Tag Archives: Brixton Rd

(Speedy) REVIEW: In defence of Speedy Noodle

After an outraged tweet by Vanessa G about our failure to review Speedy Noodle on Brixton Rd, we challenged her to rectify the wrong and tell us why she loves it so much

Speedy Noodle, which proudly dominates the space between Risky and HSBC on Brixton Rd, has long been serving the community with its extensive menu of far-Eastern cuisine.

Given that Brixton is now celebrated as a foodie haven, with restaurants, bars and delis revered by mainstream press and citizen journalists alike, why has Speedy Noodle, one of our original independent eateries been overlooked? Some might say it’s due to the bright lighting and clinical feel, some might be suspicious that anywhere so cheap could possibly hold any quality. Most, I suspect, are mere snobs who choose not the stray from the Village Tourist Trail. Yet, for those not yet initiated, it offers many virtues, albeit with a lack of shabby-chic bunting.

You enter into a vast area with on-trend communal bench style seating, enabling you to get close enough to listen to other diners’ arguments if you so wish, or to sneak into a far corner for a private discussion with your own lover.

The lighting is indeed bright and somewhat unflattering, but at least this clearly illuminates the menu – and what a vast menu it is.

While so many places now choose to restrict their meal choices to one or two offers, Speedy Noodle offers well over a hundred different dishes, most of which are served with either rice, or noodles (both arrive equally speedily). Vegetarians are well catered for, with a range of vegetable and soya-protein dishes. The restaurant is licensed although there is a good selection of non-alcoholic drink options available.

The portions are large and, quite frankly, delicious. Don’t start protesting with your MSG-related worries. Deep in your heart you know that if some tasty meals were served in a more fashionable location they would be well praised. The fact that, thanks to its convenient late opening times, Speedy Noodle is the perfect late-night eatery after a few pints should not be allowed to overshadow another fact – the food is yum.

Perhaps most importantly, in these budget-conscious times of austerity, Speedy Noodle is cheapcheapcheap, with mains around the £4 range. I would highly recommend a visit  to anyone looking for a cheap, filling and unpretentious meal in Brixton.


Filed under Uncategorized

Riot week

After a week dominated by the riots, Emma Reynolds – who witnessed the looting in Brixton and was interviewed on the BBC last Monday – describes her experiences and looks back over the week’s events

As I was pushed up against KFC facing a man in a motorbike helmet striding at me with a metal pole, I wondered if I’d still feel quite so safe in Brixton any more. But mostly, as he demanded my phone, I was just praying that he wouldn’t hurt me.

After pleading, shamefully and falsely, that the photo was ‘for a friend’, I scurried desperately towards a male passer-by, who rushed away from me. Perhaps he reasonably didn’t want to get involved with the idiots taking pictures, but it was alarming how quickly survival instinct had taken hold of us all.

I should mention that both men appeared to be white – although it was hard to tell with the rioter in the helmet. Race didn’t matter – neither was feeling neighbourly right then.  The police around the corner were keeping their distance, too.
Luckily, I escaped the predicament I’d landed myself in and ended up with a colleague, Ailsa Leslie, watching as a burning Foot Locker was tackled by fire-fighters beyond a line of riot police that stretched across the high street.

The earlier crowd of screaming, running youths had been replaced by voyeurs with cameras, intermingled with excitable teenagers shouting that they were off to the jeweller’s. The supposedly organised looters still seemed a little haphazard, aimlessly banging makeshift weapons against railings and smashing shop windows, charging up and down, whooping and phoning friends to join them.

Social networking tactics now blamed by politicians hardly seemed the point at that stage – the rioters seemed to feel like marauding warriors, laying waste to the neighbourhood and revelling in their moment of glory.
Yes, consumerism and greed ran through all this – as they run through our society – but it seemed enough to merely be part of something big, to break things and slash and burn a street of shops into boarded-up junkyards.
Who hasn’t wanted to trash something when frustrated? It was a chance to mount a raid with few apparent repercussions.

Of course, you’ll have to ask a rioter about that, something that that few have done. Those who have spoken have vaguely claimed to be fighting for what they deserve from big, rich companies, or showing what they think of the ‘authorities’.
Many commentators have quashed this by saying the thieves were opportunistic, thuggish, even evil. Their haphazard logic does not seem to stand up, and they were attacking their own neighbourhoods.
But that is an extreme step – certainly one that has not been seen, even in the Brixton of bad repute, for decades. Someone has to be seriously troubled if they are not just hurting others, but destroying what is theirs.

