Best restaurants in Peckham
Check out our favourite restaurants, bars and foodie spots in this buzzing area of south-east London. Try Persian meze, low-intervention wines, Indian street food nibbles and more
Looking for restaurants in Peckham? Check out our favourite restaurants, bars and foodie spots in the SE area, from French-style bistros to Persian meze and plant-based Indian street food. After, read about our favourite new openings in London.
Best restaurants in Peckham
Peckham Arches, Blenheim Grove
Find this trendy south-east London haunt underneath the railway arches of Peckham Rye station, complete with a botanical garden terrace, two cocktail bars and art gallery. Watch chefs as they sling pizza from a wood-fired oven, laden with toppings such as Italian spicy sausage, mozzarella and Frank’s hot honey or – our favourite – ’nduja with mozzarella, pickled red chilli and red onion, finished with lashings of creamy garlic sauce. Choose from a selection of hot, crunchy morsels on the ‘nibbles’ menu – the mushroom and truffle arancini and the crispy courgette fries are not to be missed. Cocktails are given equal attention, offering refreshing mezcal and tequila numbers like a picante, a grapefruit margarita and a passion fruit mezcalita. Natural wines, ‘regular’ wines, draught and local beers are also available. peckhamarches.com
Mambow, Market Peckham
The latest from Michelin-trained chef Abby Lee, Mambow is a modern Malaysian restaurant tucked in the corner of Market Peckham. A polished yet casual complex where you’ll also find south-east favourites Forza Wine and ramen joint Tonkotsu, rows of open kitchens frame the low-lit communal space, furnished with table-counter seating and high tables for walk-ins and reservations. Mambow’s compact menu focuses on Nyonya (Chinese-Malaysian) dishes, where fragrant small plates teeming with heat take centre stage. Wine is given equal importance, thanks to a menu of natural wines curated by Les Caves de Pyrene. The starter of crunchy Nyonya pickles is a must-order, as is the lor bak: juicy pork and prawn encased in crispy, deep-fried bean curd clusters and served with a lip-smacking, jammy chilli vinegar. For mains, there’s the earthy kick of the fish curry, soaked up by fluffy turmeric rice, while the fragrant jackfruit curry – the menu’s vegetarian option – makes a creamier, cooler alternative. The menu’s dessert, a palate-cleansing pandan jelly cendol topped with red beans (a south-east Asian iced dessert), is the perfect antidote to the fierier flavours of the savoury dishes. mambow.co.uk
Kudu Grill, Nunhead
The latest in the mini London family-run south African empire, in a converted Truman’s boozer in Nunhead, focuses on braai-style open-fire cooking over South African coals. Elegant dark green velvet booths hug exposed brick walls adorned with vintage mirrors, and four burnt orange stools at the counter bar provide opportunity to watch chefs caress meat and veg with flames and shake up smoky cocktails. Try the smoky strawberry-infused bourbon negroni and a zippy, chilli-infused tequila margarita in a chilli salt-rimmed coupe. Share pillowy potato flatbreads with slivers of lardo, zingy chimichurri and fermented garlic. Nibble knobbly pork tails coated in sweet honey mustard. Plump, in-shell prawns are slathered in creamy peri peri and harissa beef tartare is topped with crispy onion rings and zhoug. For main, perfectly pink slices of pork chop are accompanied with south Africa’s iconic sweet and tangy BBQ monkey gland sauce. Both potato dishes are must-orders: a small cast iron pot keeps the creamy chicken-skin-topped smoked potato warm, while crunchy beef fat fingerlings encase piping hot fluffy centres. For pudding, the mint chocolate crémeux with whipped dulce de leche cream and a delicate sable biscuit is a perfect after-dinner tart. kuducollective.com
En Root, Peckham Rye
Brothers Nish and Harsh have come a long way since selling hot sauce at markets in 2016, expanding to a bricks-and-mortar in Clapham and, more recently, a plant-based restaurant in Peckham decked with plants, draped mandala tapestries and decorative cushions.
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Sip on the watermelon juice with beetroot, apple, ginger and mint during summer evenings, or ask for the modestly priced cocktail menu, where juices are livened with rum. Nourishing vegan fare lies at the heart of En Root, offering Indian classics and street food nibbles infused with Gujarati spices. Start with sharing bites: puri is filled with beetroot, onions and chickpeas, and submerged in date tamarind masala water, while the plantain chaat – seasoned plantain on a bed of beetroot, onions, chickpeas, ‘spice krispies’ and chutney – is an explosion of sweet crunch.
