Peter has kindly asked me to do a little post about Camberwell.
I started writing about my everyday experiences after a stay at the hospitality of Kings College Hospital. After a while, it became clear that most of my posts involved food (I eat out far too much) so I decided to go down this path and dedicated my blog to food and restaurants. I now write “a rather unusual chinaman”, a record of my food adventures.
Being a proud resident of Camberwell and the surrounding area for the last 6 years, one thing I have come to appreciate is the great diversity that contributes to the area’s character. We have strong African, Caribbean and South American communities here (amongst many others), without forgetting the influence from the locals of course. With these communities come their cuisines, shaping the gastronomic landscape of Camberwell.
Slowly but surely, I have been tasting my way around our glorious neighbourhood. Long gone are the days when Mozzarella and Pomodoro were selling their wares on the corner of Camberwell Green (only to be replaced by the spelling challenged “Noodel City”) and Spice of Life (which has seen more identities than Frank Abagnale Jr) on Camberwell Church Street. However, with sad losses come great gains. Recent times have seen the addition of new curry houses (Ambrosia and Camberwell Tandoori), a Turkish ocakbasi in FM Mangal and a face-lifted Tadim.
My personal favourites are:
The Bear — A traditional English pub with a beautiful interior. A great place for a Sunday lunch, its popularity endorsed by inclusion in the Observer Food Monthly shortlist for best Sunday lunch.
FM Mangal — An excellent Turkish ocakbasi cooking its meat over smoky coals. Great food complemented by welcoming staff. My favourite local takeaway, I dare you to turn down their tea and Turkish delight as you wait for your food!
Caravaggio — Budget Italian eatery. Serving superb value mountains of pastas and excellent lunchtime jacket potatoes.
Johanssons — I wouldn’t go anywhere else for my full English. The dining room feels like you are dining at home, without the fuss. Delicious smoothies. Roaring fires when its cold and a lovely little garden for when its warm.
Silk Road — A very different Chinese restaurant selling food from Xinjiang, an autonomous region in the north west of China. Amazing lamb skewers complemented by hand spun noodles and delightful dumplings.
These are just a few of my favourites but I am sure we all know that there are a whole lot more hidden delights in our local neighbourhood. Where do you like to eat, and where are the secrets that you would rather keep to yourself?