Mind The Gap food tour starts in Brixton Market where we can savor the fusion of Caribbean flavors, strong musical heritage and experimental restaurant scene of an authentically flavored London market. Brixton has had some controversial past due to riots and anti-establishment feelings but it is a vibrant and bustling suburb of London worth checking out! Brixton enjoys multi-cultural flavors & a rich history as well as the most innovative restaurants on the London foodie scene. Here our guide was showing us pictures of the popular riot right in front of where it happened. It was great to get a glimpse into the history by living it and breathing it!
Brixton is full of interesting murals which surprises you as there is a lot of history in every nook and corner of this market and suburb. This particular mural in Brixton train station displays to you the different sort of wares that you could buy in Brixton market over 30 years ago! This and another mural which is there in Brixton station were made in the 1980s by artists Karen Smith and Angie Biltcliffe who were working under the name Anchor Designs.
Brixton station also has the very unique life-size bronze sculptures of waiting passengers on the platform. Our guide mentioned that these sculptures were made by Kevin Atherton (b.1959) and were made of three volunteers who regularly used the station (Peter Lloyd, Joy Battick and Karin Heistermann). They were unveiled on 30th June 1986 by Sir Hugh Casson as part of a £1m renovation of the overground station in Brixton.
One interesting thing I got to know is that Brixton has it’s own currency which is legal too! Right in the heart of London! Can you believe that??!! The Brixton Pound is the local currency that builds a more resilient and inclusive economy, and creates community pride in Brixton. It’s money that sticks to Brixton. It is considered similar to British Sterling Pound in value but you could get paid a little extra earlier in the day if you ensured that you are spending most of your money inside Brixton and ensuring that it’s economy develops. I felt this was a very unique feature of the Brixton Pound!
Early on that Saturday morning, there was a line wrapping around the corner for the First Choice Bakery. The bakery supplies Jamaica patties, English and Caribbean breads, buns, confectionery and other specialties. We all hung around the multi-cultural Brixton Village Market as our guide stood in the line to get us some delicious burgers. It was great to see a lot of Caribbean influence specially Jamaican nationals in Brixton market. It was wonderful to note that many Indians and Europeans also made this vibrant market their home and rebuilt it after the riots to ensure that the culture remains intact!
Our last stop in Brixton Market during Mind The Gap food tour of London was Salon dining room which is located above Cannon & Cannons’ cheese shop at 18 Market Row. They cook fresh, seasonal and inventive food using the best produce they can get their hands on. We tried out some local craft beers and some cold cuts to go with them. Also one of the other unique dish I tried there was the Scotch Egg which is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and then baked.