So what if its name sounds a bit rude? This is the posh bit of Peckham, so the less said about that the better. Away from the edgy art car parks, chicken shops and all-night pool halls, Bellenden Road has become the jewel in the weave of now-trendy Peckham. It should be called Peckham Village, really, for its fancy dining spots, boutiques selling gifts and homewares, and indie grocery shops. Even its convenience store and offie now has a fancy awning that proudly reads ‘Village Grocer’.
Community is king here: taped up on windows along the residential end of the road are home-printed post-Brexit signs reading ‘Bellenden Road is a racism-free zone’ and ‘Bellenden Road is proud to be diverse’. If Rye Lane is for art students fuelled by handbag-stashed Red Stripe, then Bellenden Road is for their older siblings who just want a decent flat white with their Sunday papers.
But don’t think that means it’s not as creative as the rest of Peckers: the ‘We Love Peckham’ mosaic murals were created by artist Tom Phillips, as were the lampposts. Antony Gormley had a studio here in the 2000s, and he designed the cast-iron bollards still standing along the road, which caused quite the stir when people said they looked like something rude. Really? What a bunch of juvenile bell…
Local ales at the intricately carved dark-wood bar at the Victoria Inn. The polished-up nineteenth-century boozer has armchairs, shelves filled with books and there are tables out front for sunny days.
Craft beer at the nearby Peckham Pelican. Look out for their spoken-word and literary events, food pop-ups and experimental music events with Listening Club.
An epic masala dosa or a sea bass curry at Ganapati South Indian Kitchen. Decorated with saturated hues and serving homestyle cooking and street-food-inspired dishes, it has a cult following for good reason.
Anything from the breakfast menu – on thick toasted slices of south London favourite Brick House bread – in the leafy courtyard at the back of Anderson & Co.
Spicy Thai sharing plates at the Begging Bowl, with ‘limitless’ rice and a bowl of banana fritters and turmeric custard to round it off. Slightly pricy, but delicious.
Fuel those brain cells at Arcadia Missa, an events space launched in response to austerity. Its salons have tackled topics from how art relates to politics to ‘a lesson in anti-apathy’.
Watch an indie flick in the cosy Back Room Cinema, which returns to The Montpelier (just off Bellenden Road) in September.
Learn how to pair chocolate with different types of wine – through practice! – at a workshop in the Melange chocolate shop.
Have your thoughts provoked at a book reading, performance or discussion at Peckham Literary Festival, hosted by the Review Bookshop every November.
Fancy groceries (including old-school tins and unpacked veg) from General Store.
JH Beulah Eco Couture clothes at Threads, which also has a haberdashery in the back.
A slab of quality Home Counties meat (and a bottle of Spanish rioja to wash it down) at Flock and Herd. The knowledgeable butchers use the entire animal, so you’ll find all sorts of cuts and creations here.
If you only do one thing…
Pick up hard-to-find ingredients for Persian cooking – like sour orange peel, dried barberries and fennel water – or tuck into sticky-sweet Middle Eastern pastries and meze at Persepolis. It’s an actual Aladdin’s cave.
By Clare Vooght, who just doesn’t think bells are funny. End of.
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