Archive for September 2009


Smokey Jerkey

September 30th, 2009 — 11:16pm

I live in the sometimes dirty, smelly and er, ‘lively’ area of the capital and I love it. Right now, I’m living in Peckham, and you’ll often hear me sticking up for it. The high number of African and Caribbean people living here means we get some damn good grub, which by its nature is heavy on spice. Many restaurants here lack the polish and presentation of more Northerly establishments, which to be honest, is part of their charm.

Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly interested in Caribbean food, which started with a trip to the annual Jerk Cookout in the gardens of The Horniman Museum in 2007, on the off chance that it might be a nice day out. I would now never consider missing it. Holidays will be scheduled around it. I’ve picked up a few tips along the way and tried out my own recipes for jerk chicken and curry goat but as I’ve realised, these recipes are something which take a long time – years, generations even, to perfect. In the meantime I’ve dedicated my days to visiting as many Caribbean restaurants as possible and I’ve learned that you are on your own trying to work out the secrets of the good places – ask and they clam up completely; heads shake firmly and eyes widen in disbelief.

It’s not all good of course, there are always some howlers. When I was planning our recent Peckham restaurant crawl I planned to take everyone to a Caribbean place a few minutes from my doorstep: ‘God Bless Caribbean Restaurant’. Thank goodness I decided to check it out first. The jerk was incredibly bland, as was the curry goat (which was mostly bone anyway). Strangely, the rice and peas were the best I’ve ever had but not even that will make me return to sample their dry, tasteless, spiceless meat ever again. Shame, because it takes all of three minutes to get there. Lizzie on the other hand, is more fortunate. Literally a few minutes walk from her front door in New Cross stands the unassuming shack that is Smokey Jerkey. When she told me of the tantalising wafts of grill smoke she endures on a daily basis and the surly woman who turns out some of the best damn jerk she’s ever tasted, it was a done deal – I had to try it.

“Is it shut?” I asked as we approached, with more than a hint of desperation in my voice. It wasn’t – it just always looks like that. A padlocked grill covers the front and inside there are a couple of chairs and a counter where you order the food. That’s basically it. We ordered the jerk chicken with rice and peas (£3 lunch special), and scurried back to eat it.

The portion was generous and not too rice and pea heavy as can often be the case. The chicken was succulent and chopped  into hand manageable pieces in the way that Caribbean places always do. And the jerk seasoning? Brilliant. I found it pleasantly sweeter than other jerk I’ve had, sticky with caramelised crusty bits and infused with a smoky char. The flavour was fruity with scotch bonnet chillies and the heat started as a little numbing tingle on the lips and slowly built to good ‘n’ hot. We also doused on some hot sauce for good measure. The heady mix of spices was not too powerful and the extra sweetness prevented that dusty wallop that can happen when it’s a case of too much spice and not enough everything else.

All in all, this is some of the best jerk I’ve had in the South East and I highly recommend you try it if you are passing through the area.  By the way, if I’ve missed any SE London bloggers, then please do reveal yourselves – it’s always nice to find some more locals to share tips, drinks and maybe even restaurant crawls with. Also, I know I’m asking a lot of questions at the end of my posts right now but if you have some favourite jerk places anywhere in London then I’d love to hear about those too. I do venture North of the river occasionally you know…

Smokey Jerkey on Urbanspoon

158 New Cross Road, New Cross
London, SE14 5BA

41 comments » | Caribbean Food, Peckham, Restaurant Reviews

A (Long Overdue) London Sandwich Post

September 28th, 2009 — 9:01am

You know by now I have a  ‘healthy’ (bordering on obsessive) appreciation for sandwiches. I find it so satisfying to sink my teeth into a slice of crusty, fresh bread which yields to layer on layer of textures and flavours; it is a perfect self contained meal. Earlier this year I began to blog about sandwiches I’ve found around London but for some reason this slipped and I’ve now got a backlog. Here’s a little round-up, just to get us back on track.

First up, a London classic: the chorizo roll from the Brindisa grill at Borough Market. A ciabatta roll is stuffed with either a single or double portion of Alejandro Barbacoa chorizo (obviously I had the double) plus roasted Navarrico piquillo peppers and a good handful of rocket (£4.50 ish?) A drizzle of olive oil is all it needs in the way of lubrication as all the beautiful spicy fat from the sausage seeps into the bread, coating everything with its smoky, paprika flavour. This sandwich is intense and addictive, which is why the queue more often than not snakes right back into the market. The picture below represents a rare moment of quiet at the grill; when they are moving at full pace it is quite a spectacle of sizzle and smoke.

