Peckham is undergoing the same transformation Brixton experienced five years ago. It can no longer be called run down, ‘dodgy’ and out of the way. Instead, it’s packed with interesting restaurants, quirky pubs, rooftop bars and – consequently – houses I’ll never afford.
Top of my Peckham to do list was dinner at The Begging Bowl – a Thai Street Food restaurant loved by critics and locals. You can’t book (surprise surprise), but considering there were ten of us, we only had to wait an hour in the pub across the road.
The menu is colour coded by price, with dishes ranging from £5.75 to £14.50. Our waiter recommended five dishes between two, along with as much free rice as we wanted.
From the £5.75 options, Stir-Fry of Morning Glory was a crisp mix of greens, sweetened with soya sauce. It was our only vegetarian choice – meat and fish ruled this meal.
Skipping a price band, Marinated Raw Salmon, Tiger Prawn with Minced Pork & Coconut Cream, a portion of Deep Fried Blythborough Farm Pork Belly and Green Curry of Braised Beef Cheek were all £9.75 per plate. Each dish excited the taste buds with interesting flavours and varying textures.
I particularly enjoyed the salmon, which came with an exotic mix of samphire, lemongrass, green mango and chilli lime dressing. It provided much needed refreshment in between mouthfuls of sweet pork belly and rich prawn curry, scooped up with large fennel leaves.
The best dish was also the most expensive – Chargrilled Skate Wing on a Banana Leaf for £14.50. Not only did it look amazing (everyone had food envy), it was a substantial piece of white, succulent fish with a beautiful Red Coconut, Southern Muslin Curry Sauce.
We were too full for pudding so, despite the allure of Condensed Milk Ice-Cream, paid the bill and left. The Begging Bowl comfortably gets a LLE Rating of 8/10 – Brixton better watch out, Stylist may have called it London’s coolest neighbourhood this week, but next year, Peckham might just steal the crown.
Begging Bowl, 168 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15 4BW