Angels & Gypsies

So after a three-year wait, Angels & Gypsies tapas y cerveccaria has opened. Being a fan of tapas, and of the place in it’s previous incarnation (Viva Espana) I was really looking forward to trying it out. So I did.

At first I couldn’t see any big changes to how it was before; the big U‑shaped bar is still there, and the table layout is the same. But the more I looked, the more changes I saw: the Spanish tiles around the bar, the new wooden floor, the wider front windows.

We got a table easily (next to the Gay Camberwell ladies, if I’m not mistaken); there were two or three other tables already taken, and it got steadily busier throughout the night. There were still probably too many staff, though.

So, the food: we ordered some bread, serrano ham, calamari, chorizo in cider, croquettes, chicken in apricot sauce, and chips with a bravas sauce. It was uniformly very good; ingredients were obviously great quality, and it was all cooked to perfection.

My one quibble: portion sizes. The dishes were priced around £5, and while most of the portions were fine, I thought a few were too small — especially the serrano ham, which gave five small pieces. With all the nice cured legs of ham hanging around the restaurant, it seemed pretty stingey to not give us more.

After dinner I had an almond and pistachio tart with vanilla & cardamom ice cream, while the wife had a chocolate… thing. Both were excellent.

Without wine, the whole meal came to about £33, which was pretty good, I think. We had a nice rioja from the excellent wine list to complement.

Over all, a really nice experience. It’s probably a little bit of a luxury to eat there too frequently, but for a special occasion or a treat it would be great. I could justify it because it’s my birthday.

In summary: a very welcome addition to the Camberwell culinary scene. Recommended.

Hams & CamberwellStained glass, Angels & GypsiesAngels & Gypsies

Author: Peter

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

125 thoughts on “Angels & Gypsies”

  1. Just on the price note, since we’re vegetarians and weren’t ordering any meat, we found most of the veggie tapas came in at £2.50–4. Our only quibble was patatas bravas — a tapas staple, that they have inexplicably altered to be ‘chips bravas’. We also had the lovely fresh bread and oil, the roast pumpkin, the tortilla, and the beetroot, rocket and goats’ cheese salad, followed by a rather good cheeseboard (only quibble being their provision of strong-tasting olive bread to eat it with, but we asked for more plain bread and it was willingly provided) and the chocolate mousse cake. The house red was about £13 and was a decent wine. Tap water provided willingly in nice little jugs.

    And yes, we spent some of the meal speculating on which blog people were at the other tables! Peter, do say hello if you spot us again!

  2. @Gay Camberwell — I didn’t know it was you at the time; just when you said you’d been there, I remembered the two ladies at the next table.

  3. Surprised none of you recognised me. I was working behind the bar.

    OK, not really. Would’ve been funny though. Filipino food has arrived in SE5. There’s a new shop just up from Pizza Hut near the hospital, presumably to serve nursing staff from the hospital. Filipino food isn’t one of Asia’s more celebrated cuisines. Lots of dried goods and overpriced biscuits etc.

  4. Finally! We’re off to test one night this week.
    They really need to work on their marketing though. Got an email response this morning(to about 5 emails sent over the last 2 months)saying ‘oh — we’re open’.
    Trouble is I’m pretty much fully booked until post christmas. If they’d given me a bit of notice I’d been able to plan to go.

    Glad to hear it’s good though — just got back from a sherry tour (read: getting pissed driving round southern spain having tapitas) so have a lot to compare them to.

  5. I think I spotted Peter but I didn’t see the lovely Camberwell gals.

    Agree about the PR. There’s nothing on the Church St Hotel website about the restaurant, its opening times or menus, which is a shame. I need to start plotting my next fix in earnest…

  6. @RobP: Yeah, there wasn’t even a sign in the window saying ‘opening tonight’ or anything; also, I’m signed up to the Church St Hotel’s email alerts, and they’ve sent out nothing. Better marketing definitely needed.

    @Yak: What time did you come in and where did you sit?

