Restaurant reviews

The Rye in Peckham: a real gem in an up-and-coming London location

Over the last few years, Peckham has developed a reputation for being one of the most vibrant, trendiest places to live in London, and deservedly so. Stepping off the tube and onto the streets is like stepping into a world set apart from the shiny steel-dominated buildings of central London. Everywhere you look, there’s something going on; people watching could develop into a serious addiction on these streets.

It was somewhat of a surprise, then, to find a calm hidden gem of a pub right in the heart of Peckham that, despite its urban origins, had the feel of an old country pub, from the wooden benches and tables to the resident black and white cat curling up at our feet for a snooze!

We sat at a booth to enjoy a drink whilst our table for dinner was being prepared. Drinks are priced around the level you’d expect in London and the bar area was buzzy enough without being too noisy to speak.

The dining area is set towards the back of the pub and consists of a number of wooden tables and benches. It’s comfy, laidback, and the sort of place you could imagine spending a relaxed Sunday afternoon reading the paper and tucking into a roast dinner.

Feeling pretty hungry, we wasted no time ordering from a really lovely waitress. I opted for crispy chicken fillets, which came served with a moreish barbecue sauce. The starter was simply served on a wooden board, but My God the chicken was beautiful. The batter was light, crispy, crunchy and I could honestly have eaten a whole platter of them with their spicy barbecue sauce accompaniment. This was some of the best chicken I’ve eaten in a long time, proving that simple food done well sometimes can’t be beaten.

I spent quite some time thinking about what main to go for but eventually opted for the intriguing jerk chicken burger with avocado salsa and shoe string fries. The burger was really satisfying. It was spicy without being overwhelming, and the salsa made for a nice change to the usual burger toppings of ketchup and mustard. The fries, in comparison, couldn’t really compare with the flavour sensation of the burger, but I gobbled them down all the same!

Although I really enjoyed my main, unfortunately I suffered from some serious food envy, with two others going for a divine looking chicken and leek pie with buttered mash. It really did look good and I’d probably try that next time for a change.

I would really have loved to try the puddings, the sticky toffee pudding in particular catching my eye on the menu, but I simply didn’t have room for it. Maybe next time!

If you’re around south London and want to try somewhere new, try The Rye (although make sure you book if you’re going on a weekend).

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