A new Brixton food festival is set to showcase the area’s ethnic melting pot and vibrant restaurant scene this weekend.
Brixton Flavours will draw together more than 20 restaurants, bars and pop-ups from Atlantic Road to Coldharbour Lane and from Brixton Village to Market Row on October 26.
Visitors to the event exchange a £15 ticket for 15 Brixton Pounds (B£) to be spent at participating venues, with the first 250 people receiving a free drink.
The festival’s founder, Oliver Mernick-Levene, wants the day to be a celebration of Brixton’s mosaic of closely-knit eateries.
“Brixton has one of the most diverse cultures in all of London,” he explained. “You’ve got food from every single corner of the globe.
“We’ve got food from South America, North America, Europe, Asia. There are so many different flavours and that’s why we’re calling it Brixton Flavours.”
Mr Mernick-Levene, 27, thinks that the area’s layout lends itself perfectly to a day’s leisurely grazing at a food festival.
“You’ve got loads of restaurants all in a tiny little bubble, which are all pretty much walkable and we want to encourage people to explore all of the area in one go,” he said.
With at least 80 % of the revenue expected to make its way back into Brixton, businesses are set to benefit – both on the day and in the future, said Mr Mernick-Levene.
“It’s hopefully something that will bring a big business boost to the community for many months because people will hear about Brixton, try some of the food there and hopefully come back and tell their friends,” he said.
“Everyone knows that Brixton is amazing for food already, but we just need to shout about it and let the whole of London know as well.”
Brazilian restaurant Carioca, run by brothers Maurilio and Eusebio Goncalves, will be one of those spreading that message at Brixton Flavours.
Eusebio points to Brixton’s rich ethnic mix as one of the reasons for its cherished culinary reputation.
“Brixton is a place where you can see so many cultures come together and work together,” he said.
This blend of national identities has been distilled into a strong collective spirit between Brixton’s restaurateurs.
He explained: “We all work as one. We don’t have a community of Latin Americans, a community of Portuguese, a community of British – we all try to work together.
“Here in the market if someone needs anything we are more than happy to help them out. We have that bonding between us all that I think is perfect.”
Hammant Patel Villa, the Brixton born-and-bred owner of dim sum restaurant Courtesan on Atlantic Road, talks about dishes being ‘pulled out of the soil of Brixton’ by its innovative chefs.
“I think we have something quite unique in the world,” he said.
“People talk about lots of places being melting pots, and they’re not really.
Whereas Brixtoners, we’ve always been very accepting of new things.
“We’ve always had these creative talents, whether it be music or sport and now it’s food and drink.
“Brixton Flavours will give encouragement to those people who are trying new things. It can be something really important for us.”
Picture courtesy of Oxfordian, with thanks