Next, a sandwich from my favourite local bakery, Luca’s. This is not one of their greatest creations unfortunately and would have been more enjoyable toasted. I mean, look at the size of that bread! Tim Hayward would hate this sandwich. The filling of brie and pesto was, as ever, fresh and high quality; the brie was ripe and pongy and the pesto tasted home made (it cost around £3).  Despite some ongoing problems with slow service, the staff are charming and endearingly ditsy and the baked goods are a cut above the norm. They also do cheese and charcuterie plates, an absolutely triumphant rye bread, preserves, biscuits and cakes.

There are a couple of irritating things about Luca’s though – one being the fact that their coffee is a bit watery (according to trusted sources) and the other that, as with most places in East Dulwich, you have to have a high tolerance for the presence of small children; this means lots of noise, mess and rows of increasingly alien looking pushchairs. I am practically immune to this now. If you can’t bear the thought however, I’ve recently heard from the charming Rosie Lovell that her deli (Rosie’s Cafe Deli in Brixton) will soon be stocking Luca’s bread and they will also be selling their goods at Brixton Farmers’ Market in the near future.

Next, another Borough Market offering: the salt beef from Roast to Go, which is one of those places I’ve always meant to visit but never felt particularly inspired by. To be honest, this wasn’t a particularly remarkable example of the classic. To me, thick hunks of meltingly tender brisket should be bursting out of the bread; this was just a bit rubbery and meagre in size and the miserly stripe of mustard down the middle wasn’t enough to invoke even a mild case of ‘mustard nose’. Pickles were present and correct but it pales in comparison to a classic salt beef from Bagel Bake on Brick Lane, which costs around £3 I think in comparison to Roast’s version for a fiver. The bread was sweet and soft though, almost bagel-like in chewyness. I think they could be onto something there…

Finally, a sanger from an Italian deli and restaurant called Tentazioni that Chris discovered down in Shad Thames. The deli seemed well stocked although I do have to question their choice of location. Are they really going to drum up enough business tucked down one of those dark side streets otherwise filled with estate agents and over-priced, under-sized apartments? It’s a shame really because the lady inside was very charming and keen to help, even if she did work at the most incredibly slow pace. As the place is not geared mainly towards making sandwiches, it was a bit difficult to see what was on offer and a language barrier issue meant we just had to point at a few things and hope for the best. We got some fennel and pepper salami and parmesan with cracked black pepper and salad. The ingredients inside were delicious but the sandwich on the whole, a little dry and bready.

That said, the place is definitely worth checking out. I spied some gorgeous looking (if ridiculously expensive) smoked mozzarella along with Sicilian fennel sausages, pastries, a range of Italian cheeses and meats and also dried products like good quality pulses. You can see more pictures in my Flickr sandwich set here.

So there we have it, a few sandwiches to digest while I search out the next victim. Londoners, I call out for your assistance in directing me to the best sandwiches in the city. Share your favourites please!

FYI: Jonathan also writes a great series on sandwiches in London: ‘The Sandwichist

24 comments » | Sandwiches, Sandwiches and The City

Some Thoughts on Urban Gardening

September 23rd, 2009 — 2:37pm

I’ve been attempting to grow fruit and vegetables on my balcony (actually several balconies), for a few years now so I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned. I am by no means an expert but I do feel that next year I know exactly what I want to plant and, more importantly, what is actually worth growing; often I’ve been sucked into the trap of thinking, ‘ooh wouldn’t it be cool if I grew that!’ rather than properly considering the conditions it might need. This has led to a lot of disappointment. Occasionally however, I have managed to learn from my mistakes.

Tomatoes are probably the first vegetable most cooks try to grow at home and I’ve had varying degrees of success over the years. What I’ve generally found is that trying to grow full size tomatoes in pots or grow bags in a limited space is not really worth it; they often toughen up into ‘London tomatoes’ – thick skinned and mealy. Cherry tomatoes are the way forward for me. This year I discovered the ‘Vilma‘ variety which are specially bred for growing in pots. They shot up really well from seed to produce strong and somewhat stocky plants that trailed over the pots and produced lots of really sweet and flavourful fruits over a long season. I’ve come to realise though, that with tomato plants, quantity is key – you need to grow more than three to make it worthwhile.