  7. Se5 Forum had Christmas drinks at Sun and Doves last night.

    As usual on exemplary form I behaved very badly throughout, drank far too much, told everyone I hate Camberwell ad nauseum, that there’s no hope for the area and I hope Oberon is so successful it puts all the other bars in the area out of business.

    Camberwell is like a spoilt brat. ON the one hand we get customers volunteering that our burgers are THE BEST THEY’VE EVER HAD — backed up by Americans telling us they’re the best burgers they’ve had in EUROPE — then we get other customers telling us ‘your burgers are a rip off’ (and, although they are considerably cheaper than say, Gourmet Burger Kitchen) ‘they are too expensive and don’t even come with chips. I like my burger to come with chips’ (and for free obviously). ‘The service was too slow we didn’t get the food soon enough after we sat down; (a combination of dishes from three different menus which aren’t supposed to be mix and match, including Roast Turkey which isn’t even on the menu) especially just for them). ‘we’re not paying the service charge (table of eight) and we won’t be leaving a tip (this from people who book a table, arrive forty minutes late expecting food they ordered in advance to be served immediately when there’s various other tables making about forty other people to serve — people who all arrived on time and have no complaint whatsoever, obviously because they aren’t ahem, twats) oh but the food was absolutely delicious.

    And then, having a chat on the forecourt over a ciggy with newly acquainted people just moved to the area and interested in being here, and THEN, that bloody pain in the arse woman who always calls me darling comes up the path and starts begging everyone for fags, ‘can I have a drag on yours then?’ and ‘I’ve got some ganja in me pocket do you want to buy some?’.

    And then there’s the general know it all mantra ‘You’re all the same you bars and restaurants, you don’t do enough for vegetarians (at least 40% of the menu has always been meat free and about a third of the rest has been pescatorial in origin) . Think we might rename Steak and Kebab.

    NO “fuck off”.

    Gah. Camberwell.

  8. Well folks, my warnings about BA made a few months back are ringing true. Doubt even the stupid unions ‘protecting us rights and future’ will go for a full 12 day strike, but you never know.

    So here’s my next tip for those who are interested. Watch the sale of govt gilts in January very carefully. Iceland, Ireland and Greece we’ll be with you soon, along with Spain! Yay!

  9. Mark — It must be a thankless task. Hang on in there. I will try those burgers one day.

    I see the opticians near GX Gallery has been closed a few weeks. How long before it reopens as a shop selling powdered milk and yams and doesn’t bother renewing the sign.

    Looking forward to trying the tapas place.

  10. Hi,

    Sorry to go off topic but does anybody know if there are any restaurants open in Camberwell/Brixton for dinner on Christmas Day?


  11. Hi Peter — fyi, seems to be up and down quite a bit this week. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This is from different connections, browsers, etc.

    Wrong kind of snow?

  12. @Phil — I haven’t been to the Noddel place myself, but some friends went in the other day and say they walked out right away because it was too rank.

    @Mark — since I’m one of those vegetarians you talked about, I will try and get over and sample your food soon.

    @everyone — the new video exhibit in the SLG is very cool. A tree performance. German artist. It’s only on for a week.

    Edit: on the subject of continental artists, thought this was quite interesting: Peckham related.

  13. Yes it’s a shocking place. I didn’t really mean it. I did go once when v drunk and apologised to the forum for doing so in a mock review that I can’t find now.

  14. Noodels City: I went once out of magnetic curiosity and will never return. An unpleasant, unsentimental and snob free gross surreality. It WAS cheap though. Good Value doesn’t come into it. They are paying the rent and seem comfortable with the amount of trade they generate. Amazing considering the kack they serve in the ambience they’ve made out of it but true — and quite clearly enough people use it to make it work for whoever it is who had the Noodel to do it. It’s soulless and vile.

    To my mind it’s a story of Camberwell’s continuing pointlessness.

    Anyone notice the radical approach Morrison’s have taken to their car park? £1.60 an hour, no change given, minimum one hour parking; £9.80 for the whole day. Are they trying to force shoppers with cars to go to Sainsbury’s?

