Khamsa Restaurant reviews
On Tuesday evening we had an amazing meal at Khamsa, the salmon fillet wrapped in spinach in filo pastry looked enticing and did not disappoint, it was delicious, accompanied by gluten free couscous (made on the premises from maize) had such a delicate taste.
I highly recommend this friendly local restaurant and will be returning soon with guests who can only eat gluten free meals.
12 of us turned into 14 which the lovely folks at Khamsa kindly accommodated with wonderful food, big smiles and charm. Delicious, friendly, perfect! We'll be back!
It's my second time to visit Khamsa and it never disappoints. The food is superb and the homemade juices are out of this world.I would highly recommend this place if you have not yet been. It is a hidden gem!!!
Eating at Khamsa was a fantastic experience with lots of fabulous tastes, complimented by pretty and delicate sweets.
When lights and music are on in the evening, the place takes on a whole different atmosphere, warm and relaxing, ideal to enjoy great food, be it refreshing starters and aromatic couscous or tagines made to order. Home-made and baked bread is a joy in itself.
A place to cherish and come back too, where the owner/chef Djamel and hsi wife Sabrina make you feel welcome.
Excellent restaurant. Delicious food with really good service. We were a party of about 20 people and everything went smoothly and everyone was very impressed with the restaurant. Highly recommended.
I LOVE this restaurant. I feel so lucky that it is only 2 minutes walk from my house. The food is amazing, consistent, healthy and delicious. The couple who run it are friendly and know their loyal clientelle by name. It is BYO. The only problem is that it is getting so popular that now I sometimes have to reserve! What more could you want? Try it!!
As soon as you enter the restaurant you get hit by the smell of the ingredients, the charming and authentic music at the background and of course the cosiness of the place. Beautifully welcomed by the owners, you soon feel that you are dining home.
My friends and I had a wonderful evening in the lounge downstairs where the atmosphere is very relaxing, and the smell of the incense really takes your mind away.
The variety of Algerian dishes we had that evening were very interesting and tasty, and everybody had enjoyed their food very much. It's been a real pleasure spending the evening at khamsa's and would certainly recommend it to everyone.
three star isn't enough, I meant 5 stars and well-earned five stars.Bravo Khamsa!
The whole of Khamsa is just a wonderful and delicious bite.The place is original and very welcoming; watching the two owners of Khamsa preparing the food while we are drinking those incredible natural juices made by them makes you feel you're just around the corner at one of your best cordon bleu's house.I would recommend it to anyone who wants to discover the spirit of a wonderful Algeria rich in seasons and food.
NB all food + juices are made by the couple who run this cosy place.
We dined here for the first time this evening and absolutely loved it. Warm, welcoming staff - attentive but not intrusive and genuinely passionate about the food they create. Nice ambiance and music (not too loud either so we could talk freely) and most importantly, the food was excellent. Some of the best North African food we have had in London. We will definitely be frequenting for dinners and afternoon coffee with home made Algerian sweets.
I live on the other side of London but it's always worth making the trip to Khamsa - one of my favourite restaurants anywhere. Wonderful home-cooked food: the salads are great to start, and the fish tagine especially is delicious - salmon baked to perfection in a foil parcel with cous-cous and a delicately spicy seasoning; I've never had anything quite like it elsewhere. Try the rosewater coffee afterwards as well. But more than anything, it's the friendliest place you could hope to find - Djamel and Sabrina will really make you feel at home. Five stars aren't enough!
One of London's hidden gemsAs you walk in, there is a cosy and warm feeling to the place, the couple who own the place are so warm and welcoming, it feels like being at relatives house, well served, the food is incredibly tasty with a twist on North African and more specifically ALGERIAN food, with an incredible blend of spices and herbs by the very talented Owner/Chef Djamal.He mixes his ingredients so much, you forget your mums cooking and want to come back for more...so far I tried to everything on the menu and I cannot have enough. thank you Djamal.Oh and it's bring your own wine so it's fantastic value for money.
This is fantastic little restaurant, with great tagines and other Algerian food. I moved into the area recently and have been here many times, its a great local! It is reasonably priced and the owners create a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere, I highly recommend going.
I meant to give 5 stars.........Grrrrr !!!! sorry Khamsa ....well earned 5 stars !!!
