Eating our way around the world

I considered starting this post off with a bunch of links about the fire at Sceaux Gardens, but so much has been written and said that it seems somewhat redundant. Here’s London Fire Brigade’s official statement. I notice also there’s a benefit gig in the Arts Bar (above the Funky Munky) on Thursday; does anyone have further details? Update: details here.

Okay, let’s move on to lighter topics.

My personal campaign to get a zoo opened in Burgess Park received a boost when I found out that there used to be a zoo in nearby Walworth. With this kind of historical connection, it can only be a matter of time until we have bears back in South East London.

Speaking of bears, I went to The Bear (ha!) a couple of weeks ago and had a fantastic Scottish beer called Trade Winds. The wife said it was the best beer she’d ever tasted, so we went back again this weekend for more. Unfortunately, they don’t sell it any more. A shame; you would have liked it.

Speaking of return visits, we tried out FM Mangal, the new Turkish restaurant on C. Church Street, after hearing so many people speak highly of it. They weren’t wrong; nice big portions of tasty meats cooked on their charcoal grill, and fairly priced. I had grilled lamb kebabs with yoghurt, which was great. They have their own bread in there as well, which comes free with the food and good enough to eat on its own; we almost ruined our appetites on it.

It was so good that we went back for a takeaway two nights later, on the way back from the pub.

Speaking of food (I know this sounds like we eat out all the time, but it’s just because I haven’t written about it for a while), we went for dinner at Pasha, the Kazakhstani hotel/restaurant on Walworth Road. It was crazy. First of all, you walk down a really, really long corridor through the hotel until you arrive in the restaurant at the back. This has a river in it, with fish and a turtle, and a little footbridge which you cross to get to the tables (you can sit on cushions on the floor, if you prefer).

Throughout the meal there was a guy on keyboads playing (what sounded like) Russian soft rock ballads; he was later joined by a lady who sang, then a woman who sang and played bazouki, and finally a belly dancer. When we asked for the bill at the end of the meal, the waitress asked that we wait a little longer as they wanted everyone to get up and dance. They weren’t joking; the belly dancer started a conga chain around the restaurant and literally dragged me from my table. I had to dance (not alone) to Hava Nagila (YouTube link) before they’d let me sit down again.

It was an awful lot of fun, and the staff were super-friendly. The food was ok. I recommend you go there on a Friday night to get the full experience.

Get out there and enjoy the long evenings.

Author: Peter

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

47 thoughts on “Eating our way around the world”

  1. The women’s cricket teams of Denmark play their annual tournament at low tide on the Dogger Bank tomorrow. They will have thirst after and will be bussed to the Munky for the Sceaux benefit, bulging-thighed, in tiny frayed denim miniskirts, urgent with lager and on the pull…

  2. Look into my eyes, no, not around the eyes…look into my eyes.…3, 2, 1…you’re under…when you wake up you will decide to change the sun and doves into a Nando’s…

  3. ‘When you wake up The Sun and Doves will be a free of tie freehold and the beers available will be a better range and cheaper. There will be a roof terrace at the back and awnings at the front with an enclosed forecourt and one of those long covered walkways up to the doors and climbing roses in the garden.’

    And a few other things.

  4. Rain stopped play on the Dogger Bank at low tide today and the the Danish ladies sank up to their thighs in the waterlogged sand. They will use the Crackington-Tuborg method of calculating their scores if necessary tomorrow and will be in fine spirits on the pull at the Arts Bar after their long coach journey from Dunkerque swigging Pernod and Advocat cocktails.

  5. Boby Shaftoe’s gone to sea,
    Silver Buckle’s on it’s knees.

    Has it always been called the Silver Buckle, if not what other names has it had?

    What would be the best name?

    I like Mark Dodd’s Camberwell Silver Buckle Art Bar, Cinema and Pizza Place or ‘The Buckle’ for short..

    If there is an old name though I’d like to hear it..

  6. The Tiger is a good name.

    Representative of the tiger economy that will ensue in Camberwell.

    The Camberwell Tiger.

  7. Moving on to (slightly) related matters Lambeth Borough Council have launched a consultation on implementing a borough wide controlled drinking zone which as far as I can tell gives the Police increased powers to confiscate alcohol/ move on aggressive street drinkers.

    It is of relevance to Camberwell because we are affected by the borough boundary — Southwark have imposed a controlled drinking zone on the central Camberwell area and from what I can see the main result of this has been for groups of drinkers to assemble on Coldharbour Lane just over the border in Lambeth to drink.

    I dont really know if CDZs are the ultimate solution to the problem (surely the Police have enough powers already to move on aggressive drinkers and they merely displace not tackle the problem) but if they are to be used there needs to be consistency across the borough boundaries.

    So if you have any feelings on this issue complete the questionnaire to respond to the consultation at

  8. Off to ‘Ambrosia’ tonight — the restuarant that’s part of The New Dome Hotel. Apparently is under new management with a new chef. I’ll ping some thoughts through tomorrow. Never really liked the look of it before, but they seem to be making a bit of effort now.

  9. Funnily enough I was about to write a note about Ambrosia.

    I got a take away from there last night. Absolutely delicious. Tandoori chicken a bit dry, but the spices and the taste.…heavenly. Not your typical tandoori. The menu is not your typical one either. Lots of interesting things to try, and cheap too!

