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Restaurants in SE London
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Ponyboy


Posts: 18
Joined: Mar 2012
Post: #1
02-10-2014 07:25 PM

Another thread has morphed into a discussion about restaurants and bars in FH, so I was wondering, what is your favourite restaurant in FH / HOP, and what about further afield in this corner of London?

I have to confess that my top choice would be Le Querce for its exceptional fresh Italian/Sicilian cuisine, fine wine list and bustling atmosphere. I'm also a big fan of Babur, as the best Indian in London, and Sodo as good quality honest pizzas and a good choice of drinks - love their fresh ginger beer. Service at all three is excellent (Sodo being more like a cafe/bistro service rather than restaurants).

What are the other gems in our vicinity?

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sandy


Posts: 189
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #2
02-10-2014 07:32 PM

Bit further afield but very good places at Crystal Palace:

Numidie and Mediterranea in particular

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lacb


Posts: 623
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #3
02-10-2014 10:37 PM

Agreed with everything OP says, except to say that Ganapati in Peckham Rye is every bit as good as Babur. Lucky us. And while mentioning the area there is also the Begging Bowl which has exceptional Thai.

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Growlybear


Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #4
03-10-2014 12:38 AM

I agree with Sandy about Numidie at Crystal Palace - I think it's one of the best restaurants in London. I also love Sodo Pizza and think their pizzas are the nicest I've ever had. But I think the Babur is incredibly over rated and over priced. I've eaten there many times, and whilst I think the food is always nice, it's never exceptional, and it's not a patch on Eastern Cuisine in Gypsy Hill or the Lemon Tree in Sydenham.

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Pippi


Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #5
03-10-2014 08:58 AM

Hate Le Querce, love Babur, Sodo is overpriced and not that great (for great pizza the Gowlett in Peckham can't be beaten), adore Donde, the new Honor Oak is fabulous......further afield I do believe the best restaurant by a country mile in our patch Of S.E. London is Peckham Bazaar - I highly recommend it to those who haven't been, the food is to die for!

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Pippi


Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #6
03-10-2014 09:07 AM

Oh, and even further afield, i can't big up Silk Road in Camberwell enough - authentic Xinjiang/Uyghur food, hand-pulled noodles with stunning spices, a completely different tastebud experience!

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PVP


Posts: 271
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #7
03-10-2014 10:46 AM

Thai Corner Café gives fantastic, especially as BYO.

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Baboonery


Posts: 581
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #8
03-10-2014 10:52 AM

Just as some people don't seem to get Le Querce, I just don't see it with Donde. I've been in twice, and found the tapas really poor both times. I spend a lot of time in Spain, so I may have unreasonable standards, but the soggy omelettes, tasteless calamares, decidedly un-brava patatas bravas and average pork products are the sort of thing that so many places in London or elsewhere in England do much better without even blinking. The tables are too small for tapas-style eating. The booze available always differs from the booze listed. Really, really don't get the place.

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Novels


Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #9
03-10-2014 11:39 AM

'A Torre' in CP.

Their calderada do peixe is one of the most incredible food experiences you can possibly have!

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Pippi


Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #10
03-10-2014 04:22 PM

I forgot about my favourite local-ish restaurant and bar, The Gantry in Brockley! The food is completely stunning, never had a less than perfect meal there, and the atmosphere, whether inside or al fresco, is so lovely and quirky. The service is unbeatable, too. Best of all, you can choose your own selection of cheeses, as few or as many as you like, and they are ALL AMAZING and served at the perfect oozy temperature Thumbsup

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lacb


Posts: 623
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
03-10-2014 06:52 PM

Have to second the Silk Road recommendation. Amazing food and very reasonably priced.

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Bcm


Posts: 187
Joined: May 2010
Post: #12
14-10-2014 08:42 AM

I have to show some love for Le Querce who seem to get a bit of a bashing on this forum. My favourite restaurant by far in SE London, and just a few minutes away from my front door.

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lacb


Posts: 623
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #13
14-10-2014 09:34 AM

Completely agree with you Bcm. My theory on this is that many people have strong preconceptions on what an Italian restaurant should be, and rather like Indian and Chinese, the genuine article is nearly always something a little different. I think it is better to see them as a Sardinian restaurant and talk to them about what they have cooking.