I am Glad that Khamsa restaurant still here on Acre Lane . Fantastic authentic Algerian food . I am Algerian myself , and I admire the couple who run khamsa . Hard workers , honest and warm.
Keep the great job !
By Aa A.
Posted on 07/11/2011
First time at Khamsa last night (to celebrate Eid) and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, the atmosphere was authentic and relaxed, the food is great and the owners are very friendly, attentive and passionate, will definitely return there.
PS: to all Algerians out there or those interested in Algerian culture, check out the radio station Rihet Bladi, its run by the owners of the restaurant and is the first Algerian radio station in the UK!
Fab little local, cosy decor, wonderful friendly hosts, the food is excellent, great flavours, generous portions, gorgeous tagines, couscous the fluffiest, lightest, tastiest we've ever come across, mouth watering vegetables, breads and desserts!!
We will be recommending this place to our friends. :)
I live around the corner from Khamsa, and after six months of being distracted by the tasty aromas emerging from the door on my journeys to Brixton, I finally cracked and booked a table there for my birthday last night. After subjecting the owner to numerous phone calls on table numbers (which were taken in good humour), we settled on the set menu at £18 a head (for eleven people). Rolling through the door, we settled at our designated table with clanking wine bottles (it's byob), and eagerly awaited the food (which is cooked in an open kitchen next to the dining area). The starter arrived in absolutely epic proportions, with a selection of salads (beetroot, carrot, cous cous, green beans to name but a few) for us all to delve into. Next came the second half of the meal - and amazing variety of mouth-watering tagines (chicken, lamb meatballs, vegetable, and salmon) complete with perfect cous cous. All of us were stuffed by the end of the meal (which was completed with mint tea), and the owners were lovely enough to humour our request to take home the leftovers (all day the flavours and spices have wafted out whenever I open our fridge door). Put simply, Khamsa Restaurant is brilliant and the owners are lovely - I would recommend it to anyone, and I'll definitely be making sure I go back on a regular basis!
I found this place on this site and decided to try it with a friend, partly for nostalgic reasons, because my father was born in Algeria and couscous was his favourite dish. What a gem! It's a small, pleasant, unpretentious place with a nice ambiance. The food was absolutely delicious and all home made, including the little dessert cakes. The couple who own /run and cook for the business are very friendly and gracious and take time to chat and show an interest in the customers. They do not have a liquor license but do a variety of juices and not charge corkage if you BYO. We'll definitely go back maybe to have the same again (salmon tagine - mm) and/or to try more things on the menu.
Went there for the first time last night having read favourable reviews on this website. The couple that run Khamsa certainly know their stuff. Amazing food. The sharing platter of starters was incredible - the combination of flavours and fresh ingredients outstandng.
Our two main courses of meatballs and skewered lamb again delivered in both flavour and culinary skill. Not only was the food excellent, the atmosphere makes you feel totally at home. Love the fact the chef chatted to us throughout the evening.
Simple ingredients, expertly cooked and run by two people that genuinely make you feel welcome. A lot of more established and over-priced restaurants could take a leaf out of their book.
Roll on the next visit...
I'm new to this reviewing game - I meant to click on 5 stars - they are well earnt!
With 8 friends, we camer here yesterday and had a fantastic meal - this place is a revelation - why have we not heard about it before? Probably, because otherwise we may struggle to be able to book a table unless we book weeks in advance. Great food, sublime service - we'll be back soon.
Brilliant restaurant, fantastic food and really friendly staff - what more can you ask for.
This is a perfect place for an intimate meal, that feels homely and welcoming. The host and hostess are charming and friendly and the food is incredibly delicious. I wholeheartedly reccomend it to anyone.
I had a Birthday Party in the area downstairs the other day. The place was decked out like and had the atmosphere of a living room, in which my friends and I felt very cosy and welcome.
The food was fantastic and very reasonable and served like a feast for people to share the different varieties.
Djamel and his wife are very sweet and I shall be going there again tonight. Highly recommended or a larger party or a bite to eat
By Fi S.