I’ve also had great results with chillies and I find you only need a couple of plants to get a really good yield. This year I grew one batch of seeds from a little self-contained pouch I got when I won the Tipped chilli cook-off and the others I grew from some chillies kindly sent to me by Jess, again for winning the cook off. They nearly always grow easily and look all pretty on the balcony as the fruits turn from green to purple to red.

I’ll also be growing more salad leaves next year. I’ve had success with every type I’ve bought including different varieties of rocket (which is much more peppery than the shop bought stuff) and Beet Bull’s Blood. They grow so fast it’s hard to keep up; you keep cutting them and they grow back within a week.

Other successes include the bay tree (an incredibly useful addition to the kitchen garden) and of course some herbs; not all of them mind you – I’ve had the least trouble with hardy ones like rosemary and thyme. Among the softer herbs, basil has worked well (particularly the Greek variety) and I did manage to keep parsley alive once, although not for very long. The one herb I have never been able to grow is coriander. If anyone has any tips on that then please let me know.

And now for some of the fails…

When I heard it was possible to grow potatoes in containers, I was excited. Generally, I am not a big potato eater but the flavour of a home grown spud is so spectacularly different from that of a shop bought one. It brings back memories of lazy summer lunches in my parents’ garden – forking up the potatoes, shaking off the dirt and tumbling them into the basket ready to be washed, cooked and made ready to receive butter. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was when the ‘great potato harvest’ turned up just three teeny spuds from one flamboyantly leafy, lush plant. I had to laugh as Chris desperately scrabbled through the dirt with his fingers, “where are they? where ARE they?!”

Next, the padron peppers. Not a total failure as you can see but the problem here was one of quantity. The three plants I managed to keep alive produced just four peppers between them and I think it was a real struggle bless ‘em; the plants are now yellow, scrawny and basically on the way out. I suspect a greenhouse might be a more suitable environment.

And finally, the strawberries. These were  incredibly disappointing because they had so much promise. I bought a variety bred for growing in pots. They even managed to survive a week wrapped up in the post office depot (the postman failed to leave a card to let me know they were there) and went on to recover well, producing a pleasing amount of scarlet fruit. When it came to the eating however, the berries were hard and sour, no matter how long I left them to ripen. I really don’t know what went wrong.

So there you have it – the fruits of my rather limited labours. Next year I’ll be growing more tomatoes, salad leaves and chillies and experimenting yet again with the herbs. I also like to grow some non-edibles for a bit of colour; sweet peas are absolutely essential as my favourite flowers and the lily trees (top photo) were spectacular, provoking gasps (actual gasps!) of joy from visitors.

I’ll be trying some winter salad leaves now but I’m also looking for a new addition for next year. What have been your successes? Any vegetable I simply must try growing? Any tips on keeping herbs alive will also be very gratefully received!

You can see my full urban gardening Flickr set here.

26 comments » | Garden

Lamb Koftas with Muhammara and Tabbouleh

September 22nd, 2009 — 12:31pm

These koftas have saved me on more than one occasion – the kind of occasion where Chris casually mentions that 6 people are coming over for a feed in half an hour and won’t it be OK if we just buy some sausages? I can never just buy some sausages. These koftas take ten minutes to prep and you can vary the spices so people don’t notice they’ve had them two last minute dinners running (also great on the BBQ). My basic recipe is this: 500g lamb mince, 1/2 red onion (softened in olive oil), 1 fat clove garlic (crushed and and added to onions for last 30 seconds), 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons ground coriander,* 1-2 red chillies (chopped) and seasoning; just mix everything together well with your hands, mould around skewers then grill. I vary them by adding chopped herbs like mint, parsley or coriander; spices like fennel, cardamom, ground cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg and some lemon or orange zest. The list goes on. Chuck it in and see what happens I say.

I usually serve them up in flatbreads with a tzatziki style sauce but the sight of a few red peppers threatening to wither and a bag of walnuts led me onto muhammara sauce; a thick slurry of pulsed nuts, smoky roasted sweet pepper, pomegranate molasses and breadcrumbs. The only slightly time consuming bit of making this sauce is roasting the peppers so I speed things up by just sitting them directly on the gas flame – just remember to turn them every so often and don’t be alarmed by the spitting and crackling. Also make sure to use something like tongs to pick them up, they will be super hot. My muhammara always comes out paler than others I’ve seen, which I think might be down to the traditional inclusion of aleppo pepper in the recipe; I just used two red chillies from my balcony…

For a bit of substance I also made a tabbouleh: parsley (about 80g as it should be the main ingredient), cooked bulgur wheat (about 50g, although I used barley cous cous this time), 6 chopped cherry tomatoes, 4 sliced spring onions (green parts only), a small handful of mint leaves, a crushed garlic clove, lemon juice, 4 tablespoons olive oil and seasoning. It was delicious but we ended up chucking the whole lot in flatbreads anyway for some carb on carb action. Sometimes it just has to be done.



