No longer is South-east London rarely thought of when it comes to top-class eateries, and that¡¯s largely thanks to Peckham, which is home to some of the best restaurants in the capital. A melting pot of street food stalls, fine dining and quick bites, the area¡¯s local restaurants are worth catching the overground for ¨C even for those coming all the way North London. Here¡¯s our tried and tested pick of the best, in no particular order.
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1. Kudu Grill
Best Peckham restaurant for: Lunch with the family
Choosing what to eat from the incredible menu at Kudu Grill is never easy, but the grilled potato flatbread with lardo and wild garlic should be a no-brainer. From there, everything is beautifully Braai-cooked using an open fire ¨C the rib-eye steak is, of course, a highlight, but fish and cauliflower pose something of a dilemma. The restaurant follows in the footsteps of its Queen’s Road predecessor, and has been an incredible success with locals. Housed within a former pub in Nunhead, just off Peckham Rye, the interior is cosy and chic, while staff are clearly passionate about what they’re serving up. Our tip is to drop in for the set lunch menu, then meander over to Smokey Kudu, the brand’s cocktail bar, for one or two tipples to finish off the afternoon perfectly.?
Address: 57 Nunhead Lane, London SE15 3TR Website: kuducollective.com
2. Peckham Cellars
Best Peckham restaurant for: Small plates to share over a bottle of wine
Michelin Bib Gourmand-winning restaurant and wine bar Peckham Cellars is fast-becoming one of the most in-demand local restaurants ¨C so much so, that¡¯s it¡¯s one of our best restaurants in London thanks to its inventive small plates menu, and a wine selection so good you¡¯ll be tempted to take a bottle home. Expect the likes of burrata, served with seasonal ingredients such as winter tomatoes, and fried artichoke with parmesan cream and serrano crumb on the regularly-changing menu. Cellars also hosts regular wine tastings with food pairings for those keen to know more about the bottles available.
Address: 125 Queen’s Rd, London SE15 2ND Website: peckhamcellars.co.uk
3. Corner Store
Best Peckham restaurant for: Brunch
Corner Store’s crullers ¨C deep-fried doughnut-style pastries covered in moreish cinnamon sugar or a topping of your choice ¨C are so popular with locals that they often sell out by midday on weekends. The New York-style restaurant appeals to those looking to cure a hefty hangover, thanks to freshly-made bagels stuffed with bacon, cheese and egg, or those catching some sun on the outdoor terrace with an iced coffee. Expect friendly staff, a chilled atmosphere and a menu you¡¯ll be tempted to return for.
Address: 31 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UH Instagram: @cornerstore?
Best Peckham restaurant for: A true eating experience
Ask a Peckham local if they know Persepolis, and they¡¯ll no doubt wax lyrical about the huge Persian plates offered up as part of a multi-course tasting menu, that ensures an evening starting at 6pm often leads to you leaving at 9, full but still desperate for one more piece of baklava (luckily you can buy it from the shop on the way out). Dishes are vegetarian (or can be vegan) and you can expect a mezze plate of creamy houmous, moreish honeyed halloumi and piles of fresh bread for dipping. For catching up with a big group of friends over delicious food, you won’t find better.?
Address: 28-30 Peckham High St, London SE15 5DT Website: foratasteofpersia.co.uk
Best Peckham restaurant for: An inventive Italian menu
Artusi is one of the best Italian restaurants in London. A locally loved Peckham spot that punches well above its weight, serving seriously good home-made pasta with simple ingredients: hazelnut, brown butter, Parmesan and sage; grilled squid, winter tomatoes, spinach and mint; fennel sausage and ‘nduja. The menu, which changes seasonally, is scribbled on large chalkboards on the white walls of this Bellenden Road spot. Start with a short tumbler of Aperol Spritz and do save room for pudding of
Torta Sbrisolona, an Italian almond cake, or homemade ice cream.
Address: Artusi, 116 Bellenden Road, Peckham, London, SE15 4DH Website: artusi.co.uk
Best Peckham restaurant for: Lunchtime sandwiches
Created by the trio behind much-loved Levan, this new arrival takes up the corner shop next door (formerly Brick House Bakery). Also taking its name from Seventies DJ Larry Levan, who wrote the blueprint for modern dance music, a daily menu is scribbled on a lightbox above the counter and interiors are overtly retro with bright orange tables and green Eames chairs. Designed to be slightly less refined than its older siblings, it¡¯s as tempting for a long breakfast as a grab-and-go lunch. For supper, start with giant pickles and ¡®nduja-soaked focaccia or potato latkes drizzled in a fermented chilli mayo. Mains are hearty ¨C chicken liver and ¡®nduja pappardelle or crispy pork escalope with a tangy coleslaw; pair with the tomato and watermelon salad with mint and a punch of chilli. With boiled eggs and soldiers served at breakfast, and huge melanzane filled focaccias at lunchtime, this little restaurant is laid-back, fun and just a little bit naughty.
Address: Larry¡¯s, Unit 5, 12-16 Blenheim Grove, Peckham, London SE15 4QL Website: larryspeckham.co.uk
Best Peckham restaurant for: Trying something new
Sister of Kudu Grill, this contemporary South African small plate restaurant has plenty of old fashioned charm. Don’t skip the cast-iron pot of cumin-brioche-like
mosbolletjies dunked straight into shrimp or lardon-laced molten-butter. A beer-and-onion tarte tatin (which any French pastry chef would be proud of) is topped with a goats-curd quenelle. And a dish of lamb’s neck braaied over an open fire is well matched with smoked yoghurt, lettuce and brussel tops. Open for brunch on weekends ¨C the sourdough waffles are a must.