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Pippi


Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #14
14-10-2014 09:48 AM

I've travelled extensively in Italy, it's my favourite country. Plus, while living in North London I had two excellent, authentic Sardinian restaurants on my doorstep - Pane Vino and Nuraghe, in Kentish Town and Dartmouth Park.
I've given Le Querce three chances, which I believe is more than enough. It's far too expensive for what it is, where it is, and what it looks like (which is a disgrace, quite frankly). I live two minutes away so I desperately wanted to love it! We've ordered both the specials and the regulars - not impressed either way. The maitre'd/owner is extremely offputting. So, that's it for me.
I'd be very interested in what people 'expect' when they go to a (albeit well-regarded) local Italian restaurant and pay £80-90 for two. And I'd also question why we should expect to pay more for *Sardinian* ingredients than mainland Italian? Perhaps the former poster could enlighten us?
(Disclaimer: I am crotchety todayAngry)

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sandy


Posts: 189
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #15
14-10-2014 10:15 AM

Could compare Mediterranea at Crystal Palace?

http://www.mediterranea.co

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Pippi


Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #16
14-10-2014 10:45 AM

That looks pretty YUM to me, much better menu than Le Querce. Shame they don't have prices on the website. Will defo check it out tho'.....

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lacb


Posts: 623
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #17
14-10-2014 10:50 AM

Hi Pippi,

Well am happy to concede that my theory could be wrong! Am glad to get a response so as to form a new hypothesis :-)

I have also travelled a fair bit in Italy. Whilst there, I have been in Italian trattoria (in comparable city surburban locations) that have been very similar experiences. The decor and service is the same in my view, i.e. sometimes moody. The food is different wherever you go but is usually the main focus and good.

So, we have to agree to differ on the standard of the food (have eaten there dozens of times) but I do agree that it is pricey and way higher than trattoria prices in Italy. But there is the rub - they operate in London and there are hundreds of other 'Italian' restaurants that charge similar rates for something mediocre IMHO - the pastiche that some people in the UK refer to as Italian food (and was the thrust of my last post). We only eat there as a special treat as a result but I don't begrudge them the successful business that they are running.

Just curious - do you order any fish courses? This would seem to be their main strength as one would expect from Sardinia... The only disappointing dishes I have ever ordered there have been meat ones so don't tend to do that anymore. Their gelati, coffee and pizza are all, well, the excellent Italian standard. (Pizzas not available on Friday and Saturdays which makes sense when they can fill the place serving other more expensive dishes).

My only gripe is that if you get seated in the back it gets a bit noisy (could do with some wall hangings but then that would mean focussing on the interior). We always make sure we seat somewhere near the front and with the children in tow this actually works better anyway. They are also, as is typical in Italy, very child friendly and so with a small family that is a lovely bonus.

Hope your day improves...

Sandy, that is an interesting spot in Cystal Palace. Have not been to Mediterranea so can't compare. Interesting to note that they describe themselves as a trattoria - have you been?

Edit: just seen Pippi's reply - how interesting, was thinking they had a similar menu!

This post was last modified: 14-10-2014 10:52 AM by lacb.

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Bcm


Posts: 187
Joined: May 2010
Post: #18
14-10-2014 11:16 AM

Pippi, I don't mind paying good money for good food. We do almost exclusively go for the special seafood starters (scallops, cuttlefish, octopus etc.), then the fish-based dishes because they are always of an exceptional standard. I've had a number of the meat dishes too which have been generally great, though a couple have not been to my taste. If I had a gripe it would be that the "standard" menu is rarely updated and isn't particularly inspiring - though the lamb cutlets are always a delicious backup if I am not in the mood for any of the specials. The décor is also a bit bright and not very "restauranty", mostly down to it being a previous nursery. Doesn't bother me at all. The maitre'd is a bit of a local character. When we first moved to the area I'll concede that we found his "direct" style somewhat abrasive but since we have got to know him, he goes out of his way to ask how my family is, how I am and so on. Lovely chap believe it or not. Our bill normally comes to about £70-£80 with bread, starters, main courses, desserts and one bottle of wine. This is, I think, par for the course in London for good quality seafood.

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Pippi


Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #19
14-10-2014 11:17 AM

Yeah I totally get what you're saying lacb, but I think I figured most people on here would know the difference....could be wrong there, but it's a fair guess ; )
We don't have kids, no plans to have any either, and we definitely feel like something of an anomaly since moving to HOP. It's one of the main reasons we don't bother with Sodo any more (but not the only one..... And I'm not that fussy, honest, lol!!).
It's difficult cos neither are we 20-something ravers anymore, and it seems to be a bit of an ask to be able to go out for a nice early evening meal, or a weekend lunch, without finding ourselves in some sort of deafening creche scenario : /
But hey-ho, that's life, and a whole other thread, I guess.

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Pippi


Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #20
14-10-2014 11:32 AM

The first time I went to Le Querce I had the scallops, which were just okay, nothing special, and sea bass 'special', ditto. They were both quite expensive dishes, and not special enough - for my taste - to warrant the price. I'm not gonna deny I dislike both the interior and *especially* the exterior of the place.
I don't like the maitre d' at all, I don't like the way he stares, and I disliked the way he treated his staff. And his son, who has served us twice, is a complete k*****d.
I'm happy for anyone to disagree/love it, but I'm not gonna give this place any more of my brainspace.

This post was last modified: 14-10-2014 11:33 AM by Pippi.

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