Cannon & Cannon, Market Row (opp Express Cafe)
Downstairs deli open Tues-Sun 11 til 5.30
Upstairs salon open Thurs night (6 til 10.30) through Fri (12 til 10.30pm, Sat (12 – 10.30pm) then Sun (12 til 3.30pm)
Sometimes if you wish very very hard, you will get what you wanted. Ever since I moved to Brixton I’ve been wishing that there was somewhere that sold a wide selection of (preferably British) great cheeses nearby. So imagine how excited I was when that wish was granted, and then some, with the opening of Cannon & Cannon in Market Row a few weeks ago. Not just excellent cheesemongers, they also sell my other great love in the shape of charcuterie. It was like all my Christmases come at once!
Cannon & Cannon are the work of brothers Joe and Sean who hail from Norfolk and have a deep and abiding love of British cheeses and charcuterie and want to introduce everyone else to these undersung food heroes. They’ve been selling at Borough Market for quite a while and offering Londoners to a smorgasbord of meat and cheese treats from the British Isles, but they haven’t been able to keep up with demand and interest so have branched out and opened their own place in Market Row to give people more of a chance to sample their wares.
Just opposite Wild Caper and Rosie’s Deli, it’s Tardis like in size. Downstairs is a nice sized deli draped in beautiful salamis and crammed with mouthwatering British cheeses where you can pop in and pick up a little snippet of something to start a meal with or to make up for the fact the weather has really been too rainy to picnic properly so far. There’s something for everyone including some amazing spicy vegan tofu jerky in the chiller cabinet, but without being such a big selection you feel overwhelmed.
But if you can’t wait to get things home, you can go upstairs and take a seat and sample a selection of dishes and platters of cured meats and cheese over a drink or two. The menu looks deceptively short, but you can construct your own platters with a combination of two cheeses, two meats and two side dressings from a good selection on the blackboard while there are also bar snacks and small plates (including vegetarian dishes) and a cheeseboard to choose from.
Everything is excellent quality and done with consideration, detail and love. The nuts are hand shelled and roasted with rosemary and chilli and Sean and Joe are perfectly happy to see you come in just for those and a glass of sherry, but I think it’s unlikely you’ll be able to resist the temptation of trying something else. I started with the smoked pig’s cheek board (£7) and was amazed by the mountain of thinly sliced meat, thick Brick House sourdough bread and bowl of caperberries that arrived. It would have fed two easily, but it didn’t stop me savouring every slice of the silky bacon like meat and the soft bread.
I kept some room for one of the mixed platters (£7.50), picking a British Binham Blue cheese and a Welsh Gorwydd Caerphilly alongside some air dried ham from Trealy Farm, thinly shaved cold smoked mutton and a date chutney. The cheeses were fabulous. The Binham Blue wasn’t too strong and the Caerphilly was a million miles from the chalky commercial stuff. I ate the lot. The air dried ham didn’t wow me, but that’s possibly because the mutton was the star of every show. It was the best cured meat I’ve ever had. Totally unlike any European charcuterie I’ve had, it showcased the British version perfectly with its strong animal flavours and rich taste. It was superb.
This summed up Cannon & Cannon for me. It takes something you think you know well and allows you to enjoy them but also introduces you to new things with enthusiasm and without snobbery. Enjoying the great food and the relaxed surroundings, I tried something else new with the Stichelton plate and Muscat wine (£8.50). I’ve never had an unpasteurised cheese before or a dessert wine and was pleasantly surprised by both. The cheese was rich and creamy but not overpowering and the wine wasn’t the sickly drink I expected, but as good as all their other excellent wines.
You could could go to Cannon & Cannon for a proper meal due to the size of the platters and variety of dishes, but it’s equally welcoming for a pre Ritzy drink and nibble or a post market meal cheeseboard and glass of wine. It fills a niche for good quality wine that none of the local pubs seem to and its relaxed atmosphere makes it a good bet for catching up with friends, whether as a small group or a party at the big table (which you can reserve if you ask nicely even though they don’t do bookings.)
Even though they specialise in meat, cheese and wine, there’s plenty to offer everyone with good beers, non meat and non pork products and their attention to detail deserves to be rewarded. Pop in for a quick one or linger over the choice, it’s your choice, but you can sample as much wine, ale or coffee as you fancy as unlike many Market Row places, they have their own loo! Just don’t wait too long to go. This is going to become one of the most popular spots in the market…
Miss South blogs at NorthSouth Food.