SW4 THE SW4 GOOD TAKEAWAY GUIDE CHIPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK BRACING THE
SUBURBS Francs Isaac and the expanding universe
Here’s how I know I’m getting old. For four weekends out of the last five I’ve been on a train or bus, travelling out to the edge of town to see friends. The reasons are different: booze and football lads’ nights; kid’s birthdays; meeting new significant others for the first time; and the locations are different. But on every one of those four occasions, I’ve found myself pottering around, sometimes consulting my phone for an address or street map to guide me, and slowly, grudgingly, making my peace with London’s outskirts. For years I could cheerfully ask the question,
‘Croydon – why?’ I was born in Waterloo (not in the station; I wasn’t found in a handbag and I’m not a bear from Peru), and grew up in central and inner London. I used to laugh when, back in the ‘Dark Ages’, TimeOut would to run pieces about late night drinking. No one needed to tell me where I could get a drink after hours. There were always places. Invisible from the street back bars, shutters half down shops and ramshackle basement joints, lost in the maze of quiet side roads, you probably wouldn’t walk down at night, unless you were drunk already. But when you did, it was the crush in the heart of the city that kept you warm. Once, as a youth, I had to catch the tube up to
Edgware. Not Edgware Road, you understand, I mean Edgware at the top of the Northern Line. There’s a park up there I ended up in; I recall it, even now, with dread. The map in my hand bid me traverse this enormous open expanse, multiple football fields in size and bordered by trees. ‘Sure,’ you may say, reclining in comfort, reading this, the chances of a tottering Wicker Man or a couple of shotgun wielding cousins, with an ear for high pitched, porcine, puling, hiding just beyond the tree line, were pretty slim. I simply was not prepared to take the chance. I made it about half way across before turning back. It was awful. That was many years ago. As it happens, my recent travels have taken me back to Croydon, for the first time in a long time. I still don’t want to live there but it is a lot better than I remember it. And my friends that do live out in the suburbs are all perfectly happy. Like everything, as you get older, it’s a trade-off. They may have to get the train into work, but at least when it snows they’ve got a good excuse for not being able to make it in. That I do envy.
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Not much beats fish and chips on a Friday night and with Clapham’s oldest family run chip shop on hand in Old Town, one can certainly rest assured that their takeaway meal is in safe hands. Situated on North Street, Benny’s is owned by the delightful Ben Stylianou, who is also an actor and television presenter (and who also bears an uncanny resemblance to actor David Jason). Benny’s scrumptious offerings are bursting with old school flavours, the shop spans three generations and Ben and his wife run the shop with their son Ben Jr. Often frequented by local celebrities and Clapham’s glitterati, Benny’s is also a favourite with the national press and television. Established in 1975 by Ben’s father, Benny’s has been serving Clapham locals for over 35 years and their takeaway dishes continue to wow.
With a focus on fresh produce and healthy eating, this takeaway cares about the customer’s palette. Chips are cooked in groundnut oil and all fish produce is sustainable. Standards are high in this traditional takeaway; Benny’s barbecue spit roast chicken and spare ribs is certainly a must try. And one cannot come to Benny’s and not indulge in their signature fish and chips, with the most delicious tasting mushy peas, made on the premises. This is fish and chips at its very best, with great quality cod prepared in a light, fine tasting batter. Along with cod, other fish options include rock, plaice and haddock, as well as calamari served with green salad, alongside breaded scampi with lemon. Benny’s burgers are somewhat legendary, cooked on a flatbread griddle. Options include the Quarter Pounder, Chicken burger served with green salad and its Egg burger and infamous Crazy Bull burger, which is stacked with burgers, salad, onions and egg, is a popular request among customers. Also on offer as an accompaniment, is that
old favourite, yes folks, burger sauce. Vegetarian offerings include cheesy
chips, falafel with pitta bread, cheese salad pitta, freshly cooked mushrooms in batter alongside freshly cut and prepared onion rings. Great tasting Lamb Doner kebabs are also on offer and Benny’s pies, which include steak and kidney and chicken with mushroom, are free of artificial flavours and preservatives and provide a very hearty option. Cornish pasties are also available, along with traditional sides such as pickled egg, pickled onion, gravy and gherkins. Benny’s fried chicken dish, which comes with chips, is prepared in its own special seasoning. Made on the premises, it is lightly fried in its own specially prepared batter. Ben also creates his own unusual dishes, such as the Valentines Day Cod and dishes to commemorate the Queen’s birthday. With their focus on traditional cooking and best quality products, it is not surprising that customer loyalty is big at Benny’s. Many customers have been going there since childhood; Ben has watched them grow up and today is serving their families and grandchildren. With the friendliest takeaway owner in town and first class customer service, Benny’s is indeed a neighbourhood gem. If you fancy a takeaway meal that offers a truly authentic takeaway experience, décor and all, best to pop down to Benny’s; it’s well worth the visit.
