Colourful, crowded and charmingly bonkers café-cum-deli proudly located in Peckham.
This little café inside Peckham’s Persian delicatessen, Persepolis, is a fun place serving fun food. Sally Butcher has made it her mission to bring the flavours of Middle Eastern and Levantine cooking to South East London with her shop, and with three cookery books: ‘Persia in Peckham’, ‘Veggiestan’ and more recently ‘Snackistan’.
The vibe is colourful, crowded and charmingly bonkers. A handful of chairs and tables have been shoehorned between shelves stuffed with shisha pipes, embossed glassware, musical instruments, spices and specialist foodstuffs. They provide the setting for a liberal vegetarian interpretation of Iranian and Levantine dishes, with Peckham influences: Moroccan harissa is used with fried plantains, for example. Meze and wraps form the bedrock, with seasonally inspired fillings such as quince, halloumi and caramelised celeriac. Drinks go from Afghan green tea to pomegranate juice via date and cardamom latte.
And it’s excellent value, with a large meze costing just £5. Share one of these followed by a saffron banana split or ‘Hot Paklava Meltdown’ (all £3.50), and you won’t be hungry even by teatime. And do save room for pudding. We thought that the best dish of all was the Turkish delight sundae, which had my 12-year-old daughter in raptures: chunks of Turkish delight and slivers of halva in clouds of whipped cream, vanilla and saffron ice cream, drizzled with rose cordial and rose petals. Sounds sickly, but tasted divine.