Camberwell Food and Drink Festival review

The 20th to 27th of April saw another Camberwell Food & Drink Festival, and I missed almost all of it. Typical. Luckily my wife, Ana, was around, so here’s her report on the Food Fair that kicked it off:

The Festival started with a food fair on Camberwell Green where some of the best local restaurants, cafes and producers met and fed a crowd willing to spend the whole day lying in the sun — it was such a beautiful spring day. It attracted people of all ages, who happily shopped/ queued for food and sat on the green, surrounded by food stalls, just to chat, read, listen to the music and watch the colourful balloons against the clear blue sky.

Camberwell was represented by House Cafe, No 67, Falafel and Zeret. As much as I enjoy their food, I wanted to check the guys from outside our borders. I tried a delicious Orange and Ginger Marmalade from Thurstons Preserves and some really tasty cheese from Bath Soft Cheese. There was fresh meat, fish, vegetables and bread there too; if I was planning to go home after the event, I would have done my shopping for the month there.

Then I found Braziliana Cafe and I couldn’t resist having a coxinha and a Guarana — a fried chicken croquette and a soft drink that are very popular in Brazil, my country of origin. Later, the owner Mariana Camarotte prepared feijoada, a stew of black beans with beef and pork, in the demonstration kitchen. It was quite nice to see so many people taking an interest in Brazilian food and the live cooking session helped her to sell more portions of our most famous dish.

The idea of having a stall on the farmers market on Saturdays for each restaurant to showcase their dishes and engage with the community could work well.

A stall at Camberwell Food Fair

There are lots more pictures of the Food Fair on the Flickr stream of Changify, an organisation aimed at helping to bring about social change at a local level. They ran an event, which I was able to attend, on the last day of the Festival. This event was to gather local opinion about food options and introduce people to some of the local amenities. The morning session had some talks, including one from the Glengall Wharf Garden, a community project in Burgess Park. Then we split into two groups to have a small taster lunch, one group at The Bear and the other (mine) at The Crooked Well, where they explained their origins and how they aim to source food locally.

My group then took a tour of some of the shops in the area, and The Secret Garden, run by Tom aka TomTom aka Monkeycat, of this parish. In the afternoon there was a further workshop, but at that point I had to leave.

It’s great to see people working to effect change, so I recommend you have a look at their website to see what it offers. If nothing else, they introduced me to the delicious crepes and galettes of Maloko, the new cafe opened in the former Paul’s Continental Olive Shop, run by some lovely and friendly guys who have a mission to provide healthy vegan food at low prices.

Author: Peter

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

50 thoughts on “Camberwell Food and Drink Festival review”

  1. I absolutely adored the food festival! I love the farmers market anyway, and it was great to have loads more stalls, but the atmosphere was my favourite thing. It was just so nice having lots of Camberwell people hanging out and enjoying the sunshine. Well, that and the £1 rioja too, obviously.

  2. Morning,

    Any arts-scene type stuff happening this weekend?

    Or general local-happenings type stuff?

  3. There is also a Garden Safari.…

    Sunday 19th May from 14:00 to 18:00

    Garden Safari

    Explore four lovely private gardens plus the famous Lettsom Gardens near Camberwell Grove (by kind permission of the Lettsom Gardens Association, an active community group) . The gardens include two small areas of woodland, as well as grassland and a children’s play area. They are not generally open to the public. Plus plant stall and home-made cakes.

    Programmes and maps available on the day from 189 Camberwell Grove, London SE5 8JU.

    Adults £5 (children under 16 — FREE) Sorry, no dogs please.

  4. SITUATIONIST NOTES. Bang in the middle of Camberwell Green is a perfect circle of bluebells with a couple of rose bushes poking through. Nearby is a fine scattering of daisies which, on a grey day like today, are closed up. They are truly the day’s eye.

    Slouching towards the Elephant along the Walworth Road, on Arnside Road (to the east) is a skip full of full, 1‑litre, heavy-glass bottles of Cantrell and Cochrane “Club” lemonade dating back to the 1980s or even beyond: “DEPOSIT CHARGED — PLEASE RETURN BOTTLE.” The ingredients include something unspecified called “Preservative”. The artificial sweetener is named as Saccharin.

    The typography of the logotype “Club lemonade” is particularly “Abigail’s Party”. Anyone wishing to toast with a port and lemon friends long-deceased through lifestyles dating back to the 1970s will find this period mixer still in the bottom of the skip beneath some dusty old shop fittings.

    The cadavers of “Club” imbibers from that time are almost certainly preserved perfectly in their coffins to this day as though in formaldehyde, their faces garnished with — not a sprig of parsley like cod in white sauce at a Wimpy, but a saccharine smile.

  5. Lovely notes as always Mr. Dagmar.

    By the way, at Maloko tomorrow night there is an Auction of art for the Camberwell Arts Festival. Get yourselves down there for some artwork, drinks and crepes!