Posted on 05/05/2010
This restaurant is a must! Like so many others, me and my partner have walked past this place - thinking we should try it out some time! Well last Friday evening we grabbed a bottle of wine (as its bring your own) and popped in for dinner! Within 10 minutes we felt like fools for not trying it out earlier! The food was amazing!- full of flavours that complement each other and presented so well that your mouth is watering before it even hits the table! It is run by a lovely couple that are very welcoming, who definitely put their passion into their food. We had a selection of 8 starters- a cute combination of dips and tasty traditional goodies packed with yummy flavours. Then following that we shared a chicken tagine and a portion of couscous- which by the way was amazingly light and fluffy- definitely the best couscous I have ever tasted! The best piece of advice i can give you is try and make room for some little cakes/pastries afterwords as they are not to be missed, possibly accompanied with a cup of there locally roasted coffee!! This place is totally unique- with its humble style, gorgeous food and fantastic hospitality. Just try this place- I bet you will want to go back!
I simply cannot put in to words how incredibly yummy the food is, and having had nearly everything on the menu I think I'm certified to say (I live round the corner)! Everyone I have every taken has loved it and asks to go back.. it's just a really charming place with guaranteed service and atmosphere. It's a must - I'm salivating just thinking of the place!
By Ali S.
Posted on 26/04/2010
This place is awesome. Relaxed, but efficient, friendly service and mouthwateringly good food at very reasonable prices. You must go.
We live around the corner from Khamsa and are delighted to have a restaurant with such delicious food and warm, welcoming staff on our doorstep. We took a group of our friends there recently on a Saturday night and all thought the food was fantastic - particularly the desserts!
Went for a Sunday lunch and had two meze and the avocado and goat cheese pancakes - really tasty, very cheap too. Coffee was lovely and the owners very welcoming. Will definitely recommend to friends.
I have been a couple times to Khamsa with a friend. The food is delicious and the juices amazing, but what really sets this place apart for me is the graciousness of the owners. They are so friendly and welcoming but not at all overbearing. I sense that they have opened the restaurant because they love the food and want to share it with people, to create a place where people can come together and share an experience. Thinking about it makes me want to go there for dinner tonight! It's a gem of a place.
Great little place. Super tasty and excellent value for money! The mezze selection gives you a bit of everything and I loved the chicken tagine. Highly recommended!
Such a wonderful little place with outstanding food and a friendly relaxed atmosphere! The owners are a lovely couple who make you feel like you're in their front room.
My boyfriend and I went for breakfast last weekend and had lovely Algerian pancakes and coffee, so nice to get something a little different.
We liked it so much we were back a few days later for dinner and it was great again, we shared chicken tagine and lamb couscous and both were beautifully fragrant and tender.
We're lucky to have it on our doorstep and will be back regularly.
By Sue S.
Posted on 12/03/2010
Friendly interesting staff who make you feel incredibly welcome. Very reasonably priced tasty and delicious home cooked food everything is prepared in front of you with quality ingredients. You could even see the fresh basil growing on the counter. One cous-cous dish arrived with eye-popping flaming thyme leaves. Traditional cuisine, relaxed atmosphere, Berber music and you can even BYO vino. I live in Cyprus but wouldn't hesitate in returning here next time I'm back in Brixton.
We live just a few streets away from Khamsa and have walked past several times thinking we should try it out... I can't believe we waited so long! We visited on Saturday lunchtime and ate traditional Berber pancakes with fresh, spicy fillings and a lovely salad. Finished off with fresh mint tea and Algerian cakes.
The service was friendly and we were made to feel really comfortable. A great addition to the area and we hope it thrives.
We will definitely be returning very soon - a wonderful place to spend a few hours!
Table for six on Friday night. We were so well looked after with a light touch, not overbearing. Six meals all absolutely delicious. Graciously served. It would be hard to recommend one particular dish as they were all outstanding. The meringue that I had was amazing!
Excellent coffee. I shall definitely be going to Khamsa again.
By Ben N.
Posted on 05/03/2010
Khamsa is determined to bring Algerian and Berber food to the London masses. With food as fresh and tantalisingly spiced as this, both the cuisine and the restaurant deserve to be discovered.
Though North African food is fairly fashionable in London right now and Moroccan restaurants are easy to come by, the same can’t yet be said of the neighbouring cuisine of Algeria. In fact, aside from a few restaurants which helpfully span the North African range, finding an Algerian restaurant takes some serious work. This may be about to change though, as Khamsa is leading the charge to put Algerian cuisine on London’s food map.
