REVIEW: Seasonal and simple at Salon Brixton


Nick Balfe by Tim Mitchell
Nick Balfe in his restaurant. Picture by Tim Mitchell @mrtimmitchell

Hidden away above Cannon and Cannon in Market Row is the restaurant with the best view in Brixton. Salon’s small dining room allows you a bird’s eye view of the bustle of Brixton market while you relax and enjoy a meal with a great selection of wine.

Head chef Nicholas Balfe (above) is business partner with Joe and Sean Cannon and Salon’s menu features both cheese and charcuterie, skilfully used alongside seasonal British ingredients to create imaginative and modern three course lunches and dinners.

Salon sources only the very best produce and it’s no surprise to hear that much of it comes from traders in the market such as Dombey’s Meats, Clive’s veg stall on Pope’s Road and community growers in Tulse Hill. The restaurant has fitted in well locally since opening in December 2012 due to its community connections and loyal regulars.

Salon offers an informal take on the tasting menu style of British cooking. Very different to the eat-and-go style elsewhere in the market, Nick and his team of chefs take their time crafting clever and thoughtful plates of food. We sampled fresh figs with goats cheese rolled in ash and pickled elderberries, pollock with sweetcorn puree and girolles, followed by chocolate pudding with homemade ricotta and port macerated blackberries. Each dish was the perfect representation of late summer mingling with early autumn and excited me about the wonderful food we have in Britain.

The simple room and dedicated staff stops Salon from feeling fussy or stilted if you only associate this kind of food with tense chefs on the Great British Menu. They know that this style of food makes Salon the place people come for special occasions and they try to make sure everyone feels special when they visit. They aim to make it somewhere to really enjoy and keep service familiar while the produce varies.

Salon also hosts events and supper clubs featuring collaborations with other chefs. This allows them to keep everything as fresh as the food and is in keeping with how the restaurant came to exist. Fresh from Brunswick House Cafe and working with the Young Turks at the Ten Bells, Nick created the restaurant in just eight weeks last year after a successful supper club collaboration with Cannon and Cannon.

I’ve eaten here several times and each time, I’ve been charmed by the food. Prices start at £12.95 for a 2 course lunch or £29 for a 4 course dinner. Portions are generous and a three-course meal will leave you very content indeed. Despite the charcuterie connection, vegetables shine here and non-meat eaters will find much to love. But a visit is also a wonderful way to sample produce from the deli downstairs and a particularly favourite place of mine to mark important events. The fact that you can indulge in a small sherry or two and some beautiful wines with each course before rolling home is a bonus!

Salon: above Cannon and Cannon, 18 Market Row.

Open for dinner: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday until 11.
Lunch: Friday and Saturday. Sundays: tasting events and functions. Christmas feasting available throughout December.

To book and discuss event hire: call 0207 501 9152 or email