  15. On the subject of local Christmas Day lunch establishments, I see that this week’s Time Out has an ‘Open Christmas Day’ restaurant feature, starring our very own Pasha Hotel Kazakh Kyrgyz restaurant!

    ‘Descend into a world resplendent with Central Asian eats, complete with opulent hamman (Turkish bath), and an indoor pond. On Christmas day, a festive dinner menu priced at £20 per person is fashioned with wine, platters of food and vegetarian options for mains and dessert.’

  16. @Mark — perhaps they are putting the results of the SE5 Forum poll to the test: It’s still reasonable value compared to the minimum £2.40 customers must pay to visit shops in outer Camberwell, considering the access to Camberwell Green’s remaining amenities.

    Interestingly, Morrison’s objected to Southwark’s plans for more drive-in supermarkets on the Old Kent Road, suggesting they take a dim view of Southwark’s core strategy of maintaining growth of mass free parking destinations near Camberwell. Obviously the Council would never dare to CPO the car park and force charging, but perhaps Sainsburys will follow suit of its own accord? Certainly, it will do so as soon as Lordship Lane is CPZ-ed.

  17. Bang wrong on Noodels Mark.

    Take your camera down there on a Saturday tea time and capture the value. Huge numbers of families dining cheaply on food they all enjoy. You don’t like it — fine. It’s pointless?! Ridiculous. How closed minded can you be?

    Anyone see that farcical ethical man global warming piece on Newsnight? Pathetic. If you didn’t have doubts about the objectivity of the debate before then surely you would after that..

  18. I can understand its attraction on value alone, but the fare they serve in there is dreadful.

    If you want value and better taste (and don’t we all) then get thee to Ginseng Noodle.

  19. Bit of festive cheer for you Mark.

    Punch Taverns, Britain’s biggest pub company, suffered the embarrassment of having its remuneration report voted down by shareholders at yesterday’s annual meeting amid concerns over performance conditions.

  20. Alan. The food at Noodels was the day I went, and I presume remains, awful gloop. CHEAP is its only defence.

    Thanks Phil G.

    “Shareholder representatives have taken a dim view of the bonuses being paid to executives, increases in pensions and payments to departing executives, including a £652,000 payout to former commercial director Jonathan Paveley, who now chairs Admiral Taverns, £471,000 to Deborah Kemp, former head of the group’s leased pub business and £284,000 to Andrew Knight, the former managing director of Spirit Group.”

    These posts from the Morning Advertiser and The Publican forum earlier today:

    1) Episode V: The Shareholders Strike Back

    At year 1000 year of the Bar Wars calendar

    The Twilek dark Jedi Veekhar discovers the Precursors in Kathol sector, and moves to take their technology and power for his own. A force of Light-side Jedi under General Halbret Dajus is dispatched to thwart him. During the battle, one of the Precursor Stargates is detonated, thereby creating a sector-wide holocaust and giving birth to the Kathol Rift with its fallout. The Precursors abandon their bodies and enter the Lifewell to save themselves. Halbret enters a stasis pod on Kathol. The bio-mechanical supercomputer Darkstryder is left to run the planet and awaken the Precursors when the disaster has passed. It never does, but instead takes over the planet.

    + 6 months

    The FarStar defeats Moff Sarne and Darkstryder and uses the Kathol Stargate to travel back in time to the Clone Wars and a cataclysmic SEISMIC EVENT destroys Kathol and finally the Shareholders Strike Back.

    2) Punch Taverns shareholders in AGM revolt:

    It is more than faintly ridiculous that all these people who have proven over a decade or more that they could not organise a pissup in a brewery when it comes to actually RUNNING a pub; as opposed to proving they can milk a substantial part of the national pub estate dry of cash and profit at the foundations; should get such massive pay outs for their performance. It’s just rewarding people for short sighted, short termist, unsustainable business practices and no different from chucking money down the drain. And the notion that this move is in no way meant to criticise senior members of the board is a bit naive isn’t it? It’s a MASSIVE criticism of everything they’ve been doing to bring this company to its knees. It was, of course all very predictable if you had the fortune to be running a tied pub a decade ago.