For our full review of Kudu , click here.
Address: Kudu, 119 Queens Road, London SE15 2EZ Website: kudu-restaurant.com
Best Peckham restaurant for: A sophisticated menu
Taking over the space formerly occupied by Peckham stalwart The Refreshment Rooms, this new opening from Nicholas Balfe had a lot to live up to when it opened in November 2018. Balfe is an alumni of the city¡¯s Young Turk supper-club collective and his first proper restaurant was Salon, in Brixton’s Market Row. Locals need not have worried because the menu is spot on: inventive and largely plant-based, but with seriously hearty French flair. Don’t skip the Comt¨¦ dusted fries which come with a neat dollop of saffron aioli.
Address: Levan, 12-16 Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QL Website: levanlondon.co.uk
9. Taco Queen
Previously located in the Bussey Building basement, Taco Queen used to be a bit of a local secret, but now ¨C judging from the consistent queues along Rye Lane for its bricks-and-mortar spot ¨C it looks like the word is out. Tacos and cheesy quesadillas are churned out of the open kitchen and served in kitschy yellow plastic baskets. Our favourite is the delicious cauliflower with blue cheese and peanuts, though the mulita steak is also delicious and there is, of course, an option for vegans. This is a no-frills spot serving some of London¡¯s best tacos. Just be prepared to wait for them.
Address: Taco Queen, 191 Rye Lane, Peckham, London SE15 4TP Instagram: tacoqueenldn
10. Peckham Bazaar
Best Peckham restaurant for: Unique flavours
People travel from all over London to eat at this taverna-style restaurant; on a residential road east of Rye Lane, it’s not a place you’d just stumble across. Albanian owner John Gionleka uses a charcoal grill to cook sweet prawn kebabs, courgette fritters and pork and lamb adanas with baba ganoush. Egyptian stuffed quail is served with roast aubergine, and a slow braised shoulder of Welsh lamb comes with coco beans and Charleston peppers. In short: it’s worth the trip.
Address: Peckham Bazaar, 119 Consort Road, Peckham, London, SE15 3RU Website: peckhambazaar.com
11. Yada¡¯s Green Kitchen
Best Peckham restaurant for: Feeling like a local
Across the road from Peckham Rye station, hidden down an alley under one of the railway¡¯s arches is Yada¡¯s Green Kitchen; a family-run restaurant serving up Kurdish food that¡¯s so good, locals almost don¡¯t want to share. First-timers should try the Kubba (traditional rice patties stuffed with lamb and nuts), or chicken shawarma, while vegans and vegetarians are well catered-for with tomato stews and mouth watering pistachio hummus on offer. It¡¯s also BYOB, making it the ideal place to catch up with friends over a few leisurely hours.
Address: 104-106, Rye Ln, London SE15 4RZ
12. Mr Bao
Best Peckham restaurant for: A menu you’ll never be bored by
Mr Bao is the place to find some of the lightest and fluffiest Taiwanese bao buns in London. The pork-belly Benedict bao is a brunch-time revelation. Pair it with a Szechuan-spiced Old Fashioned or a raspberry-sake Martini. Later on, the slow braised Flock & Herd pork bun with pickles and peanut powder is not to be missed – team it with the smashed cucumber for the full effect. Founder ‘Mr Bao’ is actually married to the Spanish owner of Choumert road Andalucian joint, Miss Tapas, which is also worth a visit for the runny-in-the-middle tortillas, salty padr¨®n peppers and rich ham croquettes.
Address: Mr Bao, 293 Rye Lane, Peckham, London, SE15 4UA Website: mrbao.co.uk
13. B¨¢nh B¨¢nh
Best restaurant for: Vietnamese dishes in a laid-back environment
There¡¯s no doubt that London serves up every cuisine you could possibly desire, but great Vietnamese food is still difficult to find. B¨¢nh B¨¢nh was started by five siblings in honour of their grandmother, who was a chef in Vietnam in the 1940s, and satisfies every craving. Steaming bowls of pho are served alongside fresh prawn and papaya salads and stuffed b¨¢nh m¨¬, and there¡¯s an inventive cocktail menu to go alongside the dishes. Veggies are well catered-for, and the restaurant hosts meat-free Mondays every week.
Address: 46 Peckham Rye, Peckham, London SE15 4JR Website: banhbanh.com
14. The Begging Bowl
Best Peckham restaurant for: Upmarket Thai cuisine
An excellent spot for unusual Thai sharing plates on Bellenden Road. The duck-leg curry is topped with watermelon radish and pickled kohlrabi and a whole squid comes with a sour chilli sauce. The dining room has a modern feel, with painted reclaimed wood and a greenhouse courtyard which is particularly nice on a summer’s evening. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations for groups less than six, so if it’s just a couple of you put your name down and have a drink at the Victoria Inn across the road.
Address: The Begging Bowl, 168 Bellenden Road, Peckham, London SE15 4BW Website: thebeggingbowl.co.uk
Best Peckham restaurant for: South Indian cooking
This is about as far as an Indian restaurant in London could get from a high-street joint churning out fluorescent-coloured tikka masala. At Ganapati, the south Indian cooking is inspired by Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; the standout Naranga fish curry is made with sea bass and cooked in ground coconut and spices. Interiors are simple, with long wooden tables and schoolroom-style fold-out chairs ¨C not a white tablecloth in sight.
Address: Ganapati, 38 Holly Grove, Peckham, London, SE15 5DF Website: ganapatirestaurant.co.uk