It’s really no secret that N and I don’t get out much. After a while of doing the same old stuff, you get in a bit of a rut… home, work, home, weekend (sleep), work, home, etc. And when we do decide to venture outside on the weekends, we know where we like and we tend to stay in that comfort zone.
But last weekend was different–I decided it was time to branch out and explore new, uncharted territories in South London. Area of choice? Peckham.
Now, I’ll preface this by saying that when I first came to London years ago, Peckham had a bad rep (it still kind of does). The area has undergone a bit of regeneration and, thanks to some fantastic shops, bars, restaurants etc, Peckham has a nice, almost village-like feel to it.
So what did we do in Peckham? Well, I put the word out on Twitter last week asking people where they recommend we go and the response was crazy (thanks to The Peckham Peculiar). People were tweeting me so fast that I couldn’t even keep up. Out of all of the responses, there were two places we knew we had to visit: The Begging Bowl (for lunch) and Frank’s Cafe (for drinks).
First stop on our jaunt in Peckham was Persepolis, a brilliant shop for all things Persian. N and I have both been getting more and more interested in his Persian roots (on his dad’s side) and food is a big part of that. We’d chosen two very Persian dishes to cook and try out last weekend–Gourmeh Sabzi and Koresht-e-Gheimeh. We got most of the ingredients locally but N and I both knew of Persepolis and wanted to go there for some of the more specialist ingredients.
I loved this shop. There were so many yummy ingredients around (plus pastries/sweets) and I just wanted to try a little bit of everything. I have a feeling we’ll be going back soon, especially as we’re cooking more and more Persian food.
After our spree at Persepolis, we meandered around a bit and eventually found ourselves at The Begging Bowl on Bellenden Road. We were starving at that point and ready to sit down to some gorgeous Thai street food–The Begging Bowl did not disappoint.
The idea behind The Begging Bowl is exactly the same as Spanish tapas only with Thai food–you order a bunch of little plates and share everything. We only ordered three items (instead of the recommended five for two people) as it was only lunch and we were cooking up a Persian feast later that evening. Dishes arrive when they’re ready so they’re always piping hot and fresh. For £1 each, you also get unlimited sticky or jasmine rice.
First up was our Sweet Potato Fritter with chilli sauce. This bad boy was so amazing that N’s trying to wrap his head around how to make it–I see some experiments in the kitchen in our future. The sweet potato was crunchy and gorgeous without being oily despite being deep fried. The little kernels of sweetcorn were a nice addition.
Our other two dishes arrived one right after the other–fishcakes with sweet chilli sauce and pork belly with fried, crispy rice. The fishcakes were nice but the highlight was the pork belly dish. This was so scrummy that N and I ended up fighting (politely) over the bits of pork and crispy rice. This is one dish I’d happily have again!
Price-wise, I’d initially gasped (inwardly) at the prices and the suggestion that we order five dishes, but we ended up actually paying probably what we’d pay had we gone anywhere else for lunch–especially as we’d stuck to water to drink. If you’re out with friends and nearby, I’d definitely recommend The Begging Bowl for a nice, and quick, dinner.
After leaving The Begging Bowl, we walked off lunch by strolling down Choumert Road toward out next destination, Frank’s Cafe. Choumert Road has a lot to offer–little boutique shops, bakeries, grocers and all sorts of other things. Lois, a little shop that I’d been recommended to visit, had so much that I wanted! N could see the gleam in my eye so steered me out quickly in order to protect his wallet. I have a feeling I’ll have to go back and pick up the Verity Necklace though… that necklace really caught my eye!
We finally made it to the above ground car park where Frank’s Cafe is located and then… we got lost. Yep. We made it to the venue and then got lost… but we weren’t the only people who were confused and perplexed as to how to get up to the sixth story of the car park where the bar is located. We cased the outside of the garage, thinking maybe there was a special (marked) entrance. Nope. There’s a metal door leading onto the stairs of the car park. Truth be told, N and I were very apprehensive climbing those stairs–it looked and felt like something out of a bad, scary movie.
At the fifth floor, the stairs finished so we were left confused yet again. We ventured out into the parking area and decided to walk up the ramp for cars. As we walked through the garage, standing at the bottom of the ramp was a scary looking guy dressed all in black. So we were more creeped out… until we realised he was a bouncer and checking bags. Whew. We live to drink another day!
When we finally made it to the bar, we were absolutely stunned by the panoramic view of London. Really, it was quite special and beautiful. Getting to see London laid out like that made me realise just where I’m living–every time that happens it takes my breath away. And now, a few photos of the view (click for larger images):
As far as drinks at Frank’s Cafe go, they were averagely priced. I had a Dark and Stormy (rum, ginger beer and lime) and an Aperol Spritz (Aperol, white wine and seltzer). They were ok–but let’s be honest, Frank’s appeal is the large outdoor space and spectacular view. I’d go there again for another drink–but I’d want to take along a few friends.
We wanted to see more of Peckham but (as you can probably tell from the photos) the weather took a turn for the cool and drizzly and we were without umbrellas so headed home. I know I’ll definitely be checking out more of Peckham in the future, so if you’ve got suggestions, bring them on!
If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1. Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com.