Just as confused as some of the mob, we eventually realised they were running up Effra Road – where I live – and we tried to follow from a safe distance this time, filming on our phones as subtly as we could. Passing wheelie bins blazing in the road, Ailsa and I saw that the big target was now Currys, the electrical store in the retail park.

We stood sheltering from the driving rain under a tree on a hillock by the road, as masses of people clattered into the grill behind the now splintered glass. It was like watching a war, and while the police waited in their lines not two minutes away, the metal crumpled upwards and girls and boys swarmed through the car park carrying huge TVs and using boxed computers like umbrellas.

A few boys in hoods started noticing our cameras and got aggressive, chucking heavy chunks of granite at our backs as we walked carefully away. Only groups of rioters were left in the hushed streets, intimidating in hoods and balaclavas.
Later, we saw a high-spirited jumble of teenagers carrying items like vacuum cleaners alongside people with knives and other, more unpleasant, elements – a man ready to hit a 10-year-old to abduct his looted television. A helicopter hovered just above and the police finally moved in as screeching tyres, sirens and shouting kids rang out until 3am.

It was little in comparison to the shocking reports of burning Tottenham and Enfield. A night later, Peckham, Croydon and Clapham faced department store raids, burning vehicles and shops razed to the ground. Richer parts of London, such as Camden, suffered as much as Brixton. Then, the rest of the country.

Of course the events were concentrated around poorer areas, but earlier that day, while Brixton Splash festival was taking place, people had issued dire predictions for our historically violent area. Was it a self-fulfilling prophesy?
I’ll continue to tell people that Brixton is safe, diverse and vibrant – but I will also face head on the fact that some people living in the area feel disconnected from it and many of those who have grown up here, unlike Johnny-come-latelies like myself.

The riot clean-up drives have been inspiring and reassuring in such a bleak period, but warm and fuzzy gestures are not enough. If we care about Brixton, then we should do more than tweeting about the horror of it all before heading for an organic pizza in the market. As Brixton becomes increasingly gentrified, it isn’t right that the class divide should increase until people want to rip up phone boxes and set Nando’s alight.

We can’t change everything the government does, but we can keep volunteering, donating, getting involved in local activities, campaigning about the broader social issues and waking up to the fact that everyone who lives here has a right to share in this community.

Videos by @emmareyn and @subedited

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Vox Pops: What’s the best way to tackle gang crime in Brixton?

We think the debate over at Shepherd’s Bush Blog is one we should be having more openly in Brixton too, so we’ve asked some locals (and even one Shepherds Bush resident on Brixton Rd) about what they think to open up debate here. Please do add your own comments.

Interviews by Kaye Wiggins and Zoe Jewell

Suriya Ramprasad, newsagent on Tulse Hill (asked not to be photographed)

“Working here at night, I don’t feel safe. People come in with guns and knives. They don’t care about other people and they have no respect. I don’t know what the solution is. The only thing that might help is more police on the streets, but they also need to stop the drugs problem because that is a big part of it.”

Lachie Gordon, bartender at the Hootananny

“I live in Oval and work in Brixton, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that looked like a gang, either when I’ve been at work or when I’ve been out at night. I remember reading that Clapham Road had been closed because of violence and I think that might have been gang-related but I’m not sure. Either way, it’s not something that affects me.”

Nabs, 35, Shepherd’s Bush resident

“It’s more about schooling – get them early and get them right! Teach children well, from about five or six, and that will make all the difference. They need to learn how to interact properly with people. It’s about them getting into the right mindset from the beginning.”

Manuel Mendes, local resident

“I don’t see too much trouble, but sometimes around the main roads it can be bad. We need to give young people more of a chance to get involved in activities to fill their time. It’s also about giving them a better education in schools.”

Artor, 37, Brixton resident

“Is there much gang crime? They should educate the youth. I’m not so aware of the problem here actually, but I think essentially young people should have guidance. All these feral teens – in a way it’s a waste of energy because there’s lots of talent among them but somehow their minds aren’t opened to it. I think it’s very important for parents to push their children to achieve.”

Katem Alebranche, local resident

“I think the problem is more about individual people getting drunk and causing trouble than about gangs, although I think there is some gang violence. But what can you do about it? Not much. I don’t think having more police is the right solution. You need to go into schools, talk to the kids and educate the parents as well.”


