Saturday, 23 April 2011

Curry Ono

I've been writing a lot about the newly(ish) rejuvenated Brixton Village lately, but it would be a mistake to ignore the good new places that have opened up in next door Market Row.  Curry Ono is one of these, and its my favourite so far.  It specialises in Japanese curries and they do them very well indeed.  In fact they do them so well that I'd say they're the best I've tried so far anywhere in London.
Curry Ono sits just in from the Coldharbour Lane entrance to Market Row.  Despite a good location it's not particularly full at the moment.  Which is a shame.  It's probably because Japanese curries a fairly niche thing to focus on.  Personally I like it when somewhere decides to just do one thing really well. Hopefully though word will spread about how delicious Curry Ono's rendition is and they'll be doing a roaring trade soon.

Since I've mentioned how good it is a few times now I'd better say why.  The last time I went I started with a dish of chilled tofu.  This dish is incredibly simple, but the balance of a light scattering of seaweed strips, celery and spring onion with salty soy sauce and the sweet milkiness of the tofu was delicious.  This balance and the ability to do simple things very right - more importantly to do them far more right than you would expect - is what makes the Curry Ono curry so good.  The pork katsu curry I had the first time had deliciously crisp  juicy pieces of pork.  Even better was the kar-age chicken curry.  The kar-age pieces had been freshly deep fried and were stunningly light and crisp and completely greaseless.  The skin had bubbled and blistered to the texture and lightness of a brown paper bag.  And then there's the sauce.  Both of these came with the same mild chicken stock based curry sauce, though there are veg stock versions for vegetable and fish dishes.  This sauce is loaded with the flavour of carrots and green beans, a rich array of vegetables, the flavour of cooking alcohol.  The list goes on and on.  It's incredibly complex with each mouthful bringing something different into play.  It does this, however, without ever becoming cluttered.  Everything is balanced.  It still feels simple even though its not and that's probably one of the best compliments I can give it.  Absolutely delicious.

So go and try it for yourself.  The owners are friendly and the prices are great.  The food is even better.

Price: £6.90 for a Pork Katsu or Chicken Kar-Age Curry.


  1. Nice piece. I walk past that place everyday and never see anyone there, which is slightly unnerving.

  2. Yeah it's a real shame. It deserves to have a decent customer base.

  3. Hi Daniel, thanks very much for the review. We've just launched our website and I've linked to this review from it. We're at All the best, James.

  4. It is one of my favourite places to eat in Brixton. It is a shame that it doesn't received the following it should. I think it is just a case of people afraid of trying something new or straying away from the crowds. I highly recommend that you try the restaurant! You will receive a lovely service and a delicious gastronomical experience!

  5. I've been there a few times, taking different groups of friends to introduce them to it. Really love the food - its different. And not as packed out as the other part of the market.