Theo’s Pizzeria

Theo’s Pizzeria opened just over a week ago, but I hadn’t the opportunity to visit until yesterday (Sunday) evening. I dropped in at about 6.30pm and it was pretty busy already, and got progressively busier as I was there. This is great for them, but had a few drawbacks.

The space itself is quite lovely; clean, bright, modern. The layout remains similar to the former Johansson’s, with three main spaces: a dining room, a bar/counter, and a small connecting room. The major changes are the new toilets (three very spacious unisex stalls) and the bar/counter, with the big new pizza oven and a small bar selling a couple of local craft beers. The garden has been spruced up, although it has no outside seating yet.

I had a few niggles about the service. First, we were shown to a seat and told to order at the bar, but when we went to the bar to order we were told it was table service—so we went back to the table to order. We ordered a starter of oven-cooked onion and mortadella, but were brought onion and burrata (it was replaced quickly). At the end we asked for the bill to be brought over, but had to go to the bar to pay as no-one remembered (the guy serving at the counter seemed quite overwhelmed). This is all mitigated by the awareness that the place hasn’t been open long, and they’re all things that can easily be ironed out.

The big question, of course, is: how good is the food? We ordered a Margherita with sausage, and the Camberwell Scotch Bonnet Nduja. Both were very, very good. The dough is excellent, and cooked very well, puffed up and slightly blackened by the wood-fired oven. The toppings were plentiful and tasty; lots of tomato, lots of mozzarella.

This is, without doubt, the best pizza in Camberwell—and you can extend that out to Peckham, Walworth, and the surrounding areas. It’s major competition would probably be Franco Manca in Brixton, and for me it’s not quite as good (and a little more expensive). The two are very, very close, however, and I really look forward to seeing how Theo’s improves in the future—I know from a quick chat with owner Theo Lewis that in the near future there will be a daytime menu featuring panuozzo, a type of pizza sandwich.

Theo’s is a very welcome addition to the area, and I’ll certainly return—I can already see myself buying a takeaway from there and eating it across the road in Stormbird…

Update: Went back again last night (8th November). All the service issues had been ironed out, and the food was great — roasted onion and burrata starter, anchovy pizza main.

Farmers’ Market on Camberwell Green — Om Nom Nom

According to the Urban Farmers’ Markets website, a new market will open on Camberwell Green ‘later this year’. This is good news, although I do wonder whether we can support markets in Oval, Peckham, Elephant, and now Camberwell too. Hope so.

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

Eating, drinking, house prices — business as usual

First of all let me say a huge thanks to reader Joanna, who pointed out to me that the site feed* had stopped working a few months ago; I hadn’t spotted it myself, and no-one else had raised it either. Joanna is a long-time reader of this blog, including during the two years she spent in Rwanda. Now that’s dedication.

Thanks to someone I can’t remember, I’ve recently found the blog of local councillor John Friary, of the Camberwell Green ward. It’s very useful for local news; for example, his latest post mentions that the future of the Baths / Leisure Centre is not as rosy as it could be —  survival depends on Southwark being able to get £2m Government funding from a pot of £50m — which 200 other local authorities have also made bids on. News on the future of the Town Hall there as well.

The latest installment of My Middle-Class Weekends saw me and the wife check out the Saturday farmer’s market in Oval (which we can probably just about squeeze into Camberwell, as it’s at the very end of Camberwell New Road). It’s bigger than the Sunday market at Peckham, with more food actually cooked and served there. Peckham’s still great for picking up the basics, but for something a little more tasty — such as the delicious venison and mushroom pie we had for dinner — it merits a trip on the 436. And I don’t say that lightly.

Earlier that day we dropped a few items off at the PROS bring & take event at the Synergy Centre. Hope that went well.

Later we thought we’d try The Cambria, which everyone has been raving about, but after cycling over there we realised that a) neither of us had any cash and b) all of the outside tables were in the shade. It looks beautiful inside, but we’ll have to go back another time to review it properly. Instead, we wrang out the last few drops of sunshine in the Sun & Doves garden.

To close, some gossip; my mate at the pub says that the Camberwell Grove development isn’t selling well at all. After having to scale back their plans considerably (due to the opposition of the Camberwell Grove Society) they decided to make up their profits by charging more for the properties. Obviously the current financial climate has seen prices tumble, but St George have yet to follow suit; hence, slow sales. As with all gossip, I cannot vouch for its veracity.

If St George would like some free publicity, I will gladly sing their praises here in return for a one-bedroom flat. For a two-bedroom flat, I will also renounce my dislike of the Vauxhall Bridge development.

* In case you don’t know what feeds are, the BBC have a good overview; they’re much more convenient than visiting loads of sites every day. While on technical matters, the 30% of people who visit this site using Internet Explorer 6 should really consider updating to a modern browser; IE6 is old, slow, and potentially insecure. Ask a web-savvy friend if you don’t know what this means.