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
Immersive art deco dining experience Pink Pearl, the theatrical beachfront restaurant at Vietnam's JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay, is set to become the stage for a mouthwatering culinary collaboration this month, as Chef de Cuisine Amine Ouameur Lakhdari teams up with two Michelin Star French pâtissiere Ophélie Bares to create a unique 'Two Chefs, Four Hands' dining menu.
Conceived by the resort's Master of Ceremonies designer Bill Bensley, Pink Pearl is inspired by the tale of Madame Pearl Collins, whose extravagant gastronomic soirees at this beachfront art deco mansion became the stuff of Phu Quoc legend. In this dramatic setting, Chefs Lakhdari and Bares will bring together their unique talents to write a new chapter to Pink Pearl's decadent history, tantalising guests with an innovative one-off tasting menu. Celebrating the shared culinary heritage of Vietnam and France, specially created dishes will fuse the finest local and seasonal ingredients with unexpected applications of pastry techniques, and a delicate balancing of sweet, savoury and spice.
Chef Bares formerly trained at Chateau de Chantilly (two Michelin star) and Hotel Plaza Athénée (three Michelin stars) and was also awarded Best Pastry Chef by Le Chef Magazine. Extensively travelled, Chef Bares cites Asian culture as a huge influence, saying “I'm looking forward to discovering the daily life of the island, its inhabitants and habits, as well as the local produce.”
Chef Lakhdari, Chef de Cuisine of the resort's French fine-dining concept Pink Pearl, refreshes his menus every few months to showcase the finest seasonal ingredients using classic French methods. Working together, Chefs Lakhdari and Bares will curate a collaborative fine dining menu of original dishes which fuse the best elements of their respective talents.
I was a guest at a Visit Flanders lunch yesterday, probably the first I've been to where each of the five courses is paired with a different beer. Chef Didier Boudeaux, owner of Maison D in the Flanders town of Ronse, was responsible for the menu. The town in the heart of the Flemish Ardennes, popular with cycling fans due to its hilly terrain, is a major destination on the annual Ronde Van Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders.
Pre-lunch drinks consisted of a selection of ‘Champagne’ beers accompanied by appetisers of quinoa, cauliflower and leek, and fresh soya beans, turnip and sheep's cheese. Beer was served in wine glasses, as were other beers sampled over lunch.
Once seated, it was time for starters. I had opted for the vegetarian menu and was served confit tomatoes, potato, spinach and white asparagus paired with St Bernadus Tripel, a blond beer. My main course of goat's cheese, artichoke, green asparagus, wild garlic and pointed white cabbage was served with Kwaremont beer. Cheeses and apple and pear chutney followed accompanied by Duvel Hop beer and finally, dessert. The cremeux of café noir was served with chocolate beer which tasted like iced coffee. We weren't finished yet though, more temptations appeared with the tea and coffee in the shape of home-made petit fours - madeleines, chocolate peanut delights and orange macaroons.
Chef Didier Bourdeaux left his kitchen to chat with us - he is obviously passionate about his creations which everyone agreed were wonderful. Incidentally, I am not a beer lady, but did enjoy sipping on those we were given... extremely interesting, complex flavours.
And ..... an interesting story about how Didier's restaurant came to be called 'Maison D'. He and his wife Delphine bought an early 20th century building, former workplace of a doctor, a dermatologist in fact, called Dr Dewaele (can you see what's coming?!) and a veterinary surgeon called Dr Devos .... yes, Maison D made sense!
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