As you walk up Effra Road, away from the dizzying, multisensory buzz of central Brixton, there appears to be less and less in the way of eateries.
With only Effra Social and Hootananny’s on this stretch of road, your instinct might be telling you to turn back in your search for dinner – but then you’ll see it: the sepia-toned glow of light – speakeasy-like – being emitted from Naughty Piglets, beckoning you, like a reward for those chosen few who ventured this far.
The set-up is relaxed, friendly and inviting. A wooden bar takes up most of the space, with the kitchen behind it. Counter seating makes it feel distinctly European in its style, as does the chalkboard menu on the wall at one end. It wouldn’t look out of place on a back street in Seville. A handful of ornamental pigs hidden around the place are the only extravagance in the otherwise humble outfit.
Start with a bottle of table beer to share as you get settled – a list of four wine sized bottles that you’ll never have heard of, and have interesting nuances like the yeast from Chardonnay grapes or coffee bean infusions.
The menu is designed to share, taking French-leaning ingredients and giving them a lick of Asian flavour – mackerel, brown crab sauce and curry leaves; lamb ribs, fermented shrimp and cucumber; and BBQ pork belly, sesame and Korean spices. There are still (like any French-inspired place) some slightly more classic dishes for the purists – Challans duck, girolles and mushroom ketchup comes to mind.
The wine list is long, well curated and natural. But don’t get overwhelmed – the friendly, well-informed staff will happily guide you to something that’s going to float your boat.
If you don’t fancy the schlep back to Brixton station just yet, why not head downstairs to their basement bar for a night cap. It’s a bare brick, candle-lit dive with wine barrels for tables and empty bottles lined up around the perimeter of the room.
You can probably spot Jean Valjean plotting in the corner.
NOTE: Naughty Piglets is open for dinner Monday – Thursday and both lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday. It’s closed on Sunday. For more information, and to book, head HERE.
Naughty Piglets | 28 Brixton Water Lane, SW2 1PE
Now that you’re here… you should probably check out Maremma, too.