Choose your own Peckham adventure

I’m often out and about and far away from home, but this blog is about finding adventure every day, no matter where you are. As I’ve been gallivanting a lot recently and am heading off to Copenhagen, Malmo, Munich and Berlin over the next few weeks, this weekend I’ve just been taking it easy in south east London.

I’ve been living close to Peckham for two and a half years now and over the course of that time it’s been slowly changing. When I first moved here, some of my acquaintances wouldn’t come near the place, and in all fairness, it does feel a bit surreal when my bus gets held up by men pushing trolleys of goat carcasses across the road in the mornings.

Fortunately for me, however, Peckham is now cool. It’s not quite the hipster paradise that much of the London media would have you believe, but it’s definitely getting more vibrant and the food scene is thriving. I’ve been mooching around Peckham today and thought I’d share with you some of my favourite places in my neighbourhood.

Anderson and Co

Unpretentious and relaxed, Anderson’s is my favourite place for breakfast. They do divine sourdough bread and instead of normal sausages they serve tiny chorizo sausages that burst when bite into them and leak smoky, spicy juices all over your tongue.

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When you first enter you’ll see a shelf full of bread that you’ll want to take home and make chunky, meat-filled sandwiches with. Next you’ll come across the cake counter, and if you’re lucky there might be some gigantic sausages rolls left. Then you’ll come to the colourful, fresh salads, which are exactly what I’d give my left arm for at lunchtime around Pret-saturated Oxford Circus.

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Continue right to the back and you’ll find yourself in a brightly lit conservatory decked out with red, white and blue garden furniture.

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This morning I was feeling greedy so I went for BOTH the sourdough toast with poached eggs AND the Turkish yoghurt with peaches and peach and vanilla syrup. I’m a bit obsessed with peaches at the moment and last night for dessert made honey balsamic peaches using this recipe over on Peach Trees and Bumblebees. It felt very decadent and naughty, despite actually not being that bad for you. The peach and yoghurt combo this morning was equally as delicious — the kind of dish I wish I could start every day with.

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Anderson and Co has also started doing burgers in the evening recently. I have yet to try them, but hear they are excellent, so will be checking them out soon.

General Store

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The General Store is the grocery shop middle-class dreams are made of. The produce is anything but general — in fact it is very, very specific. Craft chocolate from Brooklyn, anyone?

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Most of the time I just pop in to window shop, but today the fresh veg that was laid out was just so tempting that I had to buy some to roast for my dinner this evening. Banana shallots, graffiti aubergines, stripy courgettes, yellow courgettes and San Marzano tomatoes (which are great for roasting as they are good at holding their shape). I threw the whole lot in the oven with some salt and pepper and olive oil and I’ll be eating them in salads for a couple of days with torn up goats cheese, spinach and giant couscous.

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Anyway, I love this place. It’s expensive but awesome. And they sell gorgeous salted caramels from Fatties Bakery. Yum.

Lerryn’s

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Lerryns is probably the most hipster place I’ve been to in Peckham. I popped in today and grabbed a takeaway coffee (top marks, FYI) and I couldn’t help but notice that their cakes are super squidgy. At the moment Lerryn’s is a cafe, but it will soon be a bar in the evening too.

Peckham Refreshment Rooms

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Peckham Refreshment Rooms is my favourite place to go for an intimate catch-up gossip with friends. I like to sit at the bar and drink Kernel beer and watch the delicious tapas and cakes come out of the kitchen until I have to give in and order them myself. The food is hearty and excellent and it’s tiny and dimly, but warmly lit. Because of this, I think of it as more of a winter place.

There’s no name on the door, but it’s tucked just around the corner from Peckham Rye Station and there will most likely be people sitting in the window chowing down on something delicious.

The Four Quarters

This gaming-themed joint only opened fairly recently and when we popped in the first week it was open we pretty much had the place to ourselves. I’ve since gone past on the bus to see it bursting at the seams. The bar is full of retro arcade machines and has a fab beer selection, including my second favourite Belgian beer, Delirium.

Bar Story

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Hidden in the arches under the station, Bar Story has been open for years and is the only place I visited in Peckham before I actually lived here. I love it for the happy hour (two moreish gin cocktails for £6! In London!) and its cheap and delicious pizza (also £6). Don’t use the toilets if you can help it.

Bussey Building

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The Bussey Building is brill for dancing and also for the views. In the summer, the roof becomes half rooftop cinema, half bar and burger place. I’ve taken to going there for sunset drinks recently, for as much as I love Frank’s (see below) there are no queues and it is also slightly higher up, making the sight of the London skyline receding into the darkness even more impressive.

Frank’s Cafe

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Frank’s rooftop campari bar perched on top of a multi-storey car park is the stuff of legend. But these days word of that legend has spread to every corner of London, meaning that on a summery eve, you will spend at least some of your time in quite long queues — first to get in and then for the bar. Then again, the food and the view and the vibe is probably worth it.

Peckham Rye Park

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I love going for a run or walk in Peckham Rye park. On the common you can see the Shard in the distance and in the park itself you’ll stumble upon some delightful little areas, including ponds and a Japanese walled garden. Once a year Carter’s steam fair comes to town, which is the perfect time to go for a nostalgia-fuelled wander.

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Places I still really need to try in Peckham include the Begging Bowl, Artusi and Peckham Bazaar. Watch this space!

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