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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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