In our new series, we ask cool Londoners to tell us what’s good in their neighbourhood. This week: Davidson Otobo, who runs Lewisham business Ordrs, which helps connect people with their local indie grocery stores. He picks out must-visit spots in Lewisham, Brockley and Forest Hill.
‘I stumbled across this shop while exploring Forest Hill. There are quite a few unique stores around there. It’s run by a woman called Ma, who moved here from Spain, and it specialises in products made of olives. It does really nice olive cakes, chocolates made with olive oil, olive oils infused with unique flavours. Ma is really helpful – she gave me a really good paella recipe, actually.’
‘I’ve been visiting the Horniman since I was a kid. I remember going there on school trips when I was at primary school. I think I took it for granted before we went into lockdown, but it being closed has made me realise how unique it is for there to be a museum that’s not central. And the outside space is amazing – there’s always an ice cream van there in the summer.’
‘I like jogging there early in the morning. It’s very spacious and is connected to the Thames. You can head on a path around the whole park or to the running track. In the afternoon it’s great for families, there’s always kids playing football or on the skate park and there’s a little café towards the entrance where you can get drinks and snacks.’
4. The Orchard
‘It’s the quality of food at this Brockley café that makes it stand out. Simple things like omelettes and scrambled eggs are cooked in a way that makes them extra special. It’s got a homely atmosphere with comfy sofas and friendly owners. I like to come here for brunch.’
‘This is a really, really vibrant local market that supports the community. Stalls stock everything from fresh produce to locally sourced honey to soaps. There’s always sellers shouting to each other and a very bustling atmosphere.’
‘A vegan and multicultural hidden gem where you can get everything from cream for backaches to niche products like sugar cane and jelly coconut – which is really refreshing in the hot weather. Kwame, who runs the shop, is super friendly, knowledgeable and really passionate about boosting health in the community. Whenever I go there’s always loads of people socialising there.’
‘This bowling alley has been in Lewisham since before I moved here as a child. It’s probably the number one birthday-party spot in Lewisham – ha! There’s a little arcade and you can get decent fast-food options there, but what I care about is the bowling: and that’s pretty affordable here compared to other places.’
‘This was my hangout area when I was younger. I remember visiting to do a lesson with an artist on how to draw manga characters. I did a course on cash management there recently too, and they run book clubs as well. It was about to be shut down by the government a few years ago so the community took it over. I’m so glad that happened because it would be a huge shame if we lost it – it’s such a beautiful building.’
Crofton Park Community Library is currently closed but you can support it at localgiving.org.
Ordrs is an online shopping service that connects people with the unique grocery stores in their area.