The owners have put their heart and soul into their Brixton cafe and restaurant that serves breakfast through to dinner, selling freshly baked cakes and pastries, Algerian coffees and teas and even homemade Algerian-influenced jams. Locals can already enjoy takeaways and there’s plans underway for Algerian music, art and fashion displays showcasing the best the country has to offer.
Despite the area’s recent regeneration, Khamsa’s Brixton setting may still be off-putting for many. Once inside, though, location is irrelevant as South London is swapped for North Africa. Wood-clad from floor to ceiling, the small dining area is as warm and homely as the service and the welcome. Algerian knick-knacks cover the walls – all genuine family memorabilia each with their own story to tell. Downstairs, the restaurant becomes a large lounge - an area of communal conviviality for pre- or post-dinner teas and coffees and the venue for future live Algerian music performances.
For those unfamiliar with Algerian food, Moroccan is the best benchmark, but the cuisine is extremely diverse with influences coming from the Arabs, French, Spanish and particularly the Ottoman Turks and the Berbers. Khamsa’s menu has a particular emphasis on Berber-influenced dishes rich with spices and subtle chilli. As key to the restaurant as the Algerian basis is a focus on healthy recipes and the freshest of ingredients. From breads to spice mixes, cakes to jams, everything is made fresh on-site.
Starters include a selection of Algerian salads, along the lines of meze. A large menu which regularly changes includes zroudia amcharmia, a traditional Algerian salad of cooked carrots with cumin and coriander; chakchouka modern, consisting of pieces of merguez (spicy lamb) sausage in a rich harissa and ras-el-hanout tomato sauce; a sumptuous loubia b’darssa, black-eyed bean salad with olive oil; ajhroum di felfel, a salad of roasted red peppers; and more familiar options such as hummus and baba ganoush. A selection of eight salads for two costs £12 and is generous.
Main courses go down the tagine and couscous route but aren’t likely to be exactly what you’d expect. Hout fi razma (£10.90), a salmon couscous dish, comes served in a tagine. The salmon fillet is just-cooked and juicy and the couscous is studded with roasted vegetables – a perfect example of the fresh, healthy, aromatic approach which Khamsa is taking. The same is true of a tagine djadj (£11), a chicken, spinach and sweet potato tagine which is subtly sweet and bursting with herb and spice flavours, and has its tomato sauce thickened solely with ground almond to give it a rich but not cloying texture.
Desserts in North African restaurants can very often consist of some bought-in, super-sweet baklava and nothing else, but at Khamsa they’re a high point. A host of intricate pastries and cakes are available. Most are traditional but some but some are created with modern interpretations in mind. Their varying Algerian names are too much to keep track of, so it’s a good job they’re handily on display. Dried figs dipped in chocolate and filled with almond, pistachio macaroon-style biscuits, honey and almond rounds, rolled pastries of almond paste and rosewater, the indulgent list goes on. It’s worth coming for these alone, or indeed to pick some up to takeaway. A selection of five costs £4.50.
A special lunchtime offer includes a main dish and coffee for £6.90 – a favourite amongst locals, and weekend brunch options include both sweet and savoury Berber pancakes, such as goat cheese, roasted peppers, tuna or roasted almond and honey. Baked goods like croissants and brioche, all homemade by hand, are also on offer. Dishes are all served on traditional Berber plates, shaped like a bowl with a stand underneath.
Khamsa isn’t licensed to serve alcohol but are happy for customers to bring their own and charge no corkage fee. No pre-made soft drinks are available, either. What they do have, though, is a fascinating line in freshly pressed juices in such inventive combinations as pear and basil or apple and mint, priced between £2.40 and £3. You can also create your own combination.
In terms of hot drinks, there’s also traditional Algerian mint tea (£2 a pot). Served in a proper silver Algerian teapot and bursting with fresh mint taste, this is something of a must. Khamsa’s Algerian coffee (£2) is quickly gaining a local fanbase in the area too – so much so that they now sell it to take away.
The Last Word
Khamsa is one of those restaurants that really does transport you to another place – and this time that place is Algeria. The food is strikingly fresh with expert spicing, and with everything freshly made there’s certainly no cutting corners. A real hidden gem of a restaurant.