London Staycation…Part 1

For the past two Sundays my family and I have staycationed in London in some unexpected places. The first is Brixton, just a 15 minute journey from our home by bus it is a vibrant neighborhood in the throes of gentrification that rapid development to meet the demand of people who are priced out of the central areas inevitably brings. Despite the fact that I’ve lived in London just a few miles away for nearly a year now, Brixton had remained just a pass-through on my way to catch the Victoria line heading into central London…until last Saturday when on my way home from a Pimm’s themed brunch in Canonbury, my friend and I stopped in Brixton for an after brunch bite. (Sidebar, if you haven’t already figured out from my previous posts I am a self proclaimed adventurous foodie and almost nothing excites me more than good food.)

It's Pimm's o'clock

We decided to check out the Brixton Pop Box, a mini village of boxcars that had been repurposed as food and clothing stalls serving up cool vibes along side a tasty and eclectic mix of food and drinks. Patrons can kick back and enjoy sports on the big screen or dance along with a band or DJ playing on stage while indulging in foods from various cultures prepared in untraditional ways accompanied by craft beers, sake shots and the British staple, Gin mixed in fresh and interesting cocktails.  Looking for a small bite to compliment my earlier meal of steak frites, I opted for the tacos at Maria Sabina and a pistachio cupcake from Super Cute to top it off

I was excited to return the next day with my kids to try more delicious food when along the way we spotted large graffiti art displays with several artists still at work creating vibrant murals. We hopped off the bus to explore what turned out to be the Annual Urban Art Festival. The festival featured the works of many local artists along several blocks in Brixton. We stopped to take pictures of the murals and enjoy the art before venturing further down the high street to the Black Cultural Archives which was free and open to the public.  After a thought provoking tour of the photography exhibit documenting the Black experience in London from the 1950’s through the 1980’s we finally made our way to the Brixton Pop Box.

 

The kids were excited as I was to try the different foods. This time I went for chicken nachos with an Indian twist from Baba G’s while the kids tried the jerked chicken wings and jerked sweet potato fries from Mama’s Jerk, finished of course with cupcakes from Super Cute. I tell no lie when I tell you that those nachos were the best EVER. I can’t wait to try everything on the menu. (P.S. I’ve since returned for the chicken burger and I struggle to find the adjectives to describe the experience…it was just that good).

With our bellies full, we strolled around watching a bit of the Wimbledon match on the big screen and a casual game of table tennis. We left to make our way back home just as the evening crowd started to build. The experience of the day made me nostalgic for Brooklyn. The combination of urban grit meets nouveau cool was very reminiscent of the pre-gentrified Atlantic Antic street festival of the 1990’s mixed with the see and be seen scene of Habana Outpost of today.  If I had to sum it up I would say the Pop Box had a late 90’s/early 2000’s Fort Greene vibe which made me feel right at home. It was a good day.

If you’re in London and looking for something cool and off the beaten path check out the Brixton Pop Box.

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