This week we have mostly been eating south of the river – don’t you realise south is the new north, darling? Okay, let’s not get carried away. But it’s certainly becoming a testing ground for exciting new restaurants.
Let’s start with a restaurant that has ideas above its station – Vauxhall station, to be precise. Counter is the best thing that’s happened to Vauxhall – perhaps ever. Located in a railway arch, it has a lovely atmosphere and a long, four-sided bar where well-made cocktails are dispensed medicinally to weary commuters who’ve missed their connection. There’s also a solid menu of brasserie-style food. Best of all, it’s right on the station concourse (although the good-looking interior is worlds away from the pigeon poo and pandemonium on the streets outside).
The first is a cosy tapas bar run by a Spanish food importer and her partner. All the dishes you would expect are present and correct, accompanied by good wines served by the glass, and there are also a few regional surprises on the specials board.
Pedler, meanwhile, is a restaurant that boldly went where no small-plates restaurant had gone before: Peckham Rye Road. The venue is quickly becoming a destination for the area’s creative types and off-duty parents, who hoover up its excellent gin cocktails and pretty, inventive Modern British dishes. We’re now getting excited about visiting The Nines, another restaurant/bar/events space that’s set up shop on the same unlovely thoroughfare.
Last and perhaps least, Tsunami offshoot Yama Momo has opened in East Dulwich. It may not be the best or most authentic Japanese in town, but it was heaving with locals when we visited. We were impressed by the look and feel of the restaurant, and the sharp service, if not everything on the menu.
North London: the ball’s in your court. Let the culinary one-upmanship begin.
By Nicola Arencibia