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Forest Hill article in The London Economic
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Posts: 420
Joined: Dec 2002
Post: #1
01-10-2014 09:19 AM

Article in The London Economic:

I want to live in…Forest Hill

Do you like stuffed animals? (Well I do), then Forest Hill in South East London is the place for you. The Horniman museum has a huge collection and would be on your doorstep if you bought here.

And a lot of people have been purchasing properties in the area. I’m not sure if it is due to the extensive taxidermy offering or the leafy streets and still fairly reasonable prices. Reasonable for London you understand, not in the traditional sense of the word.

The housing stock is mainly Victorian to 1930s semis. Sunderland Road and Thorpewood Avenue are very smart streets and Elsinore Road has some very desirable properties.

Near-by Brockley, Crofton Park and Crystal Palace are already too pricey, so this area is definitely worth a look.

Famous for

With a range of architectural styles spanning the late 19th and 20th centuries, Forest Hill was described by Sir Norman Foster as “a delightful pocket of South London”. Raymond Chandler, mystery and thriller writer lived here, albeit a long time ago.


It is on a hill, so some tasty views are available from certain homes. The Overground means you can get around London much easier than before. You can’t spend every day staring at stuffed wild cats.


It is quartered by the South Circular (some streets are used as a bit of a rat run) and a noisy rail line cuts through the area. The centre also lacks enough decent bars and restaurants. Not quite the village feel you might expect, from somewhere called Forest Hill.

Transport Links

Decent, the Overground passes through here, and connects you north to Shoreditch and Highbury. Also train London Bridge (14 minutes, every 15) to Victoria just over 30 minutes.


Primaries: Christ Church CofE, Horniman, Dalmain, Perrymount, Holy Trinity CofE and Kelvin Grove all “good”, says Ofsted, with Eliot Bank “outstanding”. Secondaries: both Forest Hill and Sydenham schools are “good”.


St David Coffee House for a coffee. The Honor Oak pub has just been completely refurbished and is now a swanky gastro-pub. The Thai Orchard restaurant does decent- you guessed it – Thai food.

Any thoughts?

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Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #2
01-10-2014 09:52 AM

They've forgotten the musical instruments

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Posts: 40
Joined: Jul 2014
Post: #3
01-10-2014 10:46 AM

I think that's pretty fair. The only thing I would take issue with is the perceived negative of a lack of bars. I suppose we may lack a bit of diversity but I'm happy enough drinking in any of The Dartmouth Arms, The Sylvan Post, The Hill, The Hob, The Railway Telegraph, The Honor Oak etc. but I suppose if you want a trendy cocktail bar then FH is not your place. But lack of restaurants certainly a negative. With all the little independent coffee shops etc. I can't believe we still don't have a decent italian or indian restaurant - still need to go to East Dulwich (or Babur) to find good food.

Still clinging to hope that The Capitol may become a Picturehouse Cinema which would be a magnet for some decent restaurants and bars to open locally.

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Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #4
01-10-2014 11:26 AM

Stepover, Elachi has worked for us in the 13 years we have lived her. I have only had one duff meal from there in that time.

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Posts: 26
Joined: Sep 2011
Post: #5
01-10-2014 12:01 PM

The only times I've tried Elachi the dishes I got were more like soup than curry. The mentioned Thai Orchard is also pretty terrible. Forest Hill could really up its game when it comes to food.

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Posts: 271
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #6
01-10-2014 12:16 PM

I think you just were unlucky with Elachi, been ordering from them for years and always happy.

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Post: #7
01-10-2014 12:45 PM

Canvas and Cream do cocktails.

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Posts: 40
Joined: Jul 2014
Post: #8
01-10-2014 12:50 PM

Without wishing to get pretentious about curry(!) I'm sure there are some decent indian takeaways in FH but I was meaning something a little better than that - Babur in Honor Oak or Tandoori Nights on Lordship Lane are examples of fantastic Indian Restaurants rather than just your standard curry house staples - I'm not sure we have anything of that standard (whether indian or other types of food) in FH.

That said I haven't actually tried Elachi so perhaps I ought to do so before rushing to judgment Blush

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Posts: 45
Joined: Apr 2012
Post: #9
01-10-2014 02:25 PM

Babur is one of the best curry houses in the country, so having it a 25 minute walk away is pretty good going I'd say. No need for another restaurant of it's ilk so close by.

I've said this before on here, but the newly managed India Gate restaurant opposite the Sainsbury's is really, really good. Not greasy, lots of dishes I haven't seen in other curry houses, great veggie options... have tired probably 60% of the menu now and haven't been disappointed by a single dish yet.