  10. The Danish ladies on tour from their cricket match on the Dogger Bank at low tide never made it to the Sceaux benefit at the Arts Bar. Their coach broke down on the A2 near Ebbsfleet and they spent the night at a Travelodge in Thurrock. Boy were there some discombobulated travelling salesmen there who, by the morning, looked, sort of, emptied.

    Did anyone go to the Sceaux benefit at the Arts Bar? How much was raised? Not as much as at the Thurrock Travelodge!

  11. I dropped by the benefit night at the Arts Bar, but we didn’t get there until 1:00am. Still, a good session for an hour or so. Mostly the DJ downstairs was playing the right tracks.

    Which bars/pubs/clubs are open late in Camberwell during the week? And at weekends?

  12. Supersizers Eat: a lot of curry.

    The results of my extensive Camberwell Curry takeaway survey are in. There’s a commendation for JJ’s, but the clear winner is Poppadom.

    Another recent visit to Mangal confirms how delicious their food is. And they couldn’t be any more hospitable. I love to see good local businesses do well, so if you havn’t tried it yet then go for it. That is all.

  13. Went to the Bear recently, as the menu at Le PP just doesn’t hold enough interest for my girl. A bit more imagination there would help.

    Bear food was superb but my dining companion felt it was a bit expensive for mini-chicken and chips. I loved the squid and chorizo stew. I dislike the 15% student discount though. Some sort of pro-student gesture is in order maybe. But 15% is a fair bit and it’s as if the owners are sticking two fingers at the rest of us if they can change margins that much. You’re not a student? Then pay 15% more! What, so I’m rich?

    Also seems a neat way of excluding those who frequented it as Jack Beard’s. Though maybe that’s not a bad thing and their faces wouldn’t fit the revamp anyway… Great squid and chorizo though.

    Also tried The Gallery in Brixton. Portuguese joint. Q interesting and recommended, bit salty. Look forward to hearing about Ambrosia. Rubbish name though eh?

  14. @Phil G — Poppadom is on Camberwell New Road.
    The one and only time I got food from them I’m pretty sure it was dog or something weird like that, it certainly was not anything like any lamb I’ve ever tasted, but that’s just me.

    Also I agree about the food prices in the Bear, the other half and I simply can’t see how they justify it, on one occasion in the last couple of weeks I saw a pie on the menu for over £10, just for the pie, then the sides (veg, mash, chips etc) were all £3 each — crazy prices!
    When you compare the quality, admittedly very high, to the Cambria and the Commercial over in Herne Hill you would find it equal but the prices vary enormously.

    That’s my 2penneth worth.

  15. Interesting highly informal & unofficial BMX road race last Sunday, BRICK2BRIX, Brick Lane to Brixton skate park. Very fascinating going round the Elephant & Castle roundabout en masse the wrong way, baffling the traffic. Somewhat exhilarating. Raw urban sounds supplied for the post-race at the skatepark. Everyone very wiry and skinny. Recommend this type of activity for all Camberwell gourmets & gourmands. Many of the riders seemed to thrive on just reefers and tinned cider.

  16. Poppadom has a website — — its generally good for takeaway (and being near the Co-Op good to pick up drinks at the same time as picking up the curry).

    Indian restaurant-wise I was pleased to see that Safa was much improved on a recent visit after a what i perceived to be a dip in standards.

    Spice of Life is not worth it in my opinion — more expensive than others and the food is not worth the extra. I’m surprised its still operating — there appears never to be anyone in there when I go past.

  17. @Mark — its definitely better than both the blackberry and iphone, imho.

    Especially if you bought the latest model, which I think has better battery life than the earlier one.

  18. I prefer the Google phone (Android) interface to the iPhone, but think the iPhone’s multi-touch is a better way of interacting. Looking forward to seeing future versions of Android.

  19. All
    Didn’t update re: Ambrosia — apologies.
    Food was excellent and they went out of their way to make us feel welcome.

    Couple of weird things though.

    Had amouse-bouche before our starter — little poppadoms and chutneys.
    The poppadoms were (i’m sure) those ones they sell in packets (still nice, but ..)
    The mint chutney tasted like mint sauce from a Lamb roast (out of a jar).

    Main course — there was this weird fusion thing of tamarind paste with salad cream. Yes, salad cream. Bizarre.

    And the fruity special rice had glace cherries in it. very weird (and also strangely tasty).

    Not sure if they’ve got some fusion‑y thing going on (no idea exactly what of), but was a little surprised to say the least.

    Still really enjoyed it though — and not expensive at all.

    Worst thing — no alcohol license (yet).

  20. There is a very interesting meeting of the Camberwell Community Council this coming Monday, 22 July at 7pm at the Town Hall in the Peckham Road. Earlier this month, a report was produced which suggests a long list of major improvements to Camberwell town centre. Amongst other things, it calls for pavement widening, tree-lined boulevards, pocket parks and “green links” cycle and pedestrian routes. It is an inspiring piece of work.
    You can read it at
    The author of the report — Jeremy Leach — is going to present it. He is a brilliant man and it will be good presentation.
    Details of the Council meeting are at

  21. @Julian — nice link. Thanks. Whoever wrote that obviously has some kind of a clue, which is refreshing.

    @Regeneguru — is there any chance these town centre improvements could actually happen?

  22. @Robp — can you take your own booze to Ambrosia?

    (Ignore that that there’s nowhere local to pick up a bottle of wine)

    Glace cherries in rice sounds wrong.

  23. @Gabe I’ve got the G1.

    Battery life isn’t great, probably lasts around 3 hours if you use the phone for web browsing

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