This place has been on my radar for a while, known to serve great value Persian food, only one draw back it is in Peckham. Peckham is not really a destination location in London, but finally I have a friend willing to join me on the journey South East. I cycle down the Camberwell Road from Oval and I am so surprised by all the beautiful independents each side of the road; restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries. I’m not sure what I was expecting, I know Peckham is ‘up and coming’ but I am definitely looking forward to having a Sunday afternoon stroll around to explore the area further.
Persepolis, a Persian shop and cafe owned by Sally Butcher and her Iranian husband. You enter into the neatly displayed shop, most items with Persepolis packaging and shimmy down an aisle into the cafe looking slightly more rickety, although the overall charm far exceeds that. As we sit down tea seems the most appropriate drink, fresh ingredients all still floating in the glass mugs. Also there is an unusual selection of juices, such as sour cherry. They have no alcohol licence but the place is too kitch for alcohol it would be like getting drunk at your in-laws house.
We start to look at the menu, I get a little flutter when I have heard of the ingredients but have never eaten them all together or cooked in that way.
We start with the meze above, everything is just a little bit different from the standard middle eastern meze, black olive hummus, red pepper dip, beetroot dip, giant couscous salad, falafel, olives, lightly pickled vegetables and some pitta.
The menu is really affordable so we have three mains, it just makes sense. The dishes are brought out one at a time as we are sharing everything, which was lovely, and less embarrassing than having our table groaning with food getting cold.
First up, perfectly soft poached eggs baked in smokey lightly spiced aubergines, served with another type of unleaven bread. Having only had eggs baked in a tomato sauce, this is a delicious new version which I will certainly be trying at home.
Next, from Sally’s recommendation we have, ‘halloumi with barberries’ with little explanation. We were just looking forward to some grilled halloumi; but we get warm salty cheese, the sour tang of barberries, a sweet syrupy fruit glaze and the nutty crunch of some pumpkin seeds. So so good. I could have just eaten this all night and I would have been a happy girl.
Last up is the daily changing hot pot, a homely dish consisting of a vegetable stew, today we had asparagus and broad beans, rice, yogurt and salad. The most simply flavoured dish of the evening, not as notable as the rest we tried.
Finally, as if we had not eaten enough we share a dessert, the hot baklava melt down. Warm baklava topped with Turkish yogurt, ice cream and pistachios. The very sweet baklava with unsweetened yogurt balanced it so well, and then you have ice cream melting all over it, we finished it in a flash. I could have eaten it all to myself.
One more quick tea and then we had a very civilized evening shop to pick up some of the more interesting ingredients we just tried. It is a fantastic local restaurant I wish I lived closer, it has so much character, charm, you want it to be good, and it totally delivers. Well worth a trip to Peckham.