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Smelly fish, beardy men and naughty bread: why you should pay a visit to Peckham

Posted at 10:15 am, March 29, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Music & Nightlife, Shopping & Style
Peckham, Bellenden Road

Why go there?
To be part of one of the most happening, community-spirited and adventurously arty scenes in London. And now it’s on the Overground, so there’s no excuse not to.

What’s the vibe?
Bright and bustling. Rye Lane is a brilliantly garish shopping street where you can buy everything from yams to live snails. Much of the rest is leafy suburbia, but dotted with some of the coolest hang-outs this side of the Arctic Circle – influential art hub Hannah Barry Gallery, for example, or Bar Story(underneath Peckham Rye station) which has more beardy men than a Rasputin lookalike competition.

Frank's Cafe, Peckham

What’s that aroma?
Dried fish and cannabis, probably. Though on Bellenden Road (yes, the most hilariously named street in south London, also the heart of gentrified ‘new’ Peckham) fancy chocolatier Melange helps sweeten the air.

Any celebs about?
Actress Olivia Colman. Model Erin O’Connor. International ‘entreprenewer’ Derek Trotter (obv). Also look out for local icon and DJ Bradley Phillip, whose superlative club night Rhythm Section gets balls bouncing at Canavan’s Peckham Pool Club each month.

Begging-Bowl Peckham

How about a local delicacy?
Try the Thai fishcakes at The Begging Bowl on Bellenden Road, the Sunday roast at The Montpelier on Choumert Road and the Kerala paratha – a kind of naughty fruity bread – at Ganapati on Holly Grove (there’s now a takeaway offshoot on Maxted Road).

Mmm. Now I need a drink…
Keep it healthy and head to Ali Baba juice bar on Rye Lane. Think you can’t juice a sweet potato? You’ll be proved wrong in delicious fashion, you cynic.

Batukarma London

Now, where’s the party at?
It has to be the Bussey Building – a self-proclaimed ‘twenty-first-century church of chill’ spread over several floors of a Rye Lane warehouse. Recommended is free Latin love-in Batukarma on Saturday March 29 for outrageously fun yet fiscally prudent clubbing.

And if I only do one thing…
Head to pop-up bar-café Frank’s when it reopens in early June. A summer favourite with a cucumber-cool clientele, Frank’s is to be found on the tenth floor of Peckham Multi-Storey Car Park. How’s that for a high point?

For extra reasons to spend more time in Peckham, see our guide to Peckham.

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