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Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2014
Post: #10
01-10-2014 03:22 PM

We do have an excellent Italian in Le Querce on Brockley rise.....

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Fish Face

Posts: 135
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #11
01-10-2014 04:34 PM

Babur doesn't do it for me.
Cinnamon does the best Jalfrezi on the planet

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Posts: 91
Joined: Jun 2013
Post: #12
01-10-2014 06:24 PM

Babur is easily the best restaurant around and one of the best Indians I have ever eaten in anywhere. Elachi - no, not really. Haven't tried India Gate so must do so. La Querce is very over rated I think - given up eating there as it just doesn't do it for me on any level really. Dartmouth Arms good but not always consistent.

We could do with a bar with bit more oomph - Sylvan Post is sterile and cold, other pubs are just standard pubs. Nothing that in itself is a destination. But much better than it was 10 years ago without doubt.

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Posts: 216
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #13
01-10-2014 06:36 PM

I agree Babur is great - the food there is consistently excellent. I think La Querce is good also - we've had a few occasions though where food has not been 100% up to their normal standard. Main reason we go is it's so good for families and with young children, we and they enjoy going there as the staff are so good (I also think the Babur staff are great).

SODO is also very popular for Pizza in the Old Bank location by HOP station.

The Honor Oak now also do food of course.

Not been back to Jam circus since they re-opened, they did good burgers if I remember correctly.

Fish and Chip shop (whilst maybe not Michelin Standard) is also good on HOP High Street.

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Posts: 621
Joined: Dec 2010
Post: #14
01-10-2014 10:31 PM

India Gate is an excellent local indian, and as previously mentioned not greasy at all just really fresh and tasty.
In my opinion better than Babur or Elachi.
Also I have actually only had pretty decent food in Thai Orchard.
Don't like Canvas and cream for food, never tried the cocktails sadly.

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Posts: 129
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #15
01-10-2014 10:47 PM

i preferred Babur before the modern refit - that includes the refit of the menu too

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Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #16
02-10-2014 08:02 AM

Babur is unbelievably great! I agree with Robbrockley, Le Querce is so bizarrely over-rated, and far too expensive for what it is. We ate at the new Honor Oak pub last night for about the sixth time since it re-opened and I just can't praise it highly enough, it's totally brilliant! Thumbsup Love it so much!

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Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #17
02-10-2014 09:36 AM

I like the Thai Orchard and the fact that they saw my liking hot food as a challenge and gave me a Thai Salad that blew my socks off. Wow

India Gate first and second time round were both good. Babur is superb but expensive, a Birthday venue for us. La Querce has been great and the kids are treated like Princesses.

Canvass and Cream is a strange one. We were there this weekend, 22 customers and 5 staff and things take a long time to arrive. Having said that if you expect a long wait and don't mind it's OK. Their Eggs Royale is superb and worth the 30 minute wait.

I think we sometimes forget this is sleepy Forest Hill and not The Ritz, you get what you pay for. Silver service expectations in a run of the mill eatery are a little misplaced.

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Posts: 141
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #18
02-10-2014 09:36 AM

Interesting that most of the places people seem to rate are not in FH centre... i'm looking forward to trying a few more of the places a bit out of my way, like the Honor Oak and Sodo, but it is a shame that there isn't more choice around FH station/London Rd/Dartmouth Rd.
I seem to go to 161 on Kirkdale more than anywhere these days; it's not really a 'sit down meal' place, and is small, but boy, the wines/beers they serve are great and they have a lovely changing selection of small plates of food and cakes etc... Might not be everyones cup of tea, but they have been doing very well since opening earlier in the year.
Anyway, yes, agree, definitely better here than it was 10 yrs ago!

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Posts: 3,244
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #19
02-10-2014 09:42 AM

Word on the street is the Railway Telegraph is well worth a visit for dinner. I've yet to try it myself.

And as well as the Indian restaurants mentioned, let's not forget the oldest surviving Indian restaurant in Forest Hill - the Dewaniam.

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Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #20
02-10-2014 10:03 AM

I've always been curious, what's Dewanian (sp?) like?
I agree that Babur is pretty spendy and therefore more of a 'treat' place, but it's well worth it!
On the subject of Le Querce, which I just don't get (have given it three chances), if anyone fancies a short trip down the road to Penge, I can highly recommend Friends of Flavours - simple, delicious Italian food done well. The service is wonderful, and it's fantastic value.

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