  6. The C&C Club Lemonade skip has gone. Only two 1‑litre returnable, full, glass bottles remain, in a notable Museum of Dada not far from this blog.

    A skip full of Victorian house bricks has appeared in Grove Lane and disappeared before you can say architectural rescue (about two days).

    Three, brilliant, capacious, sunshine-yellow bookcases appeared today outside St Giles Church Hall where the famous and fabulous Camberwell Choirschool performs, but disappeared as quickly as the sun in May, as they say these days in Camberwell.

  7. “Look a skip!” (Me)


    “Wow look at this. It’s amazing!” (Me)

    “Oooooph, for goodness sake.” (Mrs Monkeycat).

    (This is a true and accurate reconstruction of any skip related incidents in the Monkeycat household).

  8. Nunhead Cemetery Open Day once more passed away without any fatalities this year. It is an incredibly charming event. One of the more ethereal stalls, there every year, is staffed by two healthy and beautiful looking Christadelphians sitting behind a coffin with a real, live skeleton in it. The Christadelphians are a particularly appealing, wide-eyed, as-though-on-drugs bunch in stark contrast to the Adventists who sit there knowing it all.

    Bugman Jones has easily the longest queue. We are lucky to have him there every year. His books are broadcasts are superb and his care in identifying and describing insects to children who seek out the life of the cemetery and bring it to him in clear, lidded boxes is exemplary.

    When UKIP take over the country, which is not long now, partisans will fight and win a war of liberation from such leafy purlieus as Nunhead Cemetery. Strong limbed Goth girls will zap the zombie stormtroopers of the nationalists into smithereens with just a flash of their chilling eyes. Wonderful amazons will knot the strutting little-Britainers’ arms and legs together and use them as rugby balls in their moonlit tournaments.

    “Thus Albion
    shall be free.
    Nunhead Cemetery
    is the place to be.”

  9. A slightly random request here, but I was hoping that somebody may be able to help me out…

    Does anybody know of a local ironmonger/metal workshop place where I can get a couple of metal griddles made up for a brick-built barbecue which is in my communal garden?


  10. @eusebiovic try ( i think they called ) KSS metalwork down at Loughborough Junction. They are in the little estate at the end Hardness Street. Its where Whirlded Cinema is.

    They made me some custom stainess ducting when i did my kitchen up, did a good job.

  11. @Robbie

    Thanks for that…I had noticed the KSS signage but every time that I walk past they appear to be closed!

    I’ll make sure that I investigate a little further the next time 🙂

  12. Nice one Gabe, thanks. It is, of course, the walk to Goldsmith’s that may itself become a “derive” and one may wander off elsewhere instead and never hear the talk at all or be heard of again.

    Guy Debord, what a guy, to string out putting one foot in front of another into a whole modern philosophy about existentialism and disorientation:

    “We are all disorientated and suffering from ennui!”
    — No we’re not, mate, we’re just in Paris.

    Had an interesting derive today, down into the old Southwark “nuclear bunker” at the bottom of Shenley Road opposite Lucas Gardens and the old Town Hall.

    There are two inches of water throughout the extensive complex of rooms. Some signs of black magic. Some piles of local street maps are now so damp as to be pulp with ink dissolving into it — Camberwell sinking into the sands of time.

    There are many phone books, so presumably the Cold War council telecomms operatives would have been able to phone out for a pizza during the grey days of an atomic conflict.

    A board full of dozens of keys to official Southwark lay beneath the water: whoever worked there must have left in a hurry. To the situationist, a key is like the answer to a problem. It has the same symbolic meaning as a fish, an angel or an alien, the finger of fate, even.

    The place would make an excellent nihilist club. The combination of massive wattage and standing water would be electric. What a way to go, wired on cider, listening to nihilist thrash and in close congress with the water table of ancient Camberwell.

  13. Back to metalworkers for a moment, if I may.

    Steel artisans are disappearing faster than corner pubs but one still exists and appears to thrive in SE16. A lock-up garage on the left of Stockholm Road, just before the gates of the Millwall stadium.

    He seems to make up a wide variety of useful steel things, usually involving shimmering sparks and bright blue flashes that reflect on his smiling face.

    I think he likes his work. And his overheads appear to be minimal, which suggests jolly reasonable prices.

    If I was cleverer I’d add a situationist reference. But I aint, so I won’t.

  14. I have a beautiful lady’s bike (obviously) in my back yard that needs a little but good welding. I’ll take it to your man, Jes, thank you, on Stockholm Road near the Gates of Millwall.

    The bike is technically a “mixte” — tu sais? I found it in a privet hedge in Camberwell. It’s painted gold and from the 1970s. I took all the silly decal off except one small label which says:

    “Made in Liechtenstein”.

    As all Situationists are aware, Liechtenstein in Central Europe is one of just two doubly-landlocked countries in the world. It is surrounded by Switzerland and Austria.

    The other is Uzbekistan, of course, in Central Asia, which is surrounded by Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

    They call it London-on-Sea: we are lucky to have the whiff of sea salt and the tang of iodine in the air here in south-east London.

