Only Food and Courses is a unique pop-up restaurant experience that started life in a shipping container at the quirky indie village Pop Brixton. This trip down memory lane marries the feel-good nostalgia of Peckham-based sitcom classic “Only Fools and Horses” with a modern take on traditional British grub.
The creative spark behind Only Fools and Courses is Robbie Lorraine, who had previously been executive chef at the workplace catering company, Grazing. Since moving into Pop Brixton in 2020, Robbie has gone on to appear on BBC’s Great British Menu.
Only Food and Courses closed at Pop Brixton in the summer of 2022 and is set to make an exciting return when it reopens as a permanent restaurant.
What’s On the Menu?
There are two options for eating at Only Food and Courses. There’s a standard menu called the Terrace Menu and the Supper Club.
The Terrace Menu includes a selection of staple, reimagined classics, including small plates such as cauliflower cheese, house-cured salmon, and ham, egg & chips, all priced between £10 and £12.
Mains include glazed pork bun, Short Rib Hash, Fish & Chips, and Lobster Doughnuts. Prices for main courses range from an affordable £12 – £15.
Desserts include Millionaire Shortbread and Lemon Tart.
The Supper Club menu changes monthly. Each month, there’s a new six-course menu with imaginative meals inspired by 80s and 90s classics, including duck liver pate, smoked salmon and eggs, prawn cocktail, and more. The six-course tasting menu is £65 per head.
All dishes on the menu bridge the gap between fine dining and greasy spoon, creating an accessible culinary experience in an unpretentious environment. Channelling the spirit of Del Boy, the restaurant attempts class without the intimidating airs and graces.
Robbie Lorraine was born and raised in Peckham and perfected his culinary skills at Westminster Kingsway College before spending the next two decades working for the likes of SSP Group, Rhubarb, Lion’s Prep, Chelsea FC, Roux Fine Dining, and Grazing.
That all changed when Lorraine started his own pop-up restaurant, Only Foods and Courses.
In 2020, the 28-seater restaurant opened in Pop Brixton. Since then, Lorraine has featured on BBC’s Great British Menu, celebrating 100 years of the BBC with meals paying homage to other classic TV series such as Grange Hill and Absolutely Fabulous.
Only Food and Courses Review
‘Only Food and Courses’ may present as tongue-in-cheek, but it means business. Maybe, manager Martyn Barrett and chef Robbie Lorraine have high hopes that they’ll be millionaires this time next year, or possibly it’s the restaurant’s proximity to Peckham that inspired the solid pun in their name.
Whatever their reasons for choosing the classic sitcom-themed moniker, I couldn’t resist paying a visit to the Brixton shipping container to check out their wares. Obviously, I was hopeful that whatever they were serving up hadn’t fallen off the back of a lorry or been bought in a ‘cushty’ deal down Nag’s Head by the Trotters.
It’s hard to guess how far this shipping container-cum-restaurant has travelled or what it’s transported. But there’s a good chance that on more than one occasion, it’s been rammed with the kind of cheap Chinese gadgets peddled by Del and Rodney and has spent more time at sea than Uncle Albert. (Pop Brixton is a creative food and shopping village made up of independent businesses housed in stacks of such containers).
After having a ‘butcher’s’ around some of the other businesses at Pop, the hunger pangs instructed us to head for some food. If you’re grabbing something off the Terrace menu, there’s no need to book, but if you’re visiting for the Supper Club or Sunday roast, booking is essential. We’d booked for supper.
Quirky eateries like these are designed for the Instagram generation. The decor is fun and jaunty, the backdrop to hundreds of selfies and influencer outings.
Behind the counter, there’s a sign that reads, “A brilliantly cheeky twist on classic British food.” If the restaurant’s name didn’t give us a clue what we were there for, this sign nailed the point home.
During the day, the refined menu has new takes on ham, egg and chips, fish and chips, and millionaire shortbread. Other standouts on the Terrace Menu include the lobster doughnut, which might not be my taste, but still fills me with intrigue.
The Supper Club menu switches every month. Whatever the options, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the nostalgia of eating classic British dishes with a new slant.
Boasting six courses, I had made space throughout the day for what I hoped would be a proper pukka bit of in-the-nude.
We started with a prawn cocktail. But this wasn’t drowning in Marie Rose sauce. Instead, the sauce had been aerated—charged with effervescent CO2. This wasn’t like any prawn cocktail we’d ever seen before but a genuinely original new interpretation—well-presented and tasty.
A crab-filled scotch egg came next. Unlike your average picnic egg, this included caviar.
Next, we were given duck eclairs. They looked like chocolate eclairs but were filled with duck confit. So much detail had gone into every bite; it was a shame to destroy it so quickly.
This was followed by a dish featuring three small portions of lamb cooked in different, intricate ways. Again, the level of attention to each morsel was amazing.
We were then served an “After Eight palette cleanser”, which tasted exactly as you might imagine. This was followed by a Bakewell slice featuring beetroot instead of cherry.
In all, the food served up was top-notch. It was a rare breed of fine dining that didn’t take itself too seriously. So much of Only Foods and Courses is tongue-in-cheek, but the charming eaterie made no jokes at the expense of taste.
What’s truly outstanding is that this unlikely genius was all served up from a shipping container in a trendy indie utopia in Brixton. No big fancy kitchen. No formal dining experience. Just amazing flavours and good honest food.