Filed under Uncategorized

The Brixton Week Ahead

Tuesday 17: The Lambeth Readers’ and Writers’ Festival is taking place this week. At tonight’s event, Ian Smith talks about his new biography of Edward Whymper, a mountaineering hero who completed the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865, aged just 25. Shadow of the Matterhorn: The lIfe of Edward Whymper with Ian Smith, 7pm, Minet Library.

Thursday 19: Photofusion is hosting its first ever ‘Slideshow Slam!’ – an evening event for members and the interested public. There’ll be slideshows of work by Photofusion members such as Robert Hackman and Krystina Stimakovits plus music and a cheap bar. For photographers and photography fans alike.

Friday 20: It’s the Readers’ and Writers’ festival again –  Lambeth Libraries have put together a Women Writers’ Panel with authors Chris Manby, Lotte Daley, Gillian Hudson and Helen Smith. They’ll discuss chick lit and more. Women writers’ panel, 7pm, Brixton Library.

And the weekly Bump! night at Plan b features Xploder and Kiss FM DJ, DJ Swerve. But will it live up to David Rodigan’s fantastic Bump! appearance last week?

Saturday 21: As part of their campaign to stop cuts to public services, Lambeth Save Our Services has called a ‘People’s Assembly’ at the Town Hall from 12-4pm – ‘a festival of resistance and an organising centre to…plan for action’. There will be workshops, music and speeches. Speakers include Ted Knight (the former Lambeth Council leader), UK Uncut, and John McDonnell MP.

Sunday 22: Try out Kizomba dancing – an Angolan dance genre –  at the beginners class at El Penol club on Brixton Rd from 6pm. You’re encouraged to stay on at the club night afterwards to practice your moves.6pm-6.45pm at El Penol, 382-384 Brixton Rd. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Brixton Elderflowers

Rachel Manley, our resident food blogger and brunch hostess, gives a guide to finding elderflowers in Brixton – and tells us what to do with them once we’ve got them

Where to find elderflowers in Brixton

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting excited about elderflower season since about February and the unseasonably good weather has only spurred me on. After an ill-fated trip to find some on Hampstead Heath (I knew I shouldn’t have ventured north of the river), I feel like I can’t move now for spotting the fuzzy white flowers all over Brixton.

If you’re planning on knocking up a batch, here’s where I’ve spotted some prime elderflowers (NB: some of them are in people’s front gardens, so it’s only polite to knock and ask permission before plundering their trees).


Brixton Rd, roughly opposite the petrol station

St Matthew’s Rd, Effra Rd side

Chaucer Rd, Dulwich Rd side

Brockwell Park – I spotted them at the Brixton Water Lane entrance and then behind the Lido. I’m sure there are plenty more in the park.

Wyck Gardens, off Loughborough Road (a recommendation from @northsouthfood)

Spotted more? Share the knowledge in the comments.

What to do with the elderflowers?

You’ll need about 20-30 ‘heads’ to make cordial, plenty of sugar, lemons and some citric acid (I bought mine in Nour Cash and Carry, but you can probably find it with the spices in most of the shops in Brixton Market).  Oh, and you can get muslin (to strain the cordial through) in one of the many fabric shops in Brixton for next to nothing.

I like this recipe but I leave it to steep for a good 48 hours.  The finished cordial will keep for 3-4 months in the fridge.

You can also try making elderflower champagne, but I prefer to add the cordial to cheap fizz for a yummy cocktail. It’s also deliciously refreshing mixed with sparkling water, slices of cucumber and mint, maybe with a splash of gin too?


Filed under Uncategorized

Unison Protest outside Brixton Town Hall

The cuts continue unabated and there was a double whammy of protests outside Lambeth Town Hall last night. Save Lambeth Libraries campaign demonstrated against staff cuts, reduced services and possible closures, while other groups lobbied the council over cuts to children’s services. Here are a few pics:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


Kaye Wiggins, out taking photographs this weekend, noticed something funny in the Victorian-looking clock above McDonald’s: nowhere is safe from the golden arches…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Holland and Barrett

Another shop has popped up on the Brixton high street – and it’s not a pop up. It’s a Holland & Barrett. But don’t forget about Brixton Wholefoods on Atlantic Rd.


Filed under Uncategorized