It's a feeling better suited to the summer months, when late night walks along the riverbank are appealing. Peninsula Cafe itself - essentially a greenhouse on a jetty with drafty doors and outdoor loos - also suits summer best, though we're told indoor heating is promised in the coming weeks. (Until then the space is probably better suited to brunch and lunch than the evening).
Still, the space is gorgeous and gorgeously adorned with ex Chelsea Flower Show plants. It's a refuge centre for said plants, now potted and up for sale, they're residents of this new gathering spot for local creatives. Past the restaurant (they call it a cafe) there's an events space, where talks and live theatre events happen.
As for the food, it's the work of esteemed hospitality pros Kofler & Kompanie, who work internationally on innovative menus like these. Here, the food is earthy and natural and represents the Peninsula's ethics of urban regeneration (though the vegetables sadly aren't grown on site).
All food does come from London though, and the simple dishes are an education on the eye and palate. We dissected a couple of snacking plates: an Instagram moment, the predictably trendy beetroot hummus was garnished with some brightly coloured petit pois. The more indulgent crispy butternut squash looked like mac and cheese croquettes but tasted better: a rich serving of butternut squash, perfectly fresh, was packed into delicate battered parcels. A chilli pepper dip cut right through.
More of a test were the Peninsula veggies with a dense lemon 'balm' dip. Minutes out of the ground, the chef hadn't introduced these root veggies to the pot whatsoever - a marvelously challenging education in raw food.
Next, an extensive range of large plates represent 'Soil' 'Land' and 'Sea', from which we picked crispy fosse meadow chicken and coleslaw. Essentially a posh chicken and chips, this trendy upcycle of the junk food staple was satisfyingly ripped into shreds and devoured, though the chicken batter and coleslaw union eaten at once made the dish just slightly too rich.
The mackerel pate and grapefruit main was also delicious on sourdough bread, how it was meant to be, but the portion was weirdly sized and would do better as a shareable starter than main meal, where the vast quantity of mackerel was too much of a good thing for one diner. But it married intriguingly with the rhubarb and grapefruit.
Ethical, sustainable eating - and raw vegetables - have a bad rep as rabbit foods for the ultra healthy. It's true that fussy eaters will be frustrated by the intricacy of Peninsula Cafe, but everyone else'll be talking about these unique and genuinely surprising flavour combinations the whole Tube ride home. If this is an education then we're willing to go back to school.
|What||Farmopolis Café, review|
The Jetty, Greenwich Peninsula
SE10 0FL | MAP
|Nearest tube||North Greenwich (underground)|
01 Oct 16 – 01 Oct 20, For exact opening times, check website, below