Behind us is Nunhead, across the Rye on the west side is East Dulwich and up the road is Rye Lane, leading to Peckham High Street. I am going to make sweeping generalisations about these areas that may upset some people (if anyone is actually reading this!!) but they are my personal observations after living here for three years.
East Dulwich is definitely the poshest of the three areas, a typification of yummy mummy-ism. Stroll down Lordship Lane on a Saturday and you will be dodging three-wheeler jog-buggies and careering toddlers. There are lovely shops on Lordship Lane – East Dulwich Deli which has great bread, Roses the butchers, Moxons the fishmongers, Green and Blue wine merchants and Franklins grocers. There are also more Indian restaurants than you can count, a Thai, Chinese, Turkish, Mexican, a very idiosyncratic French restaurant and gastro pubs – anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I am particularly fond of Franklins, in the same family as the grocers and serving great seasonal food all day. Northcross Road Market also offers some of the best hot dogs in London on a Saturday, courtesy of The Dogfather.
Nunhead feels completely different, almost like a town street from the 1960’s – but in a good way. Two great butchers, Ayres the Bakers, Sopers Fishmongers and a lovely greengrocer means you can pick up most of what you need…and coming soon is Bambuni, a coffee shop and deli which will fill a big hole in the whole area I think.
And last but not least, the direction I often end up heading in (and not just because there is a big Morrisons at the end if it) is Rye Lane. Rye Lane is an incredible experience for anyone used to shopping in the ordinary High Street. My dad, now 85, was in the Merchant Navy in the 1940s and 1950s and spent a lot of time shipping to and picking up from West Africa. The first time I took him down Rye Lane he said ‘I could be in Lagos’…and that’s how it feels. Most of the shop have open fronts with stalls, selling every variety of fish, meat and vegetable you can think of. It’s not all African – Indians and Arabs look after the fish and meat, whilst Africans will sell you any kind of palm oil you can imagine. A Chinese supermarket selling the biggest prawns, razor clams and crabs you’ve ever seen completes the picture. And there has to be a special mention for Persepolis, a Persian oasis on Peckham High Street, where Sally will sell you everything to make the most amazing Persian meals…including a cookbook!!
And shopping in Rye Lane makes it so easy for me to make the sort of food I love – handfuls of coriander, mint and dill for 70p a bunch; three bunches of spinach for a pound; two aubergines for a pound; four packs of pitta for a pound …a bit of a theme emerging there. And all the lamb and goat I have bought from the butchers is excellent, and you always get service with a smile. For me, walking down Rye Lane is life affirming… I love the way people greet each other; the little kids that are so well behaved; the African ladies dressed in their batik cloth dresses and headwraps and men in slinky trouser/tunic combos. And teenage girls, full of attitude, talking about A levels and going to University.
So come on down and visit us…FoodStories, Hollowlegs , Tehbus and ginandcrumpets can give you the lowdown on our many restaurants….and Franks Campari Bar is open for the summer …. SE15 ROOLS…