Christopher Howe and Jamie Cottam-Allan are no strangers to cooking up a culinary success story. The duo behind Brixton favourite Elm Park Tavern have ventured into Streatham to launch Carmine – a top notch eatery serving an American all-day-brunch inspired design, a soul-warming atmosphere, and a focussed and sophisticated food menu with cocktails on tap. And, it features probably the best lamb we have ever tasted.
For South Londoners, this should be a no-brainer. Stellar food, drinks on tap, and a fantastic vibe, coupled with eclectic music, brunch, and happy hour events through the week. The mix of banquette-style seating and cosy booths make this a prime choice for group gatherings and intimate dinners alike, and there’s even talk of live music coming up on the weekly agenda.
The food is split up into light bites for starters or sharing-style dining, and larger plates – though portion sizes are substantial across the menu.
The ‘light bites’ section features a variety of options including Cured Pork Loin and Roast Squash Arancini with Sage Mayo. If you’re looking for something truly unique, Carmine also serves up Burrata with Scotch Bonnet Pickled Pineapple, Anchovies, & Wild Rocket. It’s one that will send your tastebuds into overdrive, so if you’re a fan of the salty fish, you’ll adore this option.
The Karaage Fried Chicken is a light bite highlight. Served with Nori Garlic Aioli, it is deliciously seasoned and perfectly cooked, and a great choice accompanied with Panisses. These chickpea-based fries are spectacular and should not be missed.
The ‘larger plates’ section is impressively creative. It focusses on one offering across beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, and plant-based, each with an innovative twist. The fresh Pan Fried Sea Bream with Braised Beans is served with a generous garnish of Dill, which makes it a real stand-out when it comes to memorably delicious flavour combinations.
The lamb dish, however, is the big Carmine recommendation from Gold Flamingo. The Grilled Lamb Chops are immaculate, flawlessly tender and bursting with juicy flavour. Served on a bed of Roast Aubergine and Cannellini Puree, topped off with Chimichurri, Head Chef Ozzy Martin Peer has delivered a masterpiece here.
Transparently, as Central Londoners, it takes a lot for us to venture out of the familiar confines of Zone 1. But we can confidently say that Carmine will be changing this in 2022, undoubtedly worth the journey. For locals however, there is no excuse not to pop in at least for a light bite, and you’ll thank us later when you’re on course 3 and already planning your next visit!
Carmine has stormed into our London Top 10, with its innovation in tastes and textures, welcoming surroundings, and a truly wonderful restaurant team. There is no shortage of praise from us. And we cannot recommend the lamb enough – coming from a Greek Londoner, this is as high a praise as I can offer.
Carmine lives at 20-21 The High Parade, Streatham, SW16 1EX.
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