The south-east corner of London is in the middle of a food revolution and Peckham Bazaar is setting the standards.
The neighbourhood is having a facelift and although the majority of bars and restaurants are located between Peckham Rye station and Bellenden Road, Peckham Bazaar has drifted away from the pack and is set up in a former pub on Consort Road.
When the restaurant opens for business the road fills with the smell of meat grilling over charcoal and for a second it feels as if you’re on a Mediterranean island on a summer’s night. Although the scent hasn’t been as strong since the ocakbasi, meaning to stand at the grill, was moved inside following a redesign of the restaurant last year.
Some have crowned Peckham Bazaar for having the best Greek food in London, but they serve more than just Greek dishes. The food is more like a Balkan mezze and fusion grill, focusing on the old Ottoman state. The menu is small and changes weekly according to what’s fresh in the market.
Despite the frequent changes in the menu, the food is always exquisite and inspiring. The grilled octopus and quail in pomegranate molasses is outstanding but it doesn’t matter what you order as everything on the menu is exceptionally put together.
The grilled octopus and quail in pomegranate molasses is outstanding.
All the ingredients are sourced from fresh markets, even if some of the ingredients aren’t known to everyone, such as the grilled hanger steak with cavolo nero, slow braised celeriac and adjika; it’s another dish that won’t leave you disappointed.
Aside from the tasty food, the generous portion sizes may be another reason why it has been such a success in the capital. Especially considering smaller tapas style plates are all the rage right now in the foodie community.
The larger plates have attractive cuts of meat and often whole fish, ranging from whiting to sea bream, depending on what’s available at the market that day.
The decor is subtle but vibrant with decorated walls and a soft candlelit aesthetic. The atmosphere is busy and energetic, but never chaotic like the restaurants in Soho or Shoreditch. The staff are laid back and welcoming, meaning you never feel rushed and have plenty of time to enjoy the food and company.
As Peckham experiences change and the buzz continues, this Balkan gem strides ahead of the game. Peckham Bazaar is one of the best places to eat in London and is worth visiting time and time again just to taste what next week’s menu has to offer.
Photos: Lizzie Mabbott