NOTE: Since this review was written, Peckham Bazaar has reopened as a permanent restaurant. The Time Out Food and Drink Editors
You couldn’t make it up: a ‘pan-Balkan’ part-time pop-up in Peckham – set in the elegant, Victorian bones of an old deli – has become a must-go place to eat. The owner, John Gionleka, has cleared out the deli counters to serve delicious dishes inspired by his native Albania, its Balkan neighbours and influences from further afield.
Beneath a kitsch brass-framed photo of a 1970s Iranian pop star, we devoured juicy grilled sweetcorn cobs slathered with smoked chilli and lemon salt butter, and the house special: ‘cured’ egg (soft-boiled, lightly pickled) served with lemon mayonnaise and crudités.
To follow, spatchcocked quail had been marinated in date molasses and yoghurt, infusing both the tender flesh and the delicious blackened and fragrant skin; it arrived with baked beetroot and braised silverskin onions. A simple, grilled pork chop was just as good.
There are also the obvious charms of marinated leg of lamb, roasted on the drum barbecue and served with grilled peppers and aged goat’s cheese. We shared still-warm cardamom and almond cake, accompanied by thick yoghurt and a pool of sticky grapes preserved in red wine syrup with mahleb (an aromatic spice).
Two Greek wines from boutique producers, recommended by the charming sommelier, worked beautifully with the food. The rapturous local reception to this unusual venue means that regular weeknight opening is planned by late autumn 2013.