Only Food and Courses may sound like a novelty restaurant dedicated to an iconic TV show of a very similar name – but it’s in fact quite the opposite.
You can expect the unexpected at the small yet accommodating 30 foot steel restaurant container space in Pop Brixton, which is just round the corner from where Del Boy and Rodney would get up to all sorts of mischief in Peckham.
Nothing will prepare you for the trip down memory lane you’re about to embark on as you try dishes inspired by the late 80s and 90s – carefully prepared by head chef and proud restaurant owner, Robbie Lorraine.
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(Image: Only Food and Courses / Piers Zangana)
Take the duck éclairs for instance, inspired by Robbie’s childhood memory of his mum buying him a load of cakes and chocolates as a Sunday treat.
He told MyLondon: “There would always be these chocolate eclairs. So I thought what could I do is modernise it and turn it into something you have in 2021, so I turned it into a duck éclair with duck glazing.
“Similarly the lobster donuts are inspired by trips to the seaside with my nan and the smell of the donuts being fried on the seafront.”
For Robbie, 43, who grew up close to Brixton on a nearby council estate in Camberwell, he’s had quite the remarkable journey since opening his restaurant back in December 2020.
He received a glittering review by food critic, Jay Rayner earlier this year, and recently appeared on TV screens as a MasterChef judge for the competitive cooking show.
Robbie added: “One night after service I was checking through my emails and there was an email from MasterChef.
“It was a surreal experience, it was out of the blue.
“It was off the back of what we’ve been doing here. There were some people who have been in the pop-up restaurant scene for quite some time, I felt quite privileged to be among those guys.”
(Image: Only Food and Courses / Piers Zangana)
Growing up in South London, Robbie often ventured to Brixton to visit the markets and see friends, so he felt it was only right to open a restaurant in an area which means so much to him.
His family do too, and he says the play-on spin of the TV show, Only Fools and Horses, resonates with his upbringing as well as spending time with his nan, who lived in a caravan in Southend-on-Sea.
“I was always with my nan, she was a fantastic cook. She was really into food, it instilled a real passion into me.
“I have a fond memory of us making rock cakes together, very simple things but it stuck with me because of the smell and the aroma and her talking to me about the process – it felt very natural at the time,” Robbie said.
Another reason for the name is because Robbie’s concept is quite literally only food and courses and nothing else.
(Image: Julian George)
He doesn’t want people to be thrown off by the idea of a pop-up restaurant or tasting menu catering just for the food bourgeoisie – he just wants people to enjoy themselves as he takes them back through time.
Robbie’s six-course tasting menus change monthly, but always have a nostalgic focus on 80s and 90s pop culture.
Diners have previously enjoyed a tasting menu inspired by the 40th anniversary of Only Fools and Horses, and this year’s Christmas menu is inspired by the food Robbie enjoys with his family during the festive season.
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There’s salmon and eggs and a duck liver pate, followed by prawn cocktail and turkey with carrots and sprouts, then an iconic After Eight ‘palette cleanser’ and a Christmas pudding brûlée to finish with.
Opening in the middle of a pandemic has definitely had its ups and downs for Robbie. He had to close just three weeks after opening because London was plunged into tier three at the end of 2020.
But so far, Robbie’s restaurant has been doing extremely well.
He has loyal regulars, and he also has passionate foodies travelling from as far as Scotland.
(Image: Only Food and Courses)
“It’s blown my mind actually, we’ve had people from North Hampshire and someone came from Scotland,” he added.
“They googled best supper clubs in London and we came up on the list, so they came down. It’s quite a wide reach which has really surprised me.
“Being from South London, I didn’t realise the food I was creating in this concept would attract people from all over the country. It’s refreshing to know people have embraced this concept.”
So what’s next for Robbie?
A well-earned rest over Christmas is first, but he’ll be brainstorming new menu ideas and is looking forward to venturing further afield in 2022.
Watch this space.
Do you know a south London restaurant we should be raving about? Let Ruby know at [email protected]
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