Sunday, 24 June 2012

Curry Ono, Brixton

Brixton Village Market is a bit of a foodie jizz-fest. Not literally - that wouldn't be hygienic. It's an indoor maze of restaurants and shops, all of the restaurants being pretty tiny and none taking bookings, so it becomes a kind of 'every man for himself' type operation. You really see the dark side of satchel-wearing media professionals when you're after a table at Franco Manca at 8pm on a Friday - and it isn't pretty.
Curry Ono is a little off the beaten track, and as a result hasn't been reviewed by any of the Big Guns. Or, the Big Gun. It's sat opposite some fruit and veg crates and next to a quirky looking Thai place. In relative terms, it's a little bigger than some of the neighbouring restaurants but still probably only seats around 30 in total. The inside is basic but artistic, with bright red lamps pretty stings of origami birds hanging from the ceiling. Crafty!
Curry Ono specialise in Japanese curries, as well as serving quite a big selection of other tapas-style starters. They also have a decent happy hour that runs from 6-8pm - you get a glass of wine or bottle of beer with a choice of starters for between £4 and £6. So, we took them up on it and got a bowl of edamame beans and a portion of Takoyaki with our drinks.
This is the takoyaki. They're a thick ball of batter surrounding a chunk of octopus. There's mayo on top, takoyaki sauce (a Japanese version of Worcestershire sauce) and the stuff that looks like I threw down a bunch of Rizla papers on my plate are actually Katsuobushi, or bonito flakes, ie. dried and fermented paper thin shavings of tuna. Very nice it was too, freshly fried but not greasy and the octopus inside was wasn't rubbery or chewy. Most of the menu comprises of a curry, with a selection of meat or vegetarian options, and a choice between rice and udon noodles. We got a chicken curry and 'menchi katsu' curry, described as a beef croquette, a coarsely ground beef pattie in panko breadcrumbs. Both were £7.70, pretty reasonable.
Our mains took 40 minutes to arrive, which was a little annoying but eventually they both came, swimming in a Katsu sauce, with rice, three sad looking green beans, some pickles, a wedge of lime. The beans were pretty overcooked but the main components of the dishes were great. the beef was a good texture, and the sauce was exactly as it should be - mild and comforting and thick. Generally the food we had was pretty damn authentic, despite our slightly chaotic visit, I would defo come back to try some of their smaller plates. 
The whole meal came to around £28 with service, which is bloody good given that we both had starters and drinks. They haven't had a great deal of press, but it looks like John, Roland, Hamish and Brett all had a pretty damn fantastic time here. Fine dinning indeed!

14C Market Row
Tel. 0207 326 1399
Opening Times:
Mon: 12:00 - 18:00
Tues - Wed: Closed
Thurs-Sat: 12:00 - 23:00
Sunday: 12:00 - 16:00

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