Down and out in Le Petit Parisien, London

I dropped into Le Petit Parisien, Camberwell’s latest bar/bistro, last weekend, for a steak baguette and a pint of cider. Please bear in mind that the following notes are now almost two weeks out of date, so things may have changed since then, but I found the whole place to be a little half-hearted. The exterior has been tastefully redone, but the interior is largely unchanged from the Dark Horse days, with only a lick of paint as the major differentiator.

The paintwork seemed to be a little hurried, the menus still had price stickers on the back, there were light fittings missing; it gave the impression of having opened in a hurry. However, my major problem with it is that it doesn’t feel French, largely due to the fact that there are no French (or even Belgian) beers at the bar. When I think of France I think of glasses of foaming Kronenbourg or Kasteel; sadly missing from the bog-standard selection at LPP. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the food as well, although my steak baguette was very tasty.

I don’t want to sound like I’m slagging the place off, as I really hope that it does well; Camberwell could do with a(nother?) decent brasserie/restaurant. I just think they need to do a bit of work on the atmosphere of the place; something that I hope will come with time. Anyone been more recently want to correct my initial impressions?

Enjoyed the best of Camberwell this weekend, too; went to Edwardes to trade in the wife’s bike for a newer model, where we were pleasantly surprised with the deal that was offered; then to Cube for a haircut (has been sold, so will be staying open); then Johanssons for a fruit smoothie; with the only disappointment coming from Cruson, where all the English asparagus was sold out. Season’s almost over.

Picked up a copy of the Quarterly from the newsagent; highlights include news that the old green buildings at the foot of Grove Lane have been sold and will be developed “in a traditional architectural style… [which] will outshine” the Mary Datchelor development; and that the old Camber Well has been rediscovered, in the garden of 56 Grove Park.

I’m off for a dirty weekend with the wife; will hopefully have a new face chipping in to the blog when I get back. TTFN.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

60 thoughts on “Down and out in Le Petit Parisien, London”

  1. I’m worried about Spice of Life. How much longer can it hold out? It’s always empty. Cmon people show some support or else it’ll be shut in no time. Wanted to go in last night but nobody there so didn’t want to be the only folk in there.

    Went to FM Mangal instead. Good food and nice decor. Not as value as Golden Grill but well priced with some interesting offal options and nice service. Recommended. Q a lot of tables and not many takers. Again, how long will this place last?

    I’ve yet to try Le PP.

  2. Hello again.

    ‘Spy’ — I’m sorry about your steak. When did you come in? If you are unhappy about something please let us know! If I waited an hour for a steak, requested rare and served overcooked, with inedible sauce, I’d complain! The person in charge (me or the owner) will then address your problem, and kick some arses if neccesary! I can’t help if I don’t know there is a problem.

    Norman: I do give a ‘shit’, thank you very much! I’m not trying to hoodwink. The whole point of writing that ’email’ was exactly because I give a ‘shit’.

    Thanks again,


  3. hi i just want to say that the new turkish restaurant FM Mangal is briliant. wery well decorated and good price. busy restaurant and got the secon floor for private parties etc. have try everyone. the staff are very kind and nice will recomend for everyone

  4. Hi my name is Jenny. I hope its ok that I am writing on here, I’m just hoping to find some distant relatives. My Grandmother , who’s maiden name was Ethel Denny (married Fryer) born in 1916, came from Camberwell at approx. 2 yrs old and moved to Canada. Her parents names were Alfred & Lillian Denny. Just thought it was worth a shot, if anyone read this and had any info…Tanx so much..cheers

  5. LPP is so awful it’s almost laughable. We went along for breakfast and had to ask for milk and sugar with our coffee(why do they not learn to bring it every time?) and were looked at with barely concealed contempt. When our breakfasts arrived we had the cheek to ask for ketchup, butter and salt and pepper (death stares again), surely bringing them to the table beforehand would be easier for them than coming in and out constantly?

    My boyfriends mushrooms tasted of chemicals, my omelette was poorly cooked and the accompanying salad was gritty. I then tried to attract the rude managers attention to order a croissant as my other food had been inedible. He was about 5 tables away and just turned around and sneered ‘what?’ rather than coming to my table and asking how he could help. At that moment I realised that we would never be going back there and I went to the bakery and bought a delicious cheese pie instead!

  6. Re: LPP.

    “Norman: I do give a ‘shit’, thank you very much! I’m not trying to hoodwink. The whole point of writing that ‘email’ was exactly because I give a ‘shit’.”

    Judging by Ali’s post, Matthew doesn’t give a shit. Case closed.

  7. I visited le PP once, soon after it opened, and had an expensive Emmental omelette which I ate my way through without finding any trace of Emmental. I mentioned this to the waiter/proprieter, and he said, in a very French way, “Oh, really? That is interesting.” I’ve never been back.

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