Poor-quality kebab

Bolu Restaurant

Last night I decided to have a kebab. You can probably guess that I was drunk just by the fact that I took that decision. I haven’t eaten a kebab since leaving Queen’s Park (Spice Grills make amazing kebabs) so this was a nice departure for me.

It was about 11.45 and the kebab shop (no, I can’t remember the name. It was the one near the library, however) was heaving. I ordered a doner (I must have been drunker than I thought, I haven’t eaten one of those for about five years) and it was an utter disappointment. The meat was almost cold and the pitta bread broke apart. The chili sauce wasn’t Maggi, either. Plus, I accidentally ate a piece of lemon.

An utter let down, and a salutory lesson.

On the plus side, I did find an answer my earlier question.

I hope to take some pictures of Camberwell soon, brighten this place up a bit.

Update: Here it is, Bolu restaurant. I was very drunk.

Rock-8 Tapas Bar

Monday night is not usually the nuit du jour (eh?) for eating out, but as our monthly wedding celebration was cancelled due to illness, this was the next best opportunity.

Away from central Camberwell, near Denmark Hill station, are two small bars/restaurants. Both look good but one was more of a bar and we wanted more of a restaurant, so we decided on Rock-8, the Tapas bar (119 Grove Lane, SE5 8BG). It was about 8.45pm when we went in and we were the only customers, so forsaking the big leather sofas in the front we went to the conservatory area at the back.

The menu had a good choice of dishes, probably about 40–50, as well as specials on the board. We chose Calamari, Patatas Bravas, Thai Fish Cakes, Wild Mushroom Risotto and Chorizo & Red Onion, with a bottle of white wine to wash it down. It all arrived nice and quickly, as did two other couples so we didn’t feel quite so alone.

I had two slight quibbles; the Thai Fish Cakes were more like English Fish Cakes, and the food wasn’t as hot as it could have been. But those were minor quibbles (I like writing ‘quibbles’, I don’t know why) and the rest was great. The whole bill came to slightly under £40 (including 12% service charge) which is good value considering we ate plenty. The menu recommends two to four dishes per person; I’d say you have to be a fucking hungry person to eat four dishes.

On the way home we saw the Salvation Army headquarters lit up by floodlight. When you see that big underlit cross on that dark red brick looming out on top of the hill, you think Old Testament rather than New.

SE5 comes alive

When I started this blog it wasn’t with the intention of just writing pub and cafe reviews with the occasional update about crime levels, but that’s the way it’s been so far. I’d like to report more on what’s happening around the borough, but I think I’ll need to buy the South London Press to do that; a quick search for ‘Camberwell’ on icSouthLondon brought up a story about racism in the council, an escaped sex attacker and dirty streets. Maybe I’m being idealistic, but I don’t see that.

Camberwell seems to have sprung back into life in the last couple of weeks; I see now that it’s a student area. We decided to take advantage of the ‘2-for-1 Pizza’ offer at the BRB/Grove House last night. I went directly after work, arriving at about 7pm, and the place was absolutely packed. Every table was occupied and there were queues at the bar. We went into the smaller room and hung around like a bad smell until a middle-aged couple finally took the hint and left. The pizza there is good, and £6 for two 12″ pizzas is ridiculously good. Tuesday’s only, however.

I went to the BRB/Grove on Saturday as well, as I was looking for somewhere to watch the Arsenal v Bolton game. I went to The Castle first, but the girl behind the bar didn’t know anything about it. Next I tried the Silver Buckle, and they directed me to the Hermit’s Cave. The barmaid there said they were going to show the game, but halfway into a pint of Guiness I realised they hadn’t subscribed to it after all. On the off-chance I went into the BRB/Grove, and sure enough they were showing it — much to the annoyance of the (hungover?) bar staff.

Tadim has reopened after a quick refit, they seem to have just cleaned up the counter area. The Funky Munky is still refurbishing, well over schedule as they said they would be reopening on September 10. A quick look inside shows they’ve moved the bar back over to the right wall, where it used to be when it first opened.

That is all.

Safa, Indian restaurant

A new, modern Indian restaurant, Safa (22, Camberwell Church Street) is all about clean, muted colours and tasteful lighting — a far cry from the more traditional ‘Taj Mahal’ style.

We went on Sunday night at about 7.45pm and were the only customers; a couple of other tables arrived during our time there, but it seems that takeaway is their big money-spinner, judging by the constant stream of food coming out of the kitchen — and the very long wait for our starter.

We shared mixed Pakora to start with, crisply fried and fresh-tasting vegetables. For the main course I had Saag Gosht; the lamb was beautifully soft and the sauce not too greasy. Delicious. Ana ate Chicken Tikka Karai, with some amazingly tender chicken pieces. We’ve eaten takeaway from there before, but it was even better coming straight out of the kitchens. The starter, Poppadums, two mains, one rice, one Naan bread and two beers came to £40, which isn’t cheap but isn’t extortionate.

Back in my first time in Camberwell, Zara’s Kitchen was the place to beat for curry. I don’t know what it’s like now, but I have to say I’m not really tempted to try while Safa is so good.