    And the seagulls at Millwall get in free.

  15. @Jes

    Thanks for the tip…I may well have a snoop around there next week.

    I will also make a mental note to leave my West Ham scarf in the wardrobe. Although he will most probably be a Chelsea fan — they are everywhere these days…a bit like Converse Trainers and Superdry


  16. @Dagmar I think you may also be a flaneur,a modern day Walter Benjamin of South London. Goldsmiths love him.

  17. A load of old flannel, Eilean, is indeed the issue of the stroller whose cardigan has caught upon some brambles and unravels as she rambles.

    Have just got back from Ken Wark’s talk at Goldsmith which was just excellent. Am writing up my notes. He is an intellectual firebrand.

    This is an exciting breakthrough for all of us in Camberwell.

    We could all be top-notch intellectuals just by living here, I mean by being located in this space, place — by being placed in this situation.

  18. Ah, well, Peckham is a place, whilst Camberwell, as a crossroads, is more of a concept. I am still trying to decipher my notes from the Situationist lecture at Goldsmiths that Gabe kindly alerted us to. Did anyone else go?

    I don’t know whether I was there or not. That’s the great thing about being an intellectual. You just don’t know.

  19. The Big Lunch kicks off this Saturday.

    The Secret Garden is open to all on Saturday. Lunch is from 12–3pm, with an international theme. Bring along a dish from your country.

    With Colombians, Nigerians, Jamaicans, Brits, Australians, South Africans, Portuguese, Spanish, Americans, Somalians, Pakistanis, Congolese, Chinese and goodness knows who else on the D’Eynsford Estate, I’m going to make the guess that the food will be quite varied!

    Everyone is welcome, and the garden will be open for a while after as well.

  20. My Bad!

    The Secret Garden is holding the Big Lunch this year! I should read the website and emails properly. It’s still on the D’Eynsford Estate though, but by the the football pitch. Millwall FC are sending along some nice chappies to do some football training for kids.

    However, the garden will probably be open for people to go and visit.

  21. What time this year is it? We enjoyed it last year. The Secret Garden is great.

    Where is the football pitch? Is there a map you can send us?

    It’s a very welcoming event, real proper local.

  22. We were on the road. Did anyone bring fish & chips? Fried fish from the Jewish folks, chipped spuds from the Irish, so London.

  23. A slightly random request here, but I was hoping that somebody may be able to help me out…
    Does anybody know of a local ironmonger/metal workshop place where I can get a couple of metal griddles made up for a brick-built barbecue which is in my communal garden?

    May be of value to give Simon a ring , in Deptford , works in stainless steel , 07962835212 or Gordon , also Deptford 07815822817, mild steel . Both do great work .
    Both do great things , but their in the UK not China , so dial out the £1 a day labour idea & get your measurments / drawing sorted , so they do not have to ask you question that you should have provided the answer to in the drawing .

    Send them my regards,
    Bob from Complete Fabrication

  24. Camberwell, is there a gene we can pinpoint, to account for everything from sexuality to supporting Milllwall?

    The Dagmar parents were walking in Dulwich Park tonight whilst the daughters were at Brownies and there, spray-painted on the metalled path where the Dulwich Village People jog on weekdays when all of us ‘ere are rattling around the plastic pet-rodents’ treadmills of capitallism to support their ridiculous self-conscious movements, was the word, in caps:


    It writes well in caps, like runes, no round bits, right? Like BRAZIL.

  25. Eilean,

    It’s all about buckwheat pancakes these days. Vegans are cool again. (And skateboarders, for what that’s worth).

    We had a Big Lunch on our street on Sunday. It was nice.

  26. The Jazz Club reopens at the Crypt, St Giles Church on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June at 8.00 pm.
    Whoopee…it’s been so long without you!


  27. Open Gardens this weekend. According to my copy of Living South, there are a few in and around Cambewell worth visiting.

  28. @Maude So excited about the Crypt. That’s the weekend sorted then- a bit of Jean Toussaint on Friday night and a Saturday night Rooftop Cinema trip to see ‘Trainspotting’ at the Bussey Building. Lovely

  29. @Eilean, if you haven’t got the energy to cook on Sunday, I’ll happily make some brunch for you.

    Well excited about the Jazz at the Crypt. Already got me tickets.

    And then you can go and see some lovely pictures too during the weekend.

    And also Lovely Tracy (she of the Art’s Bar once upon a time) is doing what has to be the best thing ever. A huge picnic blanket on the Green on Saturday called The Big Stitch Up. Mrs Monkeycat has been sewing patches for weeks.

  30. @Monkeycat Tickets, you need tickets for the Crypt? There goes spontaneity.
    Love the picnic blanket idea, so will get out my trusty sewing basket circa 1977 and head on down there

  31. It’s always been an option. I just figured that since it was their first night back it would be a bit busy.

    Only 9 left for sale online. I’m guessing there will be more on the door.

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