So it may not have the most gastronomically inviting name.
Nevertheless, it continues to rank as one of London’s most exciting dining pockets, with an impressive slew of restaurants, cafés and eateries lining its streets, covering cuisines from Thai and Italian to Caribbean and South African. We’ve judiciously overeaten at each one, just to condense the very best of them into a handy guide for you, right here.
Behold, the best restaurants in Peckham…
Gimmicks can be great. Sometimes it’s fun to eat at a café in a former dentists that only serves seaweed handpicked by Norwegian goats – but for every other time, there’s Artusi. It sports white walls, simple furnishings and a blackboard boasting the roster of dishes available that day, but this deceptively simple get up only serves to frame the real artistry in the lightly Italian-influenced food that scores universal acclaim from critics and locals alike.
Details: 161 Bellenden Road, SE15 4DH | Book here
Kudu name a better restaurant in Peckham?
Probably not, because this South African spot has hit all the right notes with critics and locals alike, rapidly picking up a Michelin Bib Gourmand. A labour of love from former Paradise Garage chef Patrick Williams and his partner Amy Corbin (whose father is one half of the Corbin & King duo originally behind The Wolseley and The Delaunay), it’s a beautiful spot with a gorgeous back garden for the summer, and plenty of hearty dishes like pig’s head tortellini with mushroom and hay broth for winter.
Also fantastic: The follow-up Kudu Grill, which is down on Nunhead Lane and focusses on braai dishes.
Details: 119 Queens Road, SE15 2EZ | Book here
Levan is a little slice of Paris in Peckham, serving up beautifully executed Modern European fare in a low-key, stylishly appointed warehouse space. The vinyl collection is beaten only just by the library of natural wines on offer, which pair exceptionally well with small plates like ox heart & vesuvio tomatoes; sea vegetable risotto; and olive oil sorbet. And if you fancy a nightcap? Pop to Bar Levan next door.
Details: Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL | Book here
When news broke that the Kudu team were closing their cocktail bar, the people of Peckham were understandably in low spirits… for a little bit, as the team have now opened Little Kudu in its place. They’ve kept the bar aspect (there’s a strong list of South African wines to work your way through) and added ‘tapas’ dishes reimagined in modern South African flavours, like smoked peri-peri mussels and ham hock terrine with biltong scratchings. They’ve also unveiled a front terrace swathed in foliage and, needless to say, everyone’s pretty big on it…
Details: 133 Queens Road, SE15 2AY | Book here
One of London’s finest vegan restaurants, Naifs is a beautifully-styled, family-run eatery in Peckham. The menu here is delivered to your table as a set mezze-style feast of small plates designed to share, and it’s an absolute steal for £30pp given the quality. Expect dishes like pumpkin & leek fritters, radicchio salad, and chocolate mousse with yuzu curd, served alongside great cocktails, unusual ciders and natural wines.
Details: 56 Goldsmith Rd, Peckham, London, SE15 5TN | Book here
There’s nothing bizarre about this Bazaar. Tucked right off the beaten track, on the corner of Consort and Sturdy Road, it’s quietly one of the best restaurants in Peckham, cooking up market fresh ingredients on their hefty, custom-made outdoor grill. It’s pan-Balkan in theme, so expect dishes like marinated cuttlefish with braised tentacles and squid ink orzo; and Highland grouse, swiss chard and lemon borek to make an appearance on their regularly rotating menu.
Details: 119 Consort Road, SE15 3RU | Book here
The Begging Bowl has been going from strength to strength since 2012, during which time it’s incubated chefs like Seb Holmes, who’s since launched his very own Farang. The closest thing to Thailand in Peckham, you can expect unlimited bowls of steaming jasmine rice, salads laced with crunchy peanut, and bowls of fragrant comfort food like charcoal-grilled guinea fowl marinated in coconut, all served up in leafy, low-key surroundings.
Details: 168 Bellenden Road, SE15 4BW | Book here
Peckham Cellars is run by a trio of locals who just happen to have a slew of top London restaurants on their collective CV. The result is somewhere with the feel of a friendly, neighbourhood restaurant… and a menu worthy of a central London eatery. That’s thanks in large part to chef Pablo Urain Alfonso, who hails from the unofficial Michelin Star capital of San Sebastian, and pours his experience from his Basque homeland into a loosely European menu that pairs excellently with the restaurant’s selection of natural wines.
Details: 125 Queen’s Rd, London SE15 2ND | Book here
As you’d guess from the name, Forza Wine leans more heavily towards ‘bar’ than ‘restaurant’, but if you’re looking for an effortlessly impressive date spot in Peckham, nowhere else comes close. You’ll find it perched atop the Bussey Building surrounded by sunset views, and a terrace that comes into its own in summer. And to match this Mediterranean setting you’ll find an array of Italian small plates – cauliflower fritti with aioli; butterflied mackerel with chilli & garlic; grilled flatbread with ‘Nduja sauce – accompanied by spritz cocktails and Forza’s famous soft serve.
Details: 5th Floor, The Market, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST | Book here
Purveyors of incredible, home-style southern Indian food (with dishes like smoky swordfish curry and spicy aubergine masala), this colourful Peckham restaurant is named after the god Ganesh, who has “a particular fondness for sweets”… Which explains the other dishes like spongy dumplings in rose syrup, and spicy dark chocolate and cardamom cake.
Details: 38 Holly Grove, SE15 5DF | Book here
Snackistan – the name for the tiny café stowed away in a corner of the treasure trove of Persian crockery, craftware and ingredients that is Persepolis – sports a princely 9.5 tables. So if you do manage to get one, stock up with heaps of glorious Middle Eastern meze and Persian sweets, courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. Shopkeeper (the latter of whom, Sally Butcher, has now written five cookbooks on the stuff).
Details: 28-30 Peckham High Street, SE15 5DT | Book on 020 7639 8007
Take a bao.
Because you’ve just found the best Taiwanese bun spot south of the river… and it comes neatly packaged in a dinky space with whitewashed brick walls, dimmed industrial lighting, and a retro tiled bar serving up cocktails laced with yuzu and plum wine. And if you’re after some more bao, well, there’s bao s’mores for pudding – as well as bacon bao and kimchi pancakes as part of their bottomless brunch.
Details: 293 Rye Lane, SE15 4UA | Book here
Housed in the Grade II listed former ticket office of Peckham Rye station, the Coal Rooms are now offering up a very different sort of fare. Specifically, quality hunks of meat charred over a bespoke coal-fired grill by former Smokehouse chef Sam Bryant. Unsurprisingly, he puts together one of the best Sunday roasts in London – just leave space for the spiced carrot cake with rum & raisin ice cream.
Details: 11a Station Way, Peckham Rye Station, SE15 4RX | Book here
If you’re in the neighbourhood… you’ll need our Peckham area guide