Overpriced watered down Western Thai food. People who are saying that it's similar to thai food in Thailand have got to be kidding and are most likely related to the owners! Let alone the dismissal of prices that range from 10.50-14.50 for meagre sized portions. Thai food for bland western palates/people who don't know better. I've been stung once, won't happen again.
© Lol Johnson
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Mon Sep 24 2012
When this trendy Peckham eaterie opened in 2012, there was a flurry of excitement over its unusual menu. Instead of the more familiar Thai fare, chef Jane Alty offers Thai street food. Alty previously worked with David Thompson on his classic cookbook on that theme, which no doubt served as inspiration for her eclectic repertoire. Colour-coded by price, and designed for sharing tapas-style, the dishes include only a few of the usual suspects (Thai fish cakes, for example). The rest of the menu is built around less familiar options and ingredients, such as a rich but mellow curry featuring firm-fleshed yam bean root. Seasonal western ingredients are also given some Thai treatment, to produce dishes like trout in sour orange curry, or fennel and chicory with a relish of minced pork, prawn, coconut and yellow bean. Stir-fried pork belly with long beans was rich with warming red curry paste and lime-leaf slivers. The dining room has a contemporary feel, with big windows and colourful, painted reclaimed wood lining one wall. There’s outside seating too. Staff are young and enthusiastic, regularly checking in to see if we needed anything. There’s a well-chosen wine list and some decent cocktails.
Begging Bowl 168 Bellenden Road
- Venue phone:
020 7635 2627
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Lunch served noon-2.30pm Tue-Sat; noon-3.30pm Sun. Dinner served 6-10pm Mon-Sat
Tube: Peckham Rye rail
Main courses £6.25-£14.75. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £60
- 168 Bellenden Road
- 020 7635 2627
- 168 Bellenden Road
- Begging Bowl
Average User Rating
2.9 / 5
- 5 star:7
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:5
- 1 star:5
I have been a long term resident of Thailand and am a frequent visitor and seeker out of authentic Thai food and so was very interested to seek out the hyped claims of the Begging Bowl as it is pretty local to my wife and I. Basically don't believe the hype - all of our dishes failed to hit the mark and the best I can say is that the ingredients were fresh and well presented and the staff are friendly and efficient in a cool space. The Thai fish cakes seemed liked canned tuna dressed up as deep fried barbequed chicken nuggets. Wet and rather pointless. The duck curry was too hot and lacked coconut milk and any sort of delicate flavours to have balance and was too effete in those that it had to be regarded as anywhere near 'street authentic'. The pork belly which replaced the menu pork belly option was like eating soggy cardboard - it's hard to make pork boring and tasteless but they did. By the time the last course came I wasn't expecting much and they didn't dissapoint - it was steamed sea bream with a jug of some sort of watery sauce. No flavours at all to speak of and so we asked for chilli sauce and got some sweet bottled variety to try and spice it up a bit. In the end we came away rather sad - because if this is a restaurant from an acolyte of David Thompson then he should dissociate himself forthwith. I have tasted a couple of dishes of his at London's Taste Festival and they were amongst the very best food of any cuisine that I have ever tasted. Here it was a confused, bland attempt at Thai food that missed the mark by miles. The place on Friday night was heaving and folk were having to queue for up to and over an hour so they were busy as they will ever be and most folk seemed to be enjoying themselves so what the heck. The staff were friendly and efficient and the place had a welcoming buzz but sadly if it's delicious food with Thai heritage you are after then try somewhere else because the Begging Bowl is definitely not it.
Food was good but over priced. Service was utterly crap. Rude and arrogant attitude for their own mistake. Never again. Its not worth it.
Unpleasant staff, disorganised service, both seating-wise and food delivery-wise. Dishes coming out when they are ready may be fine in concept, but in practice it's no use for my meal to come out and sit getting cold for 45 minutes before my friend's! Food is fine, certainly nothing special, and overpriced for the very small portions. Very disappointing I'm afraid.
good food, small portions and very overpriced. That is if you get a table. Staff have no idea how to seat a restaurant, are always empty tables yet not taking any walk-ins and there is an hour wait minimum ALWAYS.
I have been to many thai restuarnts in London and the Begging Bowl sits in a league of its own. Lacking in complexity of flavour? Couldn't be further from the truth, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu which changes every few months. Service is first class; freindly and efficient, and I am not very laid back at all! I have been several times now and each time has been fantastic. Highly recommend to anyone who has taste buds.
