Beast for Sore Eyes

Abby Jones gets her Sunday service at Beast of Brixton

The Beast of Brixton opened its secret door almost five years ago, and the secret spread. Word of mouth will tell you it is one of Brixton’s favourite Sunday lunches.

The Beast has recently opened up the downstairs as a coffee shop cafe, but the charm of the upstairs prevails, and it’s Sunday roasts (and late-night parties) where James Duke-Evans and Will Nelson’s beastly souls reside.

It feels like the last day of a late summer as we sit bang in the middle of the room, window open to the panorama of Acre Lane, enjoying the Sunday sunshine and Brixton breeze, to a backdrop of funky soul.

They have done well at making the room comfortable (much needed when you’re in for a roast) as well as friendly and fun. The decor fits the building, pretty wallpaper meets rock memorabilia; gothic tattoo parlour meets your gran’s house all at the same time. Shabby chic meets retro chintz.

The hardest part is choosing between the Sunday options, but the beastly boys are anti-food waste and are often selling out, so there is a smart pre-order service to make sure you get what you want (and nothing gets wasted). Choose between: The Beast, 25-day dry-aged striploin of beef, The Bird, Banham Farm hen, The Bleeter, leg of Pennine Lonk lamb, The Swine, Gloucester Old Spot pork belly and The Herbivore, slow roasted butternut squash stuffed with pearl barley risotto.

We chose The Herbivore and The Beast. The beef showed its age (as it were), proper flavour, pink in the middle with a deep, sticky, veal reduction gravy. Roasted squash and pearl barley was nicely textured, tasty and not the apologetic offerings the veggie and vegan are sometimes faced with.

A stellar supporting cast of mini carrots, good roasties, big Yorkshire puds, broccoli, parsnip puree and, my highlight, indulgently creamed leeks.

There is relaxed fine dining flourish scattered around, the beef came with an ox cheek beignet, braised cheek, deep fried in Japanese panko breadcrumbs. Classy elevating touches and little feelgood twists.

Pricely niced as well, herbivore under £15, beef £17. For those not planning to do anything for the rest of their Sunday, double down with two roast meats and all the trimmings for £23. Come hungry and leave full should be the core requirement of Sunday dining, followed by a lie down in front of Last of the Summer Wine re-runs.

The Beast is not only proud of its roasts, it’s bloomin’ proud of its cocktails too. As any medical professional will tell you, a few cocktails really help a roast go down and Sundays can often have a hair of the dog remedial requirement. Alongside their outstanding Bloody Marys, other cocktails to assist digestion include a refreshing gin-based Country Cup, the hearty Rumbunctious (rum & ginger combo), The Moonwalk which matches Cointreau, grapefruit, rose water and prosecco and a Peach Jam Sour which is suitably frothy in its own excitement.

The Beast roars its mighty mischief over Acre Lane like a rebellious teenager in its upstairs bedroom but has definitely brought a maturity to its roast rebellion, joint by joint, gravy test by gravy test, into something beautiful. Like the tiger who came to tea, this is the Beast that came to Brixton.

89 Acre Lane, SW2 5TN | 07514 753063 | thebeastofbrixton.co.uk | @beastofbrixton

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