Tuscan Treats And Aperitifs: We Checked Out This Apericena Bar In The Heart Of Brixton

A couple of years ago I went to Tuscany and I fell in love with its picturesque vineyards, rolling hills and beautiful horses, so when I heard that Il Maremmano was bringing a slice of the lush Italian countryside to South London, I was curious to check it out. Was it possible to be mentally transported to a rustic, charming eatery in a medieval town, all while the famous Hootananny bar intended to bring me brutally back down to Brixton by showing the Euros only moments away? 

Il Maremmano Tulse Hill Review | DesignMyNight

Charcuterie fans rejoice as this little spot puts out quite the spread.

My friend and I entered an elegant, ox blood-coloured dining space laced with European graphic art, ventured past the bar crowned with elegant glasses and out into the pretty, Tuscan courtyard where dainty patio chairs surrounded by a Buratti Bay mural and potted plants awaited.

I immediately felt at peace, and we ordered two spicy margaritas (£12 each) to kick our three-hour holiday off. Made with El Jimador Reposado tequila and sporting a bejewelled chilli rim, what it lacked in fiery heat it made up for in alcohol contents, as I felt a citrussy kick from the liqueur warm my cheeks.

Il Maremmano Brixton Review | DesignMyNight

Totally Tuscan: the interiors featured authentic, Italian art, oozing plenty of charm. 

My friend was excited about the fact he was about to have a ‘girl dinner’ and he was right, however, in Italy, they call this an apericena; a new take on aperitivo formed by adding the word 'cena', meaning dinner. Out came a bowl of home-marinated olives (£5) with an empty pot for depositing pips in, alongside a ramekin of spiced nuts (£4) akin to the sort you’d enjoy with a glass of wine before dinner on holiday. Our joint favourite plate must’ve been the focaccia (£5), served with olive oil. Divided into rectangles, it was soft and airy, featuring little crystals of salt that made it devilishly moreish, pairing perfectly with the mellow notes from the oil.

The pumpkin and pecorino arancini (£6) was a personal highlight, mainly because I got to consume all four golden balls of gooey rice when, ideally, it should’ve been split between two. I loved how they were presented: a light dusting of cheese graced the top of each one, leaving behind a dairy snowstorm (the best kind) once devoured.

Il Maremmano Brixton Menu | DesignMyNight

The Il Maremmano menu is great for a light snack paired with a cocktail.

Tomato and basil crostoni (£7) was divided in half, even though it was served as a trio of lightly toasted bread topped with marinated, ruby red tomatoes that tumbled off into our mouths as soon as we lifted them up. My friend sawed apart the crusty sourdough while I ordered us two Paloma’s (£13) to try.

Garnished with grapefruit and topped up with soda, these were incredibly refreshing and slightly bitter, with a hint of lime to take the edge off. Perfect for a summer day and followed by one last Tuscan cosmopolitan (£13) for me and a Menabrea Italian pale lager (£6) for my friend. The addition of Amaro Santoni, a liqueur made from 34 botanicals and originating from Florence, is what gave the fruity, short drink its name. Incredibly sharp and sweet, it was the perfect tipple to finish on before a short, mild evening walk home to the tube where the over-stimulating clammer of Brixton station reminded me that I’d never really left.

The DesignMyNight Digest

The Il Maremmano Bixton menu was a wonderfully concise one, made of up small plates from independent producers, satisfying the cravings you get to snack before your late evening meal. I appreciated how rustic this spot was in such a polar opposite location, it was really nice to be able to hop off a busy South London street and into a charming courtyard offering a slice of tranquillity, and cheese, in the big city.

  💰 The damage: £94 for two, excluding service charge.

  📍  The location: 19 Tulse Hill, SW2 2TH.

  👌 Perfect for: Pre-dinner nibbles and wine.

 ⭐ Need to know: Its sister restaurant, Maremma, is just around the corner.


Feeling hungry? Check out our guide to Italian restaurants and sign up to our newsletter for all the latest.