Please note, Begging Bowl has been refurbished since this review was published. Time Out Food Editors, December 2018.
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.