Pedler – Peckham Rye

When you hear Peckham, Only Fools and Horses and the sitcom Desmond’s may spring to mind. Sure the high street is packed with chicken and hair weave shops (separate venues) but like so many areas, it has not escaped the gentrification that has enhanced (for some) many London boroughs outside of Zone 1. This has brought with it a new wave of residents, and a surge in new bars, shops and restaurants.

I’ll start by saying if Pedler ever thought of opening a second outpost, then please do consider my area Crystal Palace. This place is the kind of neighbourhood restaurant I would kill to have nearby.

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I can honestly say the service we received was probably the best I’ve ever encountered – hands down. When we arrive our booking doesn’t appear to be on the system. The place is heaving so I begin to fear the worst. But no – the beyond delightful manager (I think) sat us down in two comfy armchairs to peruse the menu. After only a ten minute wait we are seated at our table.

I hate to use the word quirky but I can’t think of a better description. It’s relaxed and cosy but with a stylish edge, whilst not straying into hipster territory. A handsome bar houses an impressive array of spirits including Little Bird gin which is the owners other venture. I’ve spotted this small batch tipple at Maltby Street Market before, but have yet to try it.

Unusual objects adorn walls and surfaces, but the styling doesn’t stray into ‘try hard’. A large cows head sits on one wall, a gold pineapple (their logo) hangs from another. On the day we visit a fresh white rose sits on each table. The attention to detail is terrific without feeling contrived. There’s an appealing looking booth area for large groups, and a tiny open kitchen that sits right at the back.

So yes – the food. I am focused on a roast so go for Yorkshire Riddings rib of beef which I am told has been cooked for three hours. My veggie friend chooses a roasted cauliflower Mac’n cheese – the cheese having beer and mustard in it. Cor. She says its lovely.

My beef is so tender and tasty, and essentially looks like a steak. We both get a head sized Yorkshire pudding and a huge bowl of root veg – turnips, carrots, parsnips and two types of potatoes. It’s all really good. Our waitress tells us the menu changes almost daily in the week.

Crockery and cutlery is mismatched – a bit like what your granny had. My gravy arrives in a little silver vintage jug and my whipped horseradish on a little seashell shaped dish. Water is available in huge brown glass medicine bottles.

Full to the rafters, we naturally order pudding. We both choose a lovely apple crumble served with a creamy homemade vanilla custard – no Ambrosia here.

I have to stop at this point and mention the immense music selection. Standout out tracks included ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ ‘Love Cats’ ‘Run Rabbit Run’ and ‘Love and Marriage.’ Like I say eclectic but utterly joyful.

The clientele are a mixed bunch, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. You almost forget it’s a Sunday afternoon. We chat to the couple next to us and another behind – it is massively friendly much like the staff.

The cocktail selection looks fabulous (many featuring Little Bird) but as it’s a workday tomorrow we go for a bottle of wine – Portuguese Vinho Verde – a particular favourite which is not available in many places. It’s slightly fizzy and a bit lower alcohol than the usual white offerings and this was lovely. The wine list was impressive overall with the starting price for a bottle (referred to as a flagon) at £18, and cocktails were around the £7-8 mark which isn’t too shabby.

If you’re London-based I’d highly recommend coming down to SE15. There’s plenty to explore in nearby (no sniggering) Bellenden Rd, with indie cafes and shops and a great pub the Victoria Inn (also a B&B). Peckham Rye park is also lovely – housing an arboretum and Japanese garden.

Open all day for brunch, lunch, dinner and in between I think Pedler would be perfect for a raft of different occasions. It’s not open on a Monday though – just so you know. I cannot wait to come back here – no matter what time of day.

 

 

 

The Gutsy Chutney Supper Club – Wandsworth

I’d never been to a supper club until last night. I knew they were happening across London every day of the week but somehow I’ve just never made it to one. The thought of sitting on a bean bag in a someone’s living room in Kilburn eating tapas with strangers may have been putting put me off.