  21. Reluctantly, I feel Alan Dale has a point about noodels.

    I think this kind of buffet food is disgusting swill, but nobody’s forcing me to go there. If others loathe themselves enough to eat it, far be it from me to discourage them.

    But the signage is a problem. It’s in my field of vision on the way past. I could use a blindfold, but the buses, dog shit and broken glass would imperil me.

  22. ‘loathe themselves enough to eat it’ — exactly.

    That’s exactly why it’s full of families on a Saturday tea time.. all there gorging on their own self loathing… nothing to do with the fact that an occasional cheap curry and chips is nice.

  23. Helpful tip: the Asian supermkt next to former Woolies sells tubs of the same Chinese curry sauces that the chop suey places use. Just add water and stir. Hey ho. Good with mushrooms, onions, peppers and chicken/beef.

    Salty luvverly MSG curry sauce with leftover veg? Done.

  24. No, the spelling is unforgiveable. It’s something that bound us all strongly at the time. Please let’s not lose site of that.

  25. The spelling is a secondary issue to the sign’s size and appearance; believe it or not, Camberwell Green is a conservation area, although it doesn’t seem to get the benefit of the application of the rules that it should.

    As for the place itself, it’s a shame that cheap has to equal low quality.

  26. The oriental supermarket has some real exotic bargains in there.

    Would like to try some of the snacks/sauces but couldn’t find one that didn’t contain palm oil. Much worse than a dose of MSG.

    Cheap can equal cheerful. Can’t equal quality. Unless it’s a freshly prepared, slowly cooked winter veg-based organic home-grown stew (ideally containing meat) being served to a lot of hungry people at the same time.

    This is making me hungry.

    Seen the snow? They were chucking salt about like loonies in the west end. Clearly someone high up in the public sector knows there’s a storm coming. Wrap up warm, lovely people.

  27. Chinese curry and chips: a British classic since 1972. What provenance are the people who run Noodels? Those working when I was there weren’t Chinese. I wouldn’t have a problem if the food they churn out was decent instead of gloop.

    Camberwell Green IS a conservation area which should bring up the proposed development along Camberwell Passage including the Job Centre and HSS Hire on Camberwell New Road.

    This is a hugely significant site because of its location and aspect and could have a dynamic effect on Camberwell’s future if handled sensitively. There is a chance to get a really good building providing great living space and some belting retail units all round the block. But what’s likely to happen is that a dull, safe and invisible development will appear without a murmur — Southwark’s planning department has been telling the developer that a low key building that blends in with existing is what we want in Camberwell. OH YEAH? And what will happen to the section 106 money?

    That reminds me of the extension to Camberwell Bus Garage on Camberwell New Road. Did anyone see any planning consultation about that eyesore? It’s slap bang on a site that could well have been used for retail or many other types of development of much greater value to our community than a bloody bus park. And what happened to the 106 money from that?

    The local authorities really are not on our side around here, it’s been going on for decades, it HAS to stop!

  28. @mark: who’s the planning guy you met up with recently? might be worth asking him to come along to ‘camberwell can be…’ forum?

    personally i think that the madness of ‘must build more homes’ in the areas which are already struggling with amenities, deprivation, traffic nightmares, etcetera has to stop. regardless of what gordon or kim humphries want.

    more opportunities to spend the money you don’t have are only going to exacerbate the already massive gap, more people squashed in an area without tube/rail is going to mean more cars/pollution/congestions etc.

    meanwhile, in dulwich…

  29. Being cynical but could the attention lavished on Dulwich, Bermondsey and other parts of the borough be anythung to do with the Conservative and Lib Dem support in those areas? They afterall want to maintain their seats and so allocate money more generously to those aras. I am hopeful that come 6 May 2010 a Labour council will be elected in Southwark the members of which will actually care about Camberwell.

