Trying to remember the exact dishes I ate at Courtesan is a bit like naming the seven dwarfs…if there were 19 of them. So, I guess it’s lucky I sneakily stole a menu (sorry) and annoyed my friends by taking a photo of every single plate / basket / bowl placed in front of me (yes, I am that person).
Courtesan opened its doors in the heart of Brixton about a month ago, serving a huge range of Dim Sum and some very reasonably priced cocktails. When we went, it was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday night, which can only be down to the ever popular Brixton village, along with a distinct lack of publicity (something I hope to remedy by writing this post).
Rather than rattle through every dish we ate – which may leave you yawning rather than salivating – I’m going to describe what stood out for me, starting with the Cheung Fun Dim Sum.
Cheung Fun Dim Sum simply translates as pig intestine noodles. Now, before you squirm in your seat, please note that the name reflects the shape, not the ingredients.
We ordered both the king prawn and vegetable varieties, but it was the latter that had the upper hand due to its subtle sweetness and interestingly crunchy, yet soft, texture. Both Cheung Fun dishes were devoured in a flash and came top of the list when we ordered seconds later – high praise indeed.
More unusual were the Taro Croquettes and Roast Pork Puffs. The nest-like croquettes had a crisp exterior and a sweet nutty filling, whereas the puff was the Chinese version of a pasty – beautiful pastry, with a thick, rich, stew-like sauce in the middle.
When it came to the steamed Dim Sum, we ordered almost everything available, from the deliciously fluffy and sweet Roast Pork Buns…
…to the delectable Wasabi King Prawn and Crab Dumplings. Both were as good as you’d expect from any restaurant specialising in Dim Sum, so certainly didn’t disappoint.
Of course we couldn’t ignore the specials, so ordered a couple of unusual options, such as Crocodile Bites and Jerk Chicken Parcel in Rice. However, it was the Spiced Mango Chicken that left us licking the plate, due to the succulent crispy meat covered in a spicy, fruity dressing.
Last, but by no means least, came the pudding – the highly recommended Black Sesame Balls. With a consistency similar to marshmallow, coupled with a well-balanced sweet filling, they were like nothing I’d tasted before, but certainly something I’d want to eat again.
I’m going to give Courtesan a LLE Rating of 7 / 10. The food is delightful and good value for money (roughly £30 a head with wine), but sadly the atmosphere lets it down at the moment. Therefore, I can only urge you to go, eat and be merry, just like this pair.
Courtesan, 9-73 Atlantic Rd, London SW9 8PU