Peckham Rye Park
And you thought Peckham was all fried chicken shops and black-clad design freelancers. It's a shame this park doesn't get more cred, because it truly is a beauty. It features a Japanese garden, a skatepark, an outdoor gym, and more green space than you can shake a stick at. Ditch London Fields and set up camp here - not literally, though, as we don't think that's allowed.
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On an unassuming street off Peckham Lane, the sunshiney exterior of JB’s Soul Food exudes warm Caribbean vibes before you even catch a whiff of the spicy, fragrant meats being grilled up inside. Helmed by married couple Jennifer and Bill - Jamaican expats going 25+ years strong in SE15 - JB’s has garnered fans from far-flung postcodes who will travel far and wide to get a taste of their punchy Caribbean flavours (Bill told us that one customer regularly braves an hourlong drive to scoop up some of their famous jerk). The main event is, of course, the jerk chicken - a tangy, perfectly spicy number that does everything this humble dish should do. The curried goat is a banger too: tender meat with an aromatic kick that made our eyes water. There are only a few seats inside, so we recommend you take your bounty home for a little private time. Trust us.
** UNPUBLISHED on 20/07/17 - permanently closed as of July 2017 and has been taken over by the guys from The Habit (Nunhead) http://os.dojoapp.co/listing/634 ** A far cry from your average scones-on-trays gallery cafe, No.67 Cafe & Restaurant in Peckham’s South London Art Gallery is a destination in itself. The interiors are light and airy, the restaurant's produce is seasonal and - we can fully vouch for the veggie breakfast, because anything with halloumi is dope. All of the produce here is sourced round these SE parts of town, while the back dining area is available for private hire, complete with access to the lovely garden.
The Begging Bowl
Located on the bougie stretch of Peckham, Begging Bowl is an SE15 original: this stylish Thai restaurant opened in 2012 - before the flower shops and upmarket delis moved to the street. The passion project of ex-Nahm chef and New Zealand transplant Jane Alty, The Begging Bowl has amassed a diehard fan club for its creative menu and eclectic Thai flavours. The constantly-changing menu is brimming with seasonal dishes that are meant to be shared (don't call them ‘sharing plates’, though - Jane says communal dining is just the Thai way). On our visit, we munched down a relish of charcoal grilled salmon that exploded with a heavenly fusion of zingy, spicy, and fresh flavours, served with sweet bits of coconut and delicately caramelised pork belly. Veggies are in good hands, too; the tender Jerusalem artichoke with peanut-coconut curry had us shook. Whatever’s on the menu, expect bright, challenging flavours and creative tipples that'll keep you in B.B.'s clutch forever.