The restaurant centres around a large, sunken, open-plan kitchen with a robota grill, coal-fired ovens and smoker on full display to guests who can sit up at the counter if they're after the full stoker experience. Though for the sake of a dry cleaning bill, we'd recommend the elegant if more sedate blue upholstered dining room with views onto old train rolling stock that builds a lively atmosphere as it fills up. Aided no doubt, by keenly priced cocktails including a smoke-imbued, particularly filthy Dirty Martini and a clam juice Caesar Bloody Mary. Trainspotters and vintage lovers will be in their element with platform views.
The site has history on its side, occupying a Grade II listed former ticket office at Peckham Rye station that has been brilliantly restored incorporating an on-site butchery. A visit to the vast loos is a treat whose surprise shouldn't be revealed, suffice to say they are restored to their former glory.
It's a robust menu of small and larger plates best shared as there are plenty of temptations and dishes are bold in flavour making them more suitable to smaller portions. Blackened coal-roasted cauliflower liberally adorned with ultra-umami miso bang caudal and crunchy Japanese furikake seasoning is too good to be left to the veggies, even though there was precious little choice for them on our visit. An unlikely sounding, highly original combination of oatmeal simmered in chicken stock with Peckham sake, crisp chicken skin, burnt leeks, black truffle was brilliantly savoury, intriguing in its textures and hugely comforting. A dish to return for and a bargain at £6.00. Smoked pig's head blood pudding with apple ketchup is not for the faint-headed, a popular options we found somewhat over-powering.
Don't miss out on chewy Peckham Rye sourdough served with smalec, a wicked mix of pork fat, crunchy crackling and spices.
The Sunday roasts are hugely generous and look spectacular. Slightly rarer and warmer 40 day aged Dexter sirloin would clinch it, though there is no faulting its flavour. Treacle and beer cured roasted pork loin looked sensational. Yorkshires could be a little crisper. Still beef dripping potatoes are too good to share and roasted carrots and gremolata, hispi cabbage, creamed leeks and a wicked red wine gravy mixed with what tasted like brisket made for a satisfying splurge. Beef dripping horseradish is sensational too.
Tender, grilled octopus was somewhat overpowered by a chilli and kewpie fiery mayo, though it was a last-minute pescatarian substitute for Nduja hollandaise. Umami salad of baby gems with onions and what was termed hippie dust hit the spot. During the week, return for Cabrito goat chop, roasted cod's head and a most appealing sounding cod cheek kedgeree with soft boiled egg. Note, this is not a restaurant ideally suited for vegetarians!
To finish, it's hard to choose between apple cheddar pie with the cheese in the crust which works brilliantly and a clever 'tiramisu" served in a (hopefully) recyclable coffee cup made with waste barista milk ice-cream. Try both and book a day return. \
Note, mornings at Coal Rooms receive the same attention to detail. The humble bacon sandwich is reimagined as two cuts of bacon are cured in Old Spike coffee on site.
Opening date: open now
Price: Lunch/dinner for two £80+ with drinks
Reservations: Book online
Times: Mon-Fri 6pm-10pm, Sat 11am-4pm, 6pm-10pm, Sun 12noon-6pm
|What||Coal Rooms at Peckham Rye|
|Nearest tube||Peckham Rye (overground)|
01 Oct 17 – 05 Oct 18, Mon-Fri 6pm-10pm, Sat 11am-4pm, 6pm-10pm, Sun 12noon-6pm
|Website||Click here for booking|