Review: Parissi’s Little Secret is Out

Written by on March 28, 2015 in Food, Reviews - Comments Off on Review: Parissi’s Little Secret is Out


Thank god for Parissi. Recently opened, it is a pleasing newcomer to Brixton. In truth, I’m a bit apprehensive to write about it because at the moment it is a little secret gem and if anyone reads this, they’ll immediately want to go and I shall never get a table ever again. See, it appears that Atlantic Road is proving to be quite a formidable address for decent eats. I like the fact that it still feels like the real Brixton, especially on a Friday night. The beauty of this southern bit of Atlantic Road is that it is undiscovered by gastro-tourists who only stick to the Village or Market Row. Places like Parissi, Kaff Bar, Fujiyama and the like are still accessible to those of us who don’t particularly feel like queuing an hour for a cheeseburger.

And who would want one anyway when Parissi serves food that is prepared with simplicity and ingredients of the highest standard? Open early providing coffee, homemade pastries and that holy grail of North African breakfasts, shakshuka (eggs baked in spicy tomato sauce and topped with pecorino cheese and herbs) for Brixton commuters, it is also open late on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner, serving a range of mezze, wine and luscious-sounding cocktails. Its deli counter is full of beautiful handmade cakes and sandwiches for the hours in between. In essence, you could stay there all day quite happily.

My friend and I ate babaganoush, a mixed mezze platter of cured meats and cheeses, as well as bouyardi (baked feta cheese), and Italian fennel sausages. Bread was ordered, essential for sopping up any remaining sauces and oils; and a mellow Pinot Noir and some fine Prosecco arrived too, proving themselves elegant companions for the food. The babaganoush was a legendary mesh of smoked aubergines, fresh tomatoes, garlicky olive oil and velvety tahini. Italian fennel sausages were few but satisfying. Slices of the aniseed-y porky wonders were mixed with potatoes and tempered by the mild sweetness of the peppers, tomato sauce providing a vibrant richness.

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The mixed mezze platter was beautifully presented with mortadella, prosciutto, aged chevre, emmenthal, manchego, and creamy blue cheese, gussied up in the best possible way with slices of gherkin, dark, beautiful grapes, and fresh rocket. Bouryardi is something that everyone needs in life. Aged Greek feta was baked in aluminium foil, with sweet roasted peppers, fresh oregano, olive oil and tomatoes. The result was a warm, creamily herbaceous and salty thing of greatness, the cheese soft and slightly oozy. It was by far our favourite dish of the evening.

IMG-20150315-WA0002The meal ended with mint tea and homemade cakes: blueberry tartlet and banana, chocolate and hazelnut cake. The body of the blueberry tart was cake, but its base was pastry, creating a crumbly but spongy combination; blueberries exploding in the mouth at each bite. Banana, chocolate and hazelnut cake was moist, with the perfect amount of sweetness. Chocolate provided depth, with hazelnuts as a quiet backdrop, providing texture and a hint of flavour.

What I loved most about Parissi was its inherent confidence to allow the quality of its ingredients to do the talking. There is no overcomplicating of dishes; most have only four or five components, and the result is simple yet tasty, nourishing food. In a setting that is intimate, welcoming and instantly charming, I find myself hoping that Parissi remains Brixton’s little secret. The reality is, with food this good, I will probably be shouting about it from the rooftops, only to return and join its queue.

Dinner for two, with drinks and service £70

Lindsay blogs at

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