TASTY FOOD & COVID-SAFE: HERE ARE THREE OF PECKHAM'S BEST RESTAURANTS
It’s been a mad few months and I, along with the rest of the world, am pretty OVER IT.
Lockdown has been tough and one thing I couldn’t wait to do once restrictions lifted was eat out. I mean these weary paws needed a break from doing all the cooking at home – a sly dig at my boyf who’ll never read this anyway.
Now, I wasn’t expecting everything to be *normal* once cafes and restaurants reopened but I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of my top Peckham spots were going above and beyond to ensure they were following government guidelines, all this while keeping it all as enjoyable as possible.
There were three places that stood out in particular for their strict COVID-safe measures and amazing family feel: Kudu, Peckham Cellars and Coal Rooms. And something that came up with each of these three restaurants was how thankful they were for the furlough scheme, as this meant they didn’t have to lose their staff – a small triumph during the worst, worst time.
So, if you're yet to visit these restaurants and aren't sure if this is the best time then read on and think again. They're even safer, slicker and more on it than ever. The only questions is: which five people will you be inviting for your sexy bubble booking?
A brief history
First up, we have the super-modern, ultra-chic Kudu. Opening in November 2017, husband and wife duo, Patrick and Amy Williams, founded Kudu after spending far too many years on opposite schedules to each other. "Amy was in the world of design and I was a chef, so we barely saw each other. We weren’t happy in our careers and we thought: let’s give this a go and do our own thing," says Patrick. And that’s exactly what they did.
Dark, cosy interiors play host to the couples’ vision to modernise, simplify and sex-up classic South African cuisine, and the menu is constantly changing. You’ll always find some of their staple dishes on the menu, like the Kudu bread (Patrick’s grandma’s recipe), while new dishes come and go with the seasons. That’s probably my favourite thing about this spot: you never know exactly what you’ll be getting but you KNOW it’s gonna be 10/10.
Patrick’s favourite dish?
"The lamb neck with tenderstem broccoli. This was on the original menu and it pops back up every now and again. It’s so nostalgic, it reminds me how stressed I was when creating it. But for me, it's all about dessert – it’s one of my weaknesses and that's why I’m always fixated with making an amazing dessert. We want people to come in for the dessert just as they do with the side dishes; for us, it's important to keep it consistent throughout."
So, why go post-lockdown?
There’s a real family feel here and that’s thanks to the small team and friendly service. The menu is always changing but the fresh, seasonal plates mean it’s always exciting and no two experiences are ever the same. If you plan to book a table, be prepared to have your temperature taken and you'll have to anti-bac your hands before you’re seated. Also, the staff are kitted out with visors, masks and gloves. Safety first, hunnys.
Patrick’s top Peckham picks
Bar Story and Smokey Kudu for drinks
Patrick’s top London picks
The Dairy – where Patrick started his career
Koya Bar for udon noodles
Lyle’s when he wants to impress
Bar Termini for drinks
Book a table here and check out their Instagram here.
A brief history
Much like their few-doors-down neighbours at Kudu, the owners of Peckham Cellars founded their resraurant after mutual feelings of wanting to break free from their jobs in hospitality. Drunken conversations about their dreams to open up their own place became a reality in 2019 when the trio – made up of Ben McVeigh-Witaker, Helen Hall and Luke West-Whiley – did just that on Queen’s Road. School friends Ben and Helen shared a love for food, as did Helen and boyfriend Luke, who met while working at Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. “We all hated our jobs and we really want to open a restaurant. It’s crazy because we have a wine person, a front of house person and a chef, so we thought why don’t we actually just do this? And we did,” says Luke.
The team’s vision was simple. Luke says: “It’s here in Peckham because at the time we didn’t feel there was anywhere around here where we could go to drink good wine in a cool environment and that wasn't too stuffy.” That’s definitely the feeling you get walking into Peckham Cellars because it is so inviting, so much so that it feels like you’re part of the family there (I'm a part of it, okay?!). Beginning as a restaurant that served great wine, the three founders now see it more as a wine bar that does food. Expect small sharing plates that are packed full of flavour and plentyyy of fantastic wines.