Paladar – a short bus ride away

Sorry, don’t yet have an outside picture

Address: 4-5 London Rd, London, SE1 6JZ

Website: Paladar