Muhammara (NEW MUHAMMARA RECIPE HERE)

8 red peppers – roast them until the skins are blackened then place in a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave for 10 minutes. The skins should now be easy to remove. Chop roughly, discarding the seeds.
4 tbsp olive oil
70g walnuts
2 tablespoons hot pepper paste (available from Middle Eastern shops) or 2 red chillies, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted until fragrant in a dry pan and then ground to paste using a grinder or pestle and mortar
50-g white breadcrumbs blended to a paste with about 1 tbsp cold water
2-4 tbsp pomegranate molasses (to taste)
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper

Put the peppers, walnuts, breadcrumb paste, chillies, cumin, pomegranate molasses and garlic in a blender and blend to a paste. Remove from the blender and mix in the olive oil then taste and add seasoning.

27 comments » | Barbecue, Main Dishes, Meat, Salads, Sauces, Condiments and Spreads, Side Dishes, Vegetables

The BLAT

September 19th, 2009 — 12:21pm

In case you didn’t know, I’ve got a whole lot of love for the sandwiches. I’ve never been able to decide on my favourite but in truth, this must be it because I eat this sandwich every single Saturday morning. Yep. Sad, I know. Ladies and gentlemen, behold the BLAT. Bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato atop a healthy dollop of mayo on thick sliced white. Sometimes I’ll vary the bread – crazy, I know. Exciting times.

17 comments » | Sandwiches

Guilty Pleasures Dinner Party 2/Pork Party

September 17th, 2009 — 2:57pm

Earlier this year, on a dark, cold night in South London, a group of six bloggers gathered together to celebrate some gastronomic guilty pleasures – those things you really shouldn’t enjoy eating but oh, how you do. We had so much fun the first time round that we gathered again a couple of days ago for round two. I decided to step up my game this time and bring not one but two guilty pleasures, the first a regular in my repertoire and the second, one I’d been sitting on, just waiting for the right opportunity to make it.

We all arrived at host Niamh’s house, dripping wet from pelting rain but with bags of enthusiasm for the feasting ahead. As so many of us were to include pork in our offerings, we decided to re-name the meal ‘pork party’ and amused ourselves with the expected nature of extra traffic this would likely bring to our blogs, while nibbling on ‘canapes’ of cheese strings, babybels and dairylea dunkers, provided by Chris.

We decided to start the meal proper with some mini chorizo pizzas from Niamh, followed by my first GP of soft boiled eggs with buttery anchovy soldiers. Somehow I managed to hard boil the eggs and when Niamh cooked some more they were under-done; who knew food bloggers can’t even boil an egg?! Thankfully, the anchovy dippers went down a treat despite the double fail.

Next Lizzie whipped up some Spam pancakes or Spamcakes, as they were quickly re-named. These were wonderfully stodgy, with a salty hit from the spam – even better dunked in a dollop of hot sauce for a double GP hit. As we all scoffed the pancakes, a spicy, meaty aroma started to waft around the kitchen and Dan soon produced his ‘sleasy cheesy silly chilli'; nachos were melded together with an oozing layer of melted red Leicester, ready for scooping up piles of his frankly rather brilliant chilli. His secret apparently, is to add a splash of Dave’s Insanity Sauce plus a touch of our beloved swine meat. Always with the swine. It was meaty, fiery goodness and I ate rather too much of it. I won’t go into details.

Niamh did what she does best and whacked a big old lump of spiced pig belly in the oven,  roasting until the crackling was bubbly crisp and the meat still juicy. You can never eat enough pork in our opinion, which brings me nicely onto my second contribution – David Lebovitz’s candied bacon ice cream (top photo). I even bought an ice cream maker just for this one recipe. I’ve only made ice cream once before and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, particularly now I don’t have to take it out of the freezer and stir it every couple of hours. One word of warning though, you’ve got to watch that bacon like a HAWK. I burnt two lots and totally ruined a baking tray in the process.

Once I’d finally managed to get it right, the bacon was chopped into teeny pieces and stirred through the ice cream at the last minute. The end result was a vanilla scented fudgy flavour from the brown sugar, although I was a little disappointed that it didn’t taste more bacon-y so I candied some extra at the last minute to sprinkle on top. If you are the least bit sceptical about bacon ice cream let me reassure you, it really does work. Think bacon with maple syrup and honey glazed ham – the sweet/smoke/meat combo is a winner.

So there you have it – an unashamed pork-fest, with a bit of plastic cheese and anchovy dippers thrown in. Guilty pleasures ahoy. Dan and Denise also brought along some interesting wines, which you can read about on their blogs. My personal favourite was the Alois Lageder Gewürztraminer, which made a valiant attempt at taming that ferocious beast of a chilli. The wine flowed, the food kept-a-comin’ and the revelery was typically raucous. We faced some nasty weather conditions, a broken down fridge, a double egg disaster and a crackling fail but ultimately, we triumphed, such is our dedication to the filthy snack.

You can see my full Flickr set from the evening here.

Thanks to Niamh for the top photo.

12 comments » | Far Out Crazy, Guilty Pleasures, Ice Cream, Meat

A Peckham Restaurant Crawl

September 16th, 2009 — 1:26pm

When Jonathan suggested starting up some regular local restaurant crawls recently, I was so excited, I stepped up to the challenge of leading the very first crawl around my manor, Peckham. The idea is that our group of five would order a starter in one restaurant, a main in a second followed by dessert in a third and then finally drinks in a bar. This particular crawl was scheduled to take place on a Thursday night and I was worried we might not fit everything in but it turned out my fretting was needless as the evening was a blinder. We’ve divvied up the posts between us and so I’ve inserted write-ups of each place visited below. After meeting in Bar Story (more of that later), we moved onto Ganapati for starters. I’ll hand you over to Lizzie

“Ganapati is a South Indian restaurant on a leafy street in the heart of Peckham. When we arrived, I was surprised by the interior; bare wooden country home-style tables were well spaced out and it was light and airy, atypical of the generic curry houses that I’m used to. Pretty sprays of flowers made the place look homely, and there was a pleasing waft of curry leaves. We were welcomed to our table warmly and we explained our plans for the evening to our rather bemused server. While perusing the A4 laminated menu, we were brought a jug of tap water to share. Instantly and rather predictably for me, the ‘aubergine bhurta’ appealed – a smoky aubergine salad with chilli and spices. This was delicious, and even the aubergine sceptic of our party loved it. The smoky flesh of the aubergine was both creamy and slightly tart, with a subtle chilli hint. We also had the crab thoran, which was suitably crabby and had delicious chunks of coconut in it. A masala dosa drew gasps of incredulity from the sheer size of it. Given it’s a pancake stuffed with potato, we wondered how much one would struggle if following it with a main course.



Vegetarian street snacks were extremely moreish and I wish we’d ordered two lots of these, and done away with the vegetable achar, which was simply just pickled vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge pickle fan but these were a little unexciting whereas the street snacks were expertly fried, light and grease-free. We accompanied our starters with a Cobra beer, and I was a touch taken aback when the bill weighed in at a hefty £45, including service. Perhaps I am too used to the ample delights of Tayyabs. Nevertheless, I am still keen to sample their main courses… I spotted a spicy aubergine masala that caught my attention.”

Ganapati
38 Holly Grove, SE15 5DF
0207 277 2928
ganapatirestaurant.com

Ganapati on Urbanspoon

For the main course I decided to play a wild card. Sure, we could have gone to Il Giardino for Italian (I’ve never been but it’s recommended by mates) or The Gowlett for pizza but that just didn’t feel very, well…Peckham. So, I picked a Nigerian restaurant just down the road, crossed my fingers and hoped for best. Here’s Chris’s account of our meal…

“I’m not proud of it, but I have been known to occasionally turn a blind eye to the ethical sourcing of meat and fish in favour of a better meal. This is the curse of the food-lover, sadly – it may be cute and fluffy with huge brown eyes and one of only a handful in existence but if it tastes good fried and served with a tomato salad then the choice is unfortunately made for me. Out of my hands, sorry – nothing I can do. You can give me all the statistics you like about the world’s cod supply and how over fishing is slowly bringing about Armageddon but the fact remains cod has a gorgeous, flaky flesh and rock (which fashionable foodies will try and tell you is the “new cod”) has all the flavour and texture of a bag of sand. Natural selection, innit.”

“That said, even I flinched at the sight of Dodo on the menu at the Delta Tavern, our main course stop on the Peckham Restaurant crawl. I weighed up the options in my mind – greatest scientific discovery of the last 500 years, or the chance to try a dish before Dos Hermanos got to it? I would have ordered it too, if it wasn’t for the fact it turned out to just be fried plantain. So instead, we ordered the worryingly non-specific “Assorted meat” and “Spicy Fried Fish”, each accompanied by a generous portion of fried rice for a measly £5 a dish.”



“In common with other African cuisines I’ve tried (and I have Cadbury to thank for my introduction to Ghanaian cuisine a couple of months back), it’s about making the most out of cheap flesh and still ending up with a filling – and most importantly spicy – plate of food. The meat was largely gelatinous and fatty, with some tripe in there too, but doused in the onion and bell pepper sauce it was pleasantly fiery and with an interesting range of textures. The fried fish was overcooked in parts but was a charmingly simple preparation – the whole back end of a fish coated in spices and dipped into boiling fat. It was nicely crunchy and was washed down very well with the £2 cans of Stella (see if you can get them cheaper at your local offie!). It was a perfectly decent and very, very cheap dinner. Well done them.”

Delta Tavern
58 Rye Lane, SE15 4RJ
0207 450 7048
http://deltatavern.com/

Delta Tavern on Urbanspoon

Last but by no means least we headed to Frank’s Campari pop up bar (which also serves cake and therefore could provide us with dessert), situated on top of Peckham’s delightful multi-storey car park. Here’s what Jonathan had to say about it…

“We approached Frank’s Café and Campari Bar with fear and trepidation. Sinister red paint trickled down the ammonia scented concrete stairs and made us feel as though we were in a prequel to an episode of Waking the Dead. When we emerged on the roof of the multi storey car park we were silenced by the most awe inspiring view over London you will find anywhere in the capital. From the Dome in the east, past Docklands and into the City the lights twinkled and our jaws ached from gaping.

With a beer in hand, we ignored the sign saying no drinks beyond this point and explored the two top floors which were filled with rather bizarre, but fun, works of art.The highlight was a chauffeur driven ride, by one of the artists, in a futuristic looking golf buggy/go-cart which used the sculptures as its obstacle course. Just imagine a combination of Mad Max, Back to the Future and a tour around the Whitechapel Gallery.

Frank’s serves drinks and food from their BBQ until 10pm.”

Frank’s Café and Campari Bar
10th Floor, Peckham Multi-Story Car Park
95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
www.frankscafe.org.uk

We wound up the evening with a few drinks in Bar Story. Here are local gal Jassy’s thoughts…

“Stuffed into the back of a railway arch, and with a junk yard vibe out front, Bar Story used to be where Peckham’s art set gathered to admire each other’s fixed wheel bikes and vintage hats. Now it’s where everyone goes once Frank’s is shut. They must be looking forward to October 1st.

The decoration is minimal – they have painted walls, communal tables and doors on the toilets – and the atmosphere is relaxed. We started and ended our evening there. I noted that they have a huge cocktail menu, which we didn’t try, and a food menu that runs the gamut of contemporary pub favourites, from houmous and pitta to chicken curry, pizza and chips. We didn’t try that either. In fact, all we did was drink lager and cider, drop a glass and cheer the firemen that wandered through, possibly to tell off the staff for letting people sit round a large bin of fire in the front yard.

For the firemen, the friendly bar staff and the fact that they often play Tina Turner’s greatest hits, I’m going to give them two thumbs up. Not as good as Frank’s, obviously (gnash your teeth Bar Story), but the best we’ll have once Frank’s is gone.”

Bar Story
213 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL
T: 020 7635 6643
www.barstory.co.uk

So there you have it – the inaugural restaurant crawl. I’m delighted I took the plunge as the night was an absolute stonker. You know by now how I feel about Peckham so I won’t bang on too much. Yes, it has problems but it’s also bursting with energy and personality. I love a bit of a gritty, smelly edge to my neighbourhood. I love the pumping beats which accompany me on my walk to the station and I love the fact I can buy African land snails…you know, if I wanted to. I recently read a comment on a review site that described Peckham as an, “unadulterated shithole” and went so far as to ask, “who the hell lives in Peckham?” Well, apart from an estimated 26,000 people, numbskull, I do thanks very much, and I love it.

Thank you to Lizzie and Jonathan for some of the photos.

25 comments » | Peckham, Restaurant Crawls, Restaurant Reviews

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