Peckham is about to go through some ‘hipsterfication’ in the next 12 months and the area will be all the worse for it. Previously to moving in to the area around 18 months ago I had only visited once during the first week that Franks Rooftop opened up – as there wasn’t really any other reason to return of hang about. Moving in now 8-9 years later and the area is what Shoreditch was back in the day.
If Peckham is on your radar (and it should be) but you haven’t yet caught the Overground to see what all the fuss is about then you need to sort that out. There’s places to eat – Pedler (brunch), Bahn Bahn (Vietnamese), Begging Bowl (proper Thai), Mr Bao (Taiwanese), Peckham Bazaar (Mediterranean), Peckham Refreshment Rooms (modern British), The Beautiful Pizza Boy; Drink – Brick Brewery, Baba (juice and cocktails), Bar Story, John the Unicorn, Frank’s Cafe, Four Quarters (arcade game bar); plus the whole Bussey Building which has events going on every day of the week with a smattering of bars, record shops, Forza Win and now the pop up Peckham Feastival.
Recently Honest Burgers moved in and there’s also a Voodoo Rays pizza on the way so the chains have taken note of another edgy area of London and are ready to exploit it.
I headed down to Peckham Feastival this weekend to check out what could have been a great new addition to the area. But with Londoner’s Street Feast setting the bar for what food markets should be – anyone attempting to do their own has to know what expectations there will be. Not yet been to a Street Feast? It’s the perfect marriage of unused/dilapidated building, the cream of London’s street food traders all pumping out their best work and a choice number of bars serving from craft beer, specific new and old world wine bars and cocktails. I claim Street Feast to be one an essential destination when people from Australia and around the world contact me for where to eat and drink in town.
Walking through the Bussey Bulding, down past Forza Win I head to the entrance of Feastival and the first thing I notice is that the small hut that Lady Boss – who was one of the best places in London to eat Hong Kong Style noodles – has been demolished. Gut punch number 1. I spot the entrance and two security mugs out the front who question me as I try to go in – did I have tickets for the cricket? (what are you talking about) and did I have cash as it was a cash only venue. How about you stop being twats and just let people in bruv?
I step inside and the space is cavernous. Along one wall are the food trucks – Rainbo, The Cheese Truck, Popdogs, Forza Win, on the other side are two bars – one doing cocktails mainly with the sponsor Jack Daniels as mixer and at the beer bar you only have the option of drinking Fuller’s ‘craft beer’ – their well known Frontier Craft Lager, their new Wild River double hopped pale ale and apparently a 250 litre tank filled with unpasteurised Pilsner Urguell which I didn’t see…
If you’re popping up in the South East then rather than only serve sponsored alcohol – go straight the source as we have an abundance of craft beer being brewed in this corner of the world. Locally there’s the amazing Brick Brewery (best Pils in London), Canopy Beer, the newly relocated Bullfinch Brewery, Clarkshaws, London Beer Factory and then head up to the Bermondsey Beer Mile where they could source BBNo, Partizan, Kernel and Fourpure to name a few. Instead we’re left with the uninspiring range that leaves very few people drinking in the venue.
Down one end you have a DJ pumping out some hits in a room that doesn’t carry sound that well and on the other the oh-so-on-trend pop up putt putt course that looks like a play pen dreams come to die in.
Having had a cheese toastie for breakfast I decide to try Popdogs for the first time. Again they have big shoes to fill as in my mind they come up against the likes of Rockadollar who pop up now and again around London. Being newsworthy I decided to try out their Clinton’s Lovechild – an all-American classic dog with a 100% pork oak smoked sausage, infused with chorizo & seasoned with nutmeg, paprika & black pepper served with caramelised onions, sauerkraut, ketchup & mustard.
While decent enough – it was just a hot dog and didn’t have any of the pizazz that you get with the more interesting and larger Rockadollar dogs. And that smaller size had me finish the meal in three bites and left me wondering where my six quid disappeared to.
I’d had enough. No one was having fun – more dropping in to see if it might be worth their time and effort to return. I bailed still hungry and with a thirst that needed quenching and headed directly across the road.
Snuggled up next to Honest Burgers is the Brick Brewery Taproom where it’s good times all round. All undercover with heating you can grab fresh beer like the aforementioned Peckham Pils, Pioneer American IPA and their new Brown Ale and a couple of limited editions if you’re in luck.
Pair this up with the amazing burgers from Slow Riches (who have been plying their trade here for the past 12 months and getting a very loyal following) (and of last night won Best Food offering in Peckham in TimeOut’s #LoveLondonAwards) and you’ve got yourself a proper beery night out. Seriously you can’t go past The Hog – slow roasted pork belly with chilli apple sauce and crackling. But on this occasion I was tempted by The Beef – prime British beef burger with honey-glazed pork belly, mature cheddar & chilli lime dressing and I will be going back to that well again and again!
So there you have it – now it’s up to you. Where will you be spending your hard earned time and money in Peckham…?