation is incredible. They don’t try and mimic anyone else, they’re passionate about foraging and using seasonal food and you can’t really put a label on this refreshing and hearty, yet delicate cuisine.

Sherri is oozing with passion for Brixton too. They more than deserve the independent award.

65 Brixton Village Market, London

Cornercopia, Brixton


Where do I start with Ilili? The food in this Lebanese restaurant is simply delicious. Think bowls of moreish homous with warm pitta, tasty vine leaf parcels and all sorts of shawarma, kofta and other succulent meats packed with authentic Lebanese flavours. The atmosphere in here on a Friday and Saturday night feels friendly and local. And I’ve yet to find anywhere that mixes sleek and contemporary interiors with such honest Lebanese food as well as this place. Oh, and you can come here for some of that gorgeously sweet and sticky baklava. Ilili has been in Streatham a few years now and I really believe it deserves some recognition.

Ilili Streatham

Voting for The Time Out Love London Awards runs until October 31. If you want to champion your favourite bits of the city, visit the Love London Award page on the Time Out website and show your local independent businesses some love!

Until next time x



  1. 21st October 2015 / 2:12 pm

    Hi Lucy, absolutely bloody loving your South London Gems, I need to get myself to Kata Kata! I’m no vegan either, but it looks really good, and…. nutrient replenishing!! :-) x

    • 21st October 2015 / 3:29 pm

      Ah thank you and glad you like them. Yes, you definitely need to pay Kata Kata a visit. Order the goats cheese, beetroot and sweet potato galette – it really is as good as I make out! Thanks for reading x

  2. Miko
    4th May 2016 / 2:19 pm

    I’m so glad you included Ililili! It’s one of our areas best kept secrets. Did you know they deliver? Not sure if they have a minimum order, but they catered for 8 of us perfectly one evening at a very impromptu gathering at my place. And I am writing this review from Kata Kata – next time, try The Farmer: everything you love about eggs florentine, but with a twist. Thank you for your fantastic post :-)

    • 9th May 2016 / 9:46 am

      Hi Miko. Ah glad you liked the post and that you’re also an Ilili fan! I didn’t know they delivered, no. Thanks for the tip – that could be dangerous! Yes, I’ve been to Kata Kata before – love that place – their galettes are delicious. Lucy