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.
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.