  30. The Wai Ting supermarket next to ex-Woolies sells fab Thai curry pastes, 3 for a quid.

    This global warming really is getting out of hand. The snow really is thin on the ground round here. The parakeets have shut up, though, that’s good, aggressive, intrusive, invasive bastards.

    That Tiger Woods bloke has appeared on telly in Copenhagen to say an agreement has been come to about the global warming. He says there will be no more friction or fiction. Rainforests? To the woods. It’s great, hot stuff from Denmark, as ever. Nina & Frederik — maybe they will have a comeback

    The art & crafts market on the Green will be brilliant tomorrow — it’s in a space-age tent. Flux Studios will be selling their jewellery there — they do really interesting, different pieces, excellent for Xmas presents especially for loved & cherished ladies.

    Near Orpington, there is a village called Green Street Green. In the town, there is a sign that says,


    but unfortunately it just signs a library and a museum not a library museum which, in Orpington, would be a blast.

  31. @Mumu: Wouldn’t get your hopes up about a Labour Leadership — their past record on Camberwell is dreadful. Just look around you — what you see is not the result of just the past few years. That’s decades of comprehensively bad management — many people’s lifetimes of oversight and shameful neglect. It reminds me of the intransigence, ignorance and lack of imagination of pubcos; which is really saying something; they are FUEDAL.

    Wing Tai do very good value mint.

    @Liliana: Barbara will have his contact details. He’s called Daniel I think.

    If the fair’s as good as the poster we should be onto something and that should be followed later by the marvellous Hank Dogs and friends at The Sun and Doves. from around 7pm. Frree and a great antidote to the cold and a heart warming lead into the holiday season. As ‘they’ call it in the ‘States.

  32. ‘Anyone notice the radical approach Morrison’s have taken to their car park? £1.60 an hour, no change given, minimum one hour…’

    Presumably Morrison’s refund the parking fee at the till? If not they’ve been silly, although in time they can measure exactly how it effects revenue. It guarantees I’ll only shop there for the odd thing. It was bad enough being forced to queue 20 minutes through the Green to get there. Morrison’s fresh fish is so much better than Sainsbury’s so it’s worth popping in on foot for that.

    Of course Sainsbury’s are far too clever to aggravate their customers with a parking charge, even if there was a CPZ in Lordship Lane. I don’t think it’s a clever policy to charge people for parking in Camberwell. Given the dearth of decent shops and the horrific bottle neck around the green, we need to give people all the incentives we can to bring them in.

  33. @Butterball. Morrison’s parking — there’s no refund at the till as at Walworth Road. However, been doing a bit of research and apparently it’s NOT Morrisons’ who imposed the charges but Butterfly Walk property management (Mumbo Jumbo World; isn’t it just?).

    Even the guys who wash cars in the car park say they’ve less business since the charges began. It HAS to have an effect on the rest too.

    Meeting Morrison’s manager on Monday to find out more.

  34. Finally got round to trying out the (new) Grove Tavern; the decor is quaint though may have mixed it up with the xmas decorations. Not unpleasant but almost deserted while we were there. We didn’t fancy burgers so moved onto the Petit Parisien to see if the new menu had improved things. Oh dear, not being a meat eater thought I’d try the fish — “fish is off tonight” — so it was risotto; served far too quickly to have been cooked there and then (surely not microwaved). Sad to say it didn’t impress and others must have formed the same opinion as for most of the meal we were the only people there.

    Re the car parking at Morrisons, wonder if charges have been introduced to deter people from parking there — it’s popular with King’s College Hospital visitors. Or rather it was popular with them. The car park has been markedly less busy since charging commenced. One can’t help but feel sorry for the car wash guys. The property management company must be very proud of themselves, having driven out the only bookshop in Camberwell they’re left with an arcade (sic) of cheapo stores (sic) distinguished only by a charity shop and a half decent card shop.

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