The location is excellent but sadly I think BB are rather resting on their laurels otherwise. Service is - being generous - average, with moments of cockiness thrown in. I was excited to try this place but once we had been sat we were promptly forgotten. There seemed to be plenty of staff but all doing the same thing and waiting every table. Perhaps distinct areas per staff member might make more sense. As it is, there is a chaotic feeling, like it all might just come crashing down. And it just might. We were told to order 3 dishes each as it was a tapas-style approach to a Thai menu. They arrived and were almost main-sized, so we could easily have had just 2 each, and the flavours across the menu didn't complement one another at all. The prices are steep for a neighbourhood restaurant but I would happily pay more for quality, consistency and good service. I read below that 'they need to get over themselves a bit'. Here here. I'll be waiting for the next inhabitant of the same location who gets it right.
We have been meaning to try this place for a few weeks, after one unsuccessful attempt at getting a table we finally got one, but were wedged unceremoniously next to the bar. The bench seating (wagamama inspired) is only good if there is room to do it. Anyway, the waitress was helpful and knowledgable but the food was just not what I was hoping for, the rabbit was stringy and bland (as can be the case with rabbit - I probably would have rather have a less adventurous chicken purely because it wouldn't be disappointing). The crispy rice was supposed to be dipped in a sauce but presumably it should come in clumps and not individual grains - it's hard and rather tiresome dipping single grains into sauce! there were some lovely dishes, the fish cakes and beef cheek were great but nothing better than i'd tried before in London and Thailand. I can see the aim and the thought which has gone into the place but I probably wouldn't return, it did not live up to the hype.
I felt like I was eating food from a top end restaurant, but it was relaxed and really friendly. Been back twice already. Make sure you start off with a cocktail we discovered those on our last visit. Lush love it.
I'm local to this restaurant and I feel very lucky to have this gem of a place on my doorstep - really interesting, delicious fresh Thai treats, great friendly service and good buzz. I've been 4 times since it's opened, and keep rounding up more friends to join me. I'm very surprised to read any negative comments, as all of my experiences have been excellent.
One of the best restaurants I have been to! The staff were extremely accommodating and always happy to help! The food was amazing and very reasonable in price. Would definitely go back!
being a local and living a 2-3 minute walk from this restaurant I decided to try this restaurant on my birthday,after all it was a Tuesday night so thought it would be perfect as fairly relaxed. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left it was one big disaster. We arrived at 7.30pm and were told it would be a 20-30 minute wait so the manager suggested we went to the pub opposite and they would call when our table was ready.No problem and the idea of a gin and tonic before dinner really appealed.. After an hour and a half there was still no call so we went back to wait.We were finally seated at 9.15pm It then took a further 15 minutes to obtain a menu or even see site of a waitress.We eventually asked to borrow a Menu from another table. Once we finally waved and caught the attention of someone we ordered wine,starters and mains.they all arrived at various times which is the idea....however when the main courses arrived we didn't think it would be half an hour before the other main course arrived.in the meantime my friend had finished her meal by the time mine arrived and it was freezing cold.The meals also arrived without the rice and vegetables and these took another 10 minutes.We were also sat there we no cutlery when the food came and again no sight of the waitress and again we waved and then had to get up attract attention. In the end we asked for the bill and left.I cannot think of anything positive to say about my experience here which is a real shame as its local to me.
We wanted to try this restaurant on a beautiful sunny Saturday for an early dinner with our young children. Arriving at 5:30 (despite looking completely set up with doors open) we were turned away in a rude and arrogant manner (kitchen not open til six) and I practically had to "beg" to see a menu. We went to the pub across the street to spend our money and watched five other families similarly turned away--even at five minutes before six! To survive in peckham they are going to have to get over themselves a bit, even if they have good food--and get a little more friendly.
Some amazing dishes - the stars were crispy rice cakes and the fish cakes. The rest were a bit average. The pork shoulder had a lot of big lumps of fat in it and the dessert (the only one on the menu) was just more sticky rice, not quite ripe mango and a very dubious white salty sauce. But the service was the part that really disappointed me. I am a laidback person, but left feeling really irritated by our waiter who was overfamiliar, insistent and kept interrupting us. He then became rude, taking away napkins before we'd finished. Such a shame as it really spoilt the experience for me and I'm not sure I'll be back.
Great food, can be chaotic but that's due to being soooo busy. Happy for you to grab a drink in a local pub and phone you once your table is ready.... Great service too
I had lunch at BB yesterday, having had dinner there on it's opening week. The food is very flavorful and rich, and beautifully presented. I especially liked a salmon salad thing.. and a curry duck dish- the flavors as I say are rich and complex- in short, its very very tasty. staff are friendly. A great addition to Bellenden Road!
Don't just rate this restaurant in relation to it's surroundings, it really stands shoulder to shoulder with every Thai restaurant i've ever been to in London. If you live locally there is no excuse not to go. If you don't live locally then grab your Oyster card and get down to Peckham. A rare treat. Enjoy.