Well more fool me.

As a relatively new food blogger, how stoked I was to receive an email from a lady saying she’d found me online and would I like to come and review her supper club The Gutsy Chutney. Hell yes.

Roping in a SW London friend from work off we trotted to deepest darkest Wandsworth. Strolling through the leafy residential streets we were finding it hard to picture where this venue could be and then there we were. Barmouth Kitchen is a sweet cafe (run by ten local families) and the location for tonight’s event.

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On what was a freezing night we were greeted by the friendly Deepa and her husband and shown to a large communal table prettily set with name cards – almost Christmas like. Deepa had clearly put alot of thought into the aesthetics for the evening and that really showed.

Bowls of dried snacks sat on the table which look delicious but we had no idea what they were. Jackfruit. If you like plantain chips you’ll like these.

We sit with a fun local couple originally from Norway and lovely man from Ilford. We all hit it off and chatted throughout the evening on a range of topics ranging from breast milk ice-cream through to the ship tunnels in Norway. Not a dull moment at our table. The other guests seemed to be equally enjoying themselves.

Gutsy Chutney events always have a theme and this one was food and wine matching. Result. The wine had been chosen by Deepa herself from a place in Tooting Market called Unwined. I used to live near Tooting and back then Oddbins was the sophisticated place to get one’s libations.

We were treated to a German Reisling, Austrian Zweigelt, an Italian Dolcetto and Rofosco and finally a French Grenache dessert wine. Yes that’s five. Each one matched perfectly to each course, and it was great to try something unfamiliar.

 

So to the food. Deepa is from Kerala but her menu is far-reaching, adding twists on dishes with Mexican, Goan and English influences. This was fusion food at it’s finest.

We start with prawns balchao golgappas – three little vermicelli puris stuffed with a fiery Goan relish and whole prawns offset with a little tamarind sauce. We were advised to eat these whole and on the first one I didn’t listen. They were very spicy and I felt a bit pathetic. They were so tasty though, and for the next two I ate them in one bite as instructed. My  Reisling soothed any burning sensation and normality resumed.

Cleverly this starter was followed by a palette cleansing salad of green mango, pineapple, chilli and coriander all served in a little ice cream cone.

My friend and I agreed that after this next dish all future pies and probably curries would never match up. We were only given butter chicken in a pie! But wait, not pastry but a naan topping – light, crispy and hugely innovative. The whole table ate every scrap – this for me was the standout dish of the night.

There were two more mains and a dessert still to come. On we go.

We are served a cold creamy rice dish mixed with unsweetened yoghurt and mustard seeds. This is traditional in Southern India served as a soother after spicy food. Deepa paired this with a rich mutton (another first) curry. The meat was tender and full of flavour and heat, but worked brilliantly with the rice particularly (as we discovered) if you put both things on the fork at once.

 

So this is where the Mexican twist came in – a keema and chickpea curry served in a taco shell – a popular street food served in Bombay we’re told. This was tasty too – peas added in for a bit of sweetness. It reminded me of my South African grandmother who used to put peas in spaghetti bolognese which I know was not her attempt at fusion cooking.

On the home stretch now and despite being full to bursting we are served a carrot halwa with ice cream. This was totally gorgeous, so I asked Deepa to run through the ingredients – carrot, condensed milk and raisins with some clarified butter. It tasted like a rice pudding and we couldn’t believe there wasn’t rice or some sort of grain in there.

If you’re off the booze there were non alcoholic drinks on offer and each course had a vegetarian option for the non meat eaters. The night was £50 in total – 5 courses and 5 wines which we didn’t think was bad at all.

Deepa and her husband talked through each dish as they arrived and answered any questions. At the end of the evening they sat and chatted with us making us feel like we were at a dinner party rather than a restaurant.

Feeling happy and full we head out into the cold after a fun night fuelled by the most delicious food and wine.

* My meal was complimentary but my friend paid the full price.