Approximate cost: £25 for 1 starter and 2 mains (includes tip)
Located on 3rd Avenue in Brixton Village; Elephant is hidden between a couple of small African grocers and a large textiles shop. The restaurant is pretty small, occupying only one unit so you could easily be distracted by the colourful and unusual produce which spills out from the surrounding shops and walk past none the wiser.
Come 6 o’clock when the local shops close and the restaurant can lay more tables outside, Elephant is still often less busy than some of it’s more renowned neighbours. It may be because burgers and chicken are easier to sell or it may be the location, but it’s definitely not because of the food.
Like most of the local eateries, Elephant sells only a couple of dishes but does every single one of them extremely well.
Specialising in Pakistani street food, there is a small selection of samosas and pakoras to start, followed by a main dish of chicken, lamb or vegetable curry, or for a few more pounds, one of the thalis.
We ordered the vegetable pakora to share which arrived within a couple of minutes, piping hot and served with a side of raita and a little chopped salad. These little balls were bursting with flavour with a slight chilli heat. A quick peep inside the half bitten morsel revealed a mixture of grated vegetables and an abundance of crushed and whole spices. No complaint s here, except that I wanted more of them, a lot more of them.
For main, I opted for the thali, which comprised of either lamb, chicken or vegetable curry, plus a dhaal, rice, naan, more of the raita and chopped salad. My husband opted for the larger helping of chicken curry served with either rice or naan.
I’ve previously had the vegetable curry (which was delicious) and so this time opted for the lamb; a seriously delicious but delicate tasting semi-dry lamb mince curry with peas and potatoes – my husband commented that it would make a great base for a shepherd’s pie, which may seem an odd compliment but the mince had such a deep umami flavour, I can see where he’s coming from.
He ordered the chicken curry which came with a generous amount of sauce, perfect for dipping the naan in.
The curry portions themselves are decent, enough to feed a hungry adult and leave you happily sated. Each main dishes is approximately £7, with a thali coming in at £9 – For a couple of pounds more, the thali gives you the main curry plus lentils and both rice and naan so definitely the option if you wanted a larger portion.
There is the option to BYO with a £2 corkage fee which is always much appreciated.
(One word of advice, if you eat at Elephant in the winter, dress warmly. Although the restaurant provides blankets in the colder months, at lot of the tables are located in the cross winds from one of the many entrances into Brixton Village – be prepared to eat with your coat on).