I hope that bad news really does come in threes, and that I haven’t chosen to move back to South London in the middle of a gang feud.
Following on from the stabbing and execution I reported before, comes the news that the fire at Pharoahs pub is believed to be deliberately started, and could have something to do with firearms.
The fire happened last Friday night between 12.30am and 5.00am; it’s pretty remarkable that I didn’t hear anything, because it’s near my flat (conveniently, it’s also practically next door to the fire station). When the wife and I took a walk to Peckham on Saturday we saw the police cars and tape sealing off the road, and both thought ‘Who’s been killed now?’. We were relieved to find out it was just a fire — but now the story about it being linked to gun crime has been reported in the newspapers.
Fingers crossed this is just an isolated incident.
I’m a little confused about this pub; it used to be called the Grove House Tavern, but now seems to be called BRB — yet the sign outside still says The Grove. I don’t know; I’m going to call it BRB because it’s quicker. Anyway, it’s at 26 Camberwell Grove, SE5 8RE — just around the corner from Blake House.
When it was the Grove House Tavern it was an OK boozer — a bit sticky‐carpet, but forgivable. Now it’s been opened out and has more light and space, as well as a big wood‐fired oven where the grotty little kitchen used to be. And Tuesday night is 2‐for‐1 on all pizzas, so it would have been foolish not to take them up on that.
I had the Chilli Chicken, the wife an Alpina. Both were very tasty; nice thin base, a good balance of tomato and chicken with neither overpowering. Mine was just spicy enough. Not perfect, nor the best I’ve eaten in London, but very impressive. And £6.95 for two pizzas is absurdly good value.
It did get pretty busy in there; as we left at about 8.15pm there were no tables left. The last time we were there, a few weeks back, a DJ set up in the main room and was playing student classics at a decent volume. I’m sure it gets louder later, but at least conversation was possible.
There is a tiny courtyard out back with space for about four tables. Because of the high walls it doesn’t get loads of sun, but on a hot day I imagine it gets pretty heaving anyway.
A decent medium venue; not grotty but not up it’s arse, not dead but not rammed either. In fact, just the type of place to go out and have a pint and a pizza with mates.
Last Wednesday the wife and I went for our customary monthly celebration of our marriage (an excuse to eat out, as if one were needed). We like to try a different place whenever possible, and the move to Camberwell has obviously opened up many new doors.
We decided to go for Blake House (16 Grove Lane), which wasn’t in Camberwell when I was last here. It used to be The Kerfield Arms, a typically sticky‐carpeted dark pub, so it’s redevelopment is really welcome.
Upstairs, the restaurant is very spacious and the big windows were open as we had a rare warm evening. The waitress was very friendly (and stunning to look at, although as I was with my wife I obviously didn’t pay much attention). It was pretty empty, only ourselves and two more tables, even considering it was a Wednesday night.
My wife ordered Seared Cod and Deep‐Fried Fennel, while I went for Duck Breast with Potatoes (I forget which type, but it wasn’t mashed). The food arrived in pretty good time and was tasty, although not amazing. The portions were fairly small and my Duck was slightly overcooked.
For dessert I had Creme Brulee (tiny) and my wife had a Chocolate Fudge Cake (I think; we also had a bottle of wine and that detail is hazy). Each main course was about £12, desserts were about £4 and the wine was about £15; a total haul of roughly £50.
We came away happy with our night; it’s really comfortable and intimate inside, the food was good and, although leaning towards expensive considering the size of the portion, not extortionate.
For now, the best restaurant I’ve been to in Camberwell. Heh.
Just as I decide to move back, Camberwell becomes the murder capital of London.
Three days before my North‐South transition, a woman was murdered in a knife attack on Peckham Road.
Then, on Saturday night, a man was rammed off his motorbike and shot by two masked assailants on Camberwell Church Street.
The first I’d heard about it was when we were trying to get a bus back from Oval and the drivers of the first two 436s to pass told us that they wouldn’t be stopping in Camberwell as there’d been a shooting. I covered up this detail as my wife is easily spooked, and told her that something had happened and nobody knew what.
Camberwell Church Street was completely sealed off for traffic, with buses diverted up Denmark Hill. It took us an hour to get back from Oval.
I really hope this is not going to become a regular occurence. Not the delays from the Oval, I mean the murders.
Let me begin with a few apologies:
- The template of this blog is horrible. I’ve only just installed WordPress and haven’t had time to change it yet, but wanted to at least get this blog underway.
- That pun in the title was rotten, and I’ll try to refrain from them again.
That taken care of, I’ll start the CamberwellOnline blog.
When I first moved to London, in 1995, I lived in Camberwell. I had a flat on the corner of Rainbow Street with my then‐girlfriend, and after a little while I got a job at the Town Hall.
Later I moved to Knatchbull Road and although I moved away in late 1997 I kept working at the Town Hall until the summer of 1999.
And now I’m back. I moved into Shenley Road with my wife just over two weeks ago, and was smitten with the place all over again.
Camberwell’s changed a lot in the last five years, but also kept it’s distinctive character. I want to write about that character; about it’s restaurants and bars, it’s mix of hip and seeedy, it’s landmarks and eyesores. It’s everything.
This is what the CamberwellOnline Blog is for; a chronicle of the place and of my life in it.