Just a short walk from the noise and activity of Peckham Rye station and you’ll find yourself on trendy Bellenden Road. Lined with pretty Georgian terraces and local shops including a butchers, fishmongers and general store, this is also where you’ll spot neighbourhood restaurant Anderson & Co.
It’s a long, narrow room but the interior is light and bright with bare wooden tables, open kitchen and a courtyard garden at the back. This all-day café/restaurant attracts locals from young families to students with a selection of cakes on the counter and favourites like eggs benedict, kedgeree, french toast and burgers on the day-time menus.
In the evening you’ll find some more serious cooking. We started with the intriguing green pancakes made with spinach and herbs and served with sprouting broccoli, farro, pint nuts and semi-dried tomatoes that would have made a delicious salad by itself. A second starter of fluffy twice-baked goat’s cheese soufflé with a slight crunch coming from a walnut crust served with wafer-thin pear and a parmesan crisp was technically sound, but would benefit from a stronger goat’s cheese flavour.
Mains include onglet steak, burgers and fishcakes, but these sit alongside more refined dishes such as perfectly cooked, flaky pan-fried bream with al dente Puy lentils, wild mushrooms and watercress – flavours that complimented rather than overpowered the fish. Barnsley lamb chop is sourced from expert butchers Flock and Herd just a few doors down and came served with thyme butter, wilted spinach and a smooth, flavoursome white bean and anchovy purée that came together into a well-executed, comforting dish.
A freshy, zesty lemon posset with passionfruit and homemade shortbread is the perfect palette cleanser to finish on, but if you’re looking for something a little more indulgent, the rich chocolate mousse spiked with fresh bursts of pomegranate and crunch of crumbled honeycomb is a must-try. So often chocolate desserts are disappointing and leave you wishing you’d waiting to snaffle a bar when you got home, but this was different. Rich but not heavy, indulgent but fresh, this alone is worth coming back for.
The wines, too, are excellent with some lesser-known grapes on the menu such as a Sicilian grillo; golden yellow with notes of citrus and white flowers and a slightly creamy texture, it was a very pleasant surprise to find such a good example of this type of wine in a small restaurant.
While there are some elements on the menu that don’t quite hit the mark at this stage, there is some fantastic, comforting cooking combined with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and great wines. This is the kind of place you want as your local.
Written by Sarah Kingsbury, April 2016
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