Kudu Grill

Best Restaurants in Peckham

Food & Drink /


A foodie guide to one of London's coolest neighbourhoods

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In recent years, Peckham locals have benefitted from an influx of culinary openings – and north Londoners have realised it’s a destination worth travelling for. From street food stalls to cosy bistros and fine dining, the neighbourhood is home to some of London’s buzziest restaurants. We highlight some of the best below, including a bao joint, a gallery café and the perfect date-night spot.

Best Restaurants in Soho / Best Restaurants in Clapham

The Best Restaurants in Peckham

  • Mambow
  • Kudu Grill
  • Larry’s
  • Coal Rooms
  • En Root
  • Crane’s Kitchen
  • Mr Bao
  • Levan
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dishes at Mambow

Mambow

Mambow is Abby Lee’s new venture – or new enough, anyway; it recently reopened post-pandemic after some unfortunate timing prematurely ended its first open. But Abby is back, and hitting the ground running with food that draws on a childhood spent in Singapore and Malaysia – and then her punchy formal Cordon Bleu training. Make sure to try the Hainanese chicken sando. Read our full reviewmambow.co.uk 

KUDU Grill

Kudu Grill

Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams’ family of Peckham-based South African eateries Kudu Collective have been pulling in diners since 2018. The latest addition to the gang, Kudu Grill is a love letter to the art of braai (or open coal South African barbecue) – and what a tribute it is. Discretely housed in an old pub, Kudu Grill has a secret, underground feel about it. Stepping through the heavy black drapes is like stepping into a speakeasy bar. Candlelit marble tables, emerald velvet benches, exposed brick walls and burnished mirrors only add to the effect. If this wasn’t all sexy enough, then the sizzle of the red-hot braii and the flare of flames behind the bar is sure to get you fired up. Beef tartare comes piled high with crispy shallots and the fresh Irish oysters are dressed with tomato dashi and trout roe. But the star of the show is the fried pigs tails: bite-sized balls of crackling which arrive at your table piping hot and dripping in honey mustard glaze. The hottest mains, meanwhile, are the ones made for sharing. You won’t find better date food than the beautifully butterflied black bream, or the T-bone steeped in beer pickled onions and sweet treacle bordelaise. kuducollective.com

Larry's Peckham

Larry’s

Larry’s was open for all of two days when lockdown struck in March 2020. The latest name to know from the talented team behind Levan and Salon, it survived The Big Pause, however, and relaunched. Specialising in small, shareable plates inspired by the corner bars, diners and cafes of New York, Larry’s is a coffee shop, restaurant and bar all rolled into one; expect coffee and pastries in the morning, hefty deli-style sandwiches at lunchtime and a concise but perfectly formed menu of sharing plates for dinner. Although small and colourful (check out the bright green Eames chairs and orange tables) with an informal, 1970s NYC vibe, the food here packs a serious punch. Don’t miss the signature n’duja focaccia, steeped in spicy, sausage-y oil, or the crispy potato latkes with tasty fermented chilli mayo. It’s also worth ordering one each of the pork schnitzel with red cabbage and gochujang – trust me, you won’t want to share. The drinks menu is pretty impressive, too, with a small selection of cocktails, beers from Braybrooke near Market Harborough, and a fine selection of English French and Spanish wines by the glass or bottle. This is sophisticated food, served in a funky, chilled-out space. larryspeckham.co.uk

Coal Rooms

The streets surrounding Peckham Rye station are awash with buzzy food spots – but Coal Rooms takes it one step further, being housed inside the former ticket office. Owner Richard Robinson restored the building back in 2017, turning the front into a coffee shop and the back into a cosy dining room. There’s a Victorian aesthetic inspired by the building’s history, with parquet flooring, original marble fireplaces and a 1930s-style bathroom. An open kitchen, meanwhile, serves up modern British food cooked over a charcoal grill and coal oven – think butter smoked cod, barbecued asparagus and hot smoked trout, with a special roast menu available on Sundays. coalroomspeckham.com

En Root

En Root

A second branch of Indian-inspired vegan street food spot En Root launched recently in Peckham, following the success of its original Clapham location. During the day it stands as a friendly café, transforming into a lively restaurant in the evening with music and cocktails. Hearty, home-cooked meals are the focus here, with an emphasis on nutrition and the power of plants. Instead of heavy curries, expect gluten-free pancakes filled with saag aloo, chickpea and patra leaf patties, crispy cassava chips and an Indian-inspired take on the buddha bowl. If you’re big on spice, En Root’s famously fiery Raja Bonnet Sauce is sure to get your tastebuds tingling – now with three flavours to choose from – cooled down with a revitalising cacao chai CBD-infused tea. enrootldn.co.uk

Crane's Kitchen

Crane’s Kitchen

After a browse round the South London Gallery, head to its on-site café for brunch. Large floor-to-ceiling windows mean light floods in from the lush walled garden, with a few outdoor tables for al fresco dining when the weather plays ball. Chef Alex Head runs this gem of a café, alongside her hugely successful catering company Social Pantry, which counts Gigi Hadid, David Attenborough and Hilary Clinton among its clientele. Crane’s Kitchen holds the same core principles as Alex’s other ventures: zero-waste, seasonal and socially conscious – 10 per cent of her workforce are ex-offenders, for instance. Brunch highlights include an exceptional sautéed portobello mushrooms dish, served on a toasted brioche with the most delicious garlic aioli sauce you’ll ever come across. Cheese lovers will certainly be satisfied with the truffled rarebit, while sweet-toothed brunch-goers should choose the chocolate and hazelnut pancakes. craneskitchen.co.uk

Mr Bao

Pillowy parcels of joy filled with everything from wagyu to chocolate, it’s hard not to love bao buns. You’ll find some of the city’s fluffiest at Mr Bao in Peckham, a small plates-style Taiwanese restaurant on Rye Lane. Naturally, baos are the central dish here, with filling highlights including teriyaki shiitake mushroom, slow-braised pork and the ‘Bao Diddley’: pulled, fried chicken flavoured with wasabi mayo and kimchi. Pair with some small sharing dishes, such as pork dumplings, Taiwanese sausage and sweet potato chips. Nursing a hangover? The brunch menu could be your saviour – the bacon bao lathered in tangy plum sauce is sure to clear the cobwebs away, and if you’re partial to a bit of hair of the dog bottomless cocktails are available for £18pp. mrbao.co.uk

Levan

Levan

The Peckham sibling to Nicholas Balfe’s Salon in Brixton (as well as its local cousin, Larry’s), Levan was always going to be a trendy spot. Conveniently located right by Peckham Rye station, the restaurant has a European feel, with warm, cosy interiors, eco-minded set menus and an extensive list of low-intervention wines. While dishes change with the seasons, there are some staples: the comté fries, for instance, are a must, served with a dollop of endlessly moreish saffron aioli. Your meal might also include lamb with labneh and preserved lemon, sea trout with buckthorn, and courgette with smoked tomato and ricotta, with an optional (but recommended, we say) cheese course. levanlondon.co.uk

Main image: Kudu Grill