Start your day the Beastly way! Opening at 7.30 am on weekdays and 8:30 am on weekends, the Beast of Brixton's new cafe offers bacon rolls, savoury hot croissants, freshly baked pastries and moreish Alchemy coffee specially blended for the venue. (But you'll probably travel for the toasties).
Introducing: The Kimcheese
Korean food is happy food, so imagine how happy co-founders Jimmy and Will were on realising that kimchi is a next level toasted sandwich ingredient! Add ham or tuna, or just have it straight up with their house blend of cheddar, mozzarella and Gruyere cheeses. They've taken an ancient, traditional food and slapped it in a toastie to create the ultimate in East meets West lunchables.
Toasties and sarnies don't stop there. There's the Pulled Chicken Pesto Toastie with sun-dried tomatoes, Aubergine & Harissa Houmous vegan friendly sandwich, a Tuna, Crispy Seaweed and Wasabi Mayo sarnie and satisfying classics like the BLT and Ham, Cheese & Spring Onion.
Customers can take their lunches to the next level with Disco Hot Sauce. This scotch bonnet-laden, Panamanian-style hot sauce recipe is blended to the sound of four-to-the-floor disco music locally in Brixton. Small batch Disco Hot Sauce is what Sriracha sauce wakes up and wishes it saw in the mirror. It's your mouth's next best friend, you can have it with your toasties or buy it by the bottle.
Among locals who have enthused about the new opening is popular historian Tom Holland, who tweeted: "Huge excitement in Brixton as Opus, after a long period of transitioning, emerges at last into the light of day as @beastofbrixton..."
With a laid-back atmosphere, playlists comprising an eclectic and discerning mix of tracks and even beer for your dog (seriously), the Beast of Brixton is now as entertaining during the day as its upstairs bar is on Friday and Saturday nights. Not forgetting their famous Sunday Roasts, which draw in a huge crowd every week.
The Beast Of Brixton is a proudly independent neighbourhood cafe, bar and kitchen owned and run by James Duke-Evans and Will Nelson. Founded in 2015, The Beast, as it is affectionately known, has become a favourite among in the know Brixtonians and Claphamites for it's sell-out premium Sunday roast, top floor parties and warm, refreshingly unpretentious welcome. Now with three storeys on Acre Lane, The Beast has garnered a steady stream of 5* reviews. www.thebeastofbrixton.co.uk
Nothing says Southern hospitality quite like Southern comfort food and the Raleigh area dishes up some of the best. What about non-meat specialities though? Yes, absolutely - read on!
Fried green tomatoes
This side dish features unripe tomatoes washed in egg and buttermilk, coated in cornmeal and fried to perfection. Served as an app or tangy entree, fried green tomatoes continue to appear on tables across the South—and Raleigh offers some of the best. Try them at The Pit or Tobacco Road Sports Café. You could also sample them at Relish Craft Kitchen & Bourbon Bar.
Sweet potato pie
Sweet, satisfying, healthy and versatile. There's no sweeter spot to try sweet potato pie than Slice Pie Company, whose pie crust earned them a highly-sought blue ribbon award once upon a time at the N.C. State Fair. Try a different take on this Southern classic with the sweet potato pie croissant at lucettegrace. However you slice it, it's heaven on a plate.
This popular hors d'oeuvre has been making appearances at family reunions, cookouts and parties for generations. Try devilled eggs as an appetiser at The Oak, or as a simple side with a barbecue dinner at The Q Shack at North Hills. Sample a different take on this traditional dish with Korean deviled eggs at the celebrated bu•ku in Raleigh, or take a walk on the wild side and try the Voodoo deviled eggs at Lucky 32 in Cary.
Southerners enjoy this cheese on crackers, in a grilled cheese sandwich, added to devilled eggs or mixed into grits. Try a classic grilled pimento and cheese sandwich at Community Deli or sample this signature specialty at Relish Craft Kitchen & Bourbon Bar with pimento cheese and homemade crackers or pimento cheese fritters with pepper jelly appetisers.
Summertime in Raleigh means fresh peach cobbler.As a leading state in peach production, go straight to the source at the State Farmer's Market Restaurant, where the peach cobbler is the perfect combination of sweet, tangy fruit, mild spices and a buttery, baked crust. For a French twist on this Southern classic, stop by Saint Jacques French Cuisine in North Raleigh and sample the peach cobbler with lavender ice cream.
Haven't tried grits yet? This popular corn-based Southern side dish is not to be missed. Whether you're trying grits for the first time or simply looking to start your day off right, stop by Big Ed's City Market Restaurant downtown. Not that grits are just for breakfast though. Popular grit dishes are popping up on brunch, lunch and dinner menus . Grab a reservation at the celebrated NOFO @ The Pig in Raleigh's Five Points neighbourhood and try the crowd-pleasing shrimp and grits. Housed in a restored Piggly Wiggly grocery store building, this combination café, food market and gift shop not only offers delectable southern fare, but also features an eclectic Southern gift shop and food market.
If you're in the area, head along to Eastgate Shopping Centre, Inverness, where Bad Girl Bakery has launched the Cake & Coffee Caravan. Besides coffee and hot chocolate, hungry shoppers can choose from a range of cakes and gourmet doughnuts. Not an easy decision when faced with goodies including crème brûlée doughnuts, cherry cheesecake brownies, vanilla caramel Orkney fudge topped cupcakes and apple cinnamon doughnuts. Yum.
Bad Girl Bakery owner Jeni Hardie said:
“The response to the trial weekend has been phenomenal. We sold out around 400 cakes by lunchtime each day so know there's an appetite for our produce in Inverness! We're enjoying meeting fellow cake fans and are looking forward to a busy few months.”
Bad Girl Bakery opened in Muir of Ord in 2017 and has built a reputation for outstanding cakes and customer service. In October, the bakery won the Business Growth category in the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk