Kerbisher & Malt arrives in Clapham, three foodie book releases this autumn and three of the best ketchups available in South West London, by Sudi Pigott
Clapham’s Abbeville Road seems to be on an unstoppable restaurant roll. Joining favourites Abbeville Kitchen and Bistro Union and offering informal eating with take-out too, yet without forsaking my fanatical insistence on best sourced and sustainable ingredients, Kerbisher & Malt is unsuprisingly doing gleeful trade in redefining standards for local fish and chips. No wonder Heston Blumenthal has said ‘K & M takes the very essence of a chippy and just makes it so much better.’ Calamari are both crisp and succulent. Fish is luscious whether haddock grilled, cod fried in matzah meal (as my grandmother used to do) or fried in not too much batter. There’s no need for any accompaniment beyond the fluffy, double cooked, properly thick chips. Though, there’s decent, freshly made tartare sauce too. There are not many leather banquettes inside, so I’d advise booking ahead especially as there’s a good choice of interesting London beers and Luscombe ginger ale and lemonade too.
50 Abbeville Road, London SW4 9NF; 020 3417 4350; kerbisher.co.uk
I had a thrilling preview of MasterChef winner Tim Anderson’s first book based on cuisine from deep South of Japan at his month long Brixton Market Cafe pop-up (for next culinary visitors see market-house.co.uk). Dishes are vibrant with umami (the fifth savoury taste) with punchy, clean flavours. Best was the simplest – grilled shitake mushrooms, sliced thin, that I had smothered in yuzu (concentrated juice of this Japanese citrus now available in Waitrose) and chilli. With a nod to Brixton, I enjoyed salt fish and ackee croquettes with katsu dipping sauce. Noodle mains included a chilli-rich ramen broth with cucumber sorbet. All relatively easy to make with the right know-how.
Nanban: Japanese Soul Food by Tim Anderson, Square Peg, £20
Imagine wicked flapjacks made with evaporated milk: as rich and chewy yet as light-textured as one could wish for, one of the most satisfying recipes from Louise Johncox’s delightful baking book, based on cooking with her late father, who run Peter’s in Surbiton. It brought out her latent baker and will bring out yours too if you’ve so far resisted the GBBO call. Impressively, Louise, a mother of two, (and my former editor at The Times) went back to Bath university to do a PhD, which became her book-length memoir with recipes. Nostalgic recipes include coconut-rolled English madeleines with a cherry on top, chocolate florentines and fondant fancies.
The Baker’s Daughter, published by Pan Macmillan, £20
You read it here first, ketchups are in for a culinary makeover as the condiment of the winter.
1 Brixton Mango Ketchup: A heady, seriously spicy ketchup, which gets its kick from Scotch bonnet chilli. Great with Afro-Carribean food, a trad breakfast grill or a late BBQ. brixtoncornercopia.co.uk
2 Stockes Bloody Mary Ketchup: As it says on the label, this does contain vodka and is a great savoury take on everyone’s favourite tomato ketchup with subtle yet definite oomph and perfect on a burger or steak. stokessauces.co.uk
3 Beetroot Ketchup by Foraging Fox. A new launch from a former City worker turned foodpreneur who got creative with their glut of veg. Besides fashionable beetroot, it contains apple, ginger, brown sugar and spices and is sensationally good with Welsh rarebit or mixed with crème fraiche to accompany smoked salmon. foragingfox.com