For mains, saag aloo-filled dosas come with lentil soup and coconut chutney. Or, for optimum health, try the buddha bowl, generously filled with rainbow salad, baba ghanoush, sprouted lentils, curried chickpeas, plantain and avocado. To finish, the mango lassi cheesecake on an oaty coconut base offers a healthier twist on the original – best served with creamy chai. enrootldn.co.uk
Peckham Cellars, Queen's Road
Elegant floor-to-ceiling Crittal windows frame this breezy, laid-back wine bar on Queen's Road in Peckham. Start with a glass of lemony Gusbourne fizz from Kent before delving into a wine list defined by sustainably minded, small-scale producers, with plenty of affordable options by the glass. We try another Kentish stunner – Westwell's Ortega Amphora 2019, fermented in terracotta jars – with fragrant apricot and honey suckle notes, before moving onto summery, cherry-tinged chilled gamay, available on tap at the bar.
A quietly industrious open kitchen, led by chef Henry Freestone – garlanded with a Bib Gourmand in 2020 – amiably sends out plates of unfussy yet deceptively luxurious food. Highlights include springy sourdough with whipped lemon and rosemary butter, porchetta layered with crispy, salty shards of crackling, and filo-wrapped asparagus with a soft-boiled duck egg for dipping. Save space for pudding – a decadent lemon meringue pie sundae is the childhood dessert of dreams.
South-east Londoners looking for interesting wines to drink at home should also check out PC's Club Del Vino, which delivers curated cases of wine, as well as discounts and offers on the bar's online wine shop. peckhamcellars.co.uk
Levan, Blenheim Grove
Inspired by the new-wave bistros of Paris, Levan’s short menu is split into three sections – snacks, small plates and larger sharing dishes. Start with a few snacks –tuck into a unique comté panisse that’s deep-fried to produce bouncy, cheesy domino fries to dip into saffron aïoli.
The highlight of the small plates is the ravioli – thick pasta parcels filled with brown butter-caramelised celeriac, accompanied by knobbly, deep-fried jerusalem artichokes and crisp cavolo nero. For mains, the vacherin pie is rich and cheesy, peppery and earthy – a shiny golden dome with frilly outer crust that collapses into layers of dauphinoise potatoes, slow-cooked black trompette and chestnut mushrooms and melted vacherin cheese. Finish with tarte tatin. The golden puff pastry melts away, with salted caramel-braised apple slices adding lip-smacking salty-sweetness.
The carefully curated wine list focusses on low-intervention and natural wines. Jura chardonnay is super fresh with toffee notes, while vibrant trousseau makes for a light and fruity red with a hint of smoke. There are just two cocktails: the simple ‘white’ mixes Tanqueray 10 with Belthasar riesling vermouth over a large block of ice, while the ‘red’ is served in a more elegant flute with wine-based Ciroc vodka, sweet and dry vermouth. levanlondon.co.uk
Skylight, Theatre Walk
In recent years, Peckham has become home to a clutch of renowned rooftop restaurants and bars. Skylight Peckham, on top of theatre school Mountview, is the newest in the fleet and boasts a striking sweeping city-wide view. The impressive interiors, including a zinc-topped bar, are second to the signature list of cocktails – including a super-charged South London Iced Tea, packed with cognac, rum, tequila, vodka, Cointreau and cranberry juice. A comforting and spacious interior makes this a perfect place for warm summer evenings on the terrace or even somewhere to sit and have lunch while working. A highlight on the menu is the burrata topped with smoked aubergine and 'nduja, or visit on Sundays for a rotating BBQ menu featuring South African, Portuguese and Jamaican dishes. skylightbars.com/peckham
Frank’s Café, Rye Lane
This is about as trendy and hipster as you get, but in the best possible way. On top of a multi-storey car park in Peckham, there's a pithy list of on-trend drinks, from negronis, margaritas and cucumber gimlets to jug cocktails such as white port and tonic, and fruity rum punch. Snacks include brown sugar hot wings, deep-fried mackerel in a bun, and lamb breast kebab with burnt chilli yogurt. boldtendencies.com/franks-cafe
Persepolis, Peckham High Street
Pay a visit to Persepolis for a taste of Persia in the heart of Peckham. Beyond the deli’s impressive selection of tins, spices, Persian yogurts and display of shisha pipes, you’ll find a cosy hideout where diners feast on freshly made meze platters and veggie and vegan delights such as eggs scrambled with dates and fragrant spices, and dairy-free knickerbocker glories.
This popular café is a favourite among locals for its no-nonsense, avocado-free breakfasts (think mango and tamarind smoothies and pots of Persian tea with cardamom); however, the £20 tasting menu is the real standout: a colourful carousel of food spanning meze, soup, mains and a dessert platter filled with ice cream, paklava and fruit. foratasteofpersia.co.uk
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