Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Eat Your Way Through Brixton" With Fox & Squirrel

Last weekend, I was invited to join Fox & Squirrel on a guided, mouth-watering tour of some of Brixton's culinary hidden gems - and it was amazing.

Fox & Squirrel organize small-group guided tours (or "walks", as they're called) throughout London with a historical, cultural, and creative emphasis. The walks are led by local experts, which give them an authentic yet enthusiastic perspective.

Although I chose to join them on the food walk of Brixton (aptly named, "Eat Your Way Through Brixton"), the tours offered by Fox & Squirrel vary from fashion and street photography walks to architecture and bespoke art walks - perfect for fashion, art, and photography enthusiasts.

Our walk was led by Lindsay Faller, a food journalist and long-time resident of Brixton. Knowledgeable and friendly, Lindsay introduced us to a number of Brixton's terrific street food options in and around Brixton Market while giving us an insight into the process behind the dishes we were sampling. I typically avoid joining tours or walks because can often feel stilted or rehearsed. However, it almost felt as though our small group of 8 were being shown around by a friend, rather than a formal "guide", which made the whole experience all the more enjoyable. We also had the opportunity to meet the owners of several of the restaurants we tried, which was lovely as it meant that we were able to chat with them and ask questions.

It's no secret that Brixton is becoming more gentrified by the minute - trendy, pop-up restaurants are opening left and right and the streets adjacent to Brixton Village and Market Row are beginning to fill with boutiques and design-led bars. What I loved most about the Fox & Squirrel walk was that it introduced me to a number of places with amazing, home-style cooking that I simply would have walked past, having been too intimidated or shy to approach them in the first place. We sampled everything from Ethiopian coffee (made at an Ethiopian coffee ceremony!) to delectable Caribbean dishes and traditional, small-bites from a Colombian cafeteria.  The tour intentionally leaves off popular favorites (Franco Manca, for example), instead focusing on tucked away but equally delicious locations you wouldn't ordinarily stumble upon.

The walk is scheduled to last approximately three and a half hours, but it certainly didn't feel like that when we finished, nearly four hours later. It was as if no time had passed (though our bellies were bursting by the end!) and I couldn't have thought of a more enjoyable way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. 

You don't have to be a tourist or someone visiting London for the first time to enjoy a walk with Fox & Squirrel - in fact, I think that almost the opposite is true. Having lived in London for nearly 8 years now, I'm constantly searching out new ways to explore or discover the city. The tour was both an inspiring and eye-opening way to explore a part of London I'm not that familiar with but would love to return to again.

For more information on walks with Fox & Squirrel and how to book, visit their website.

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