Benny’s, 30 North Street, SW4 0HD 0207 622 5868. Telephone orders are available for collection. For menu updates and special offers, follow bennyschippy on twitter.
YUM SW4 BRAZIL IN SW4 MINCE PIES
Beautiful barbeque Brazilian fare has hit the high street, since Rodizio Brazil opened it doors in Clapham North. With live music and dancing, along with an amazing array of 15 different barbeque meats available, accompanied by delicious traditional dishes, this eatery is set to become a neighbourhood favourite. Rodizio Brazil boasts an authentic menu where sizzling barbeque meats on large skewers are served at your table. Owned by Joseph Riess, it offers locals a great dining experience, where diners can eat as much they like for a most reasonable set price. Hot Brazilian dishes and an extensive salad buffet are also available, where diners can help themselves. Including rice, a hearty beef option and succulent chicken, along with fish dishes; other hot options consist of a delicious tasting mix of slow cooked aubergines, sweet peppers, carrots and onions. Its salad bar option offers a mind spinning choice of 20 fresh, exciting and creative salads, ranging from Brazilian chicken salad to chickpeas with tuna and onion, along with seafood salad. Options also include tomato salad, Mediterranean salad, mixed bean salad or beet with honey and olive oil salad. Rodizio Brazil’s Brazilian barbeque meat is a tradition that stems
from Southern Brazil, where gauchos, cowboys, perfected the skill of slow roasting meat over an open fire. Open daily, for lunch and dinner, the salad bar and hot dishes only option starts from £6.95. For the full Rodizio experience, which includes a host of barbeque meats, hot dishes and salad options are available to diners for a set price of 19.95. It also offers a mini Rodizio buffet option at £12.95, a children’s menu for £9.95 and a tasty and varied vegetarian menu option for £12.95. Fish of day is also on the menu, along with rump and sirloin steak dishes. With traditional home made desserts and appetizers, including its must-try hot, sweetened barbeque pineapple delicacy, this is a taste of Brazil bound to leave you wanting more - no matter how often you visit the buffet.
Rodizio Brazil, 62 Clapham High Street, SW4 7UL 0207 727 3748 www.rodiziobrazil.com
Christmas is nearly upon us... or so the supermarkets would have us believe. What better way to ease yourself into the season by making your own mince pies?
Makes 18 pies: preparation 20 minutes, cooking time 20 minutes
Ingredients 225g Diced butter 350g Plain flour
100g Golden caster sugar 280g Mincemeat 1 Beaten egg Milk In It Frozen Yoghurt
Method 1. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour, add sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball, do not add liquid and knead briefly. The dough should be fairly firm.
2. Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Line 18-holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon the mincemeat into the pies.
3. Use smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover each pie. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal - do not seal with milk or egg as they will stick on their own.
4. Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Serve warm with frozen yoghurt.
Milk In It,1 The Pavement, Clapham Common, SW4 0HY www.milkinit.co.uk/recipes
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