Last night, Anderson & Co. on Bellenden Road hosted the first Peckham Persian supper, cooked by shop keeper and food writer Sally Butcher of Persepolis. Sally’s book ‘Persia in Peckham’ is one of the few I regularly cook from as opposed to flick through so I was very keen to try a traditional Iranian meal cooked by the woman herself. This is likely to become a regular thing by the way; I’m not going to tell you about a one-off event that’s already happened, ‘ooh I had a brilliant time! You can’t go though’.
We started with a big ‘ol plate of herbs, walnuts, white cheese (like feta) and radishes. Herbs are very important at the beginning of a Persian meal we are told; coriander, parsley and mint are eaten in sprigs like salad leaves and have various effects on the body such as cleansing the liver and kidneys and stimulating the appetite for the meal ahead.
Next is warm taftoon bread (like a cross between pitta and naan), which we use to scoop up meze. The word meze is derived from the Persian word ‘mazeh’ meaning ‘taste’, apparently. Fact. We descend upon must-e-laboo, a refreshing, sweet and lurid pink combination of thick yoghurt and beetroot. Mirza ghassemi is an outrageously garlic-y mix of spiced aubergine, tomato and eggs. Our party all loves garlic, so we wolf it like gannets, a heavy vampire-repelling forcefield forming around the table. There are also excellent pickles including the famous Persian pickled cucumbers; sweet, sour, hot and perfectly crisp.
The main course was ab-gusht: shoulder of lamb slow cooked with dried limes and beans. Fat, wibbly hunks of tender lamb and potatoes covered in a fragrant broth. Real comfort on a somewhat chilly evening. Adass pulao was lentil rice with date fudge; the rice studded with lentils which stayed firm and provided a nice bite every now and then. The date fudge = my favourite part of the whole meal; chunks of a sweet, sticky paste to counteract the citrussy stew. We squabbled over the last pieces.
To finish, a stunning Persian rose water sorbet, mixed with small pieces of noodle, which sounds really weird but I promise works. The 1cm lengths of noodle are soft and just provide a pleasing texture. There were sinful Persian pastries too, tooth-destroying sweet, saturated with sticky syrup. Delicious. I forgot to take a picture of both of those though because it’s BYO booze and I drank too much.
All in all, a perfect evening was had by me, 3 mates and 1 boyfriend. Anderson & Co. is a great location, it feels really intimate despite seating about 30 (that’s a guess) and we got one of the best seats, right by the kitchen. The food was unusual, delicious, plentiful and served on great big sharing platters; my idea of heaven. Sally was a charming host as well as cook and she came round to explain each dish as it was served. I can’t wait to go back to the next one. Of course I recommend that you go too, so keep an eye on the news section of the Persepolis website for details.
Persian Pop-up at Anderson & Co.
Follow the website here for details of the next event. Anderson & Co. also host other evening meals, once a week I believe on a Wednesday. It’s a cafe/deli in the day time and is well worth checking out, as is this article.
28-30 Peckham High Street
0207 639 8007
If you pick up a copy of Red Magazine this month and turn to page 110 there’s an article where I talk about how bloody brilliant Persepolis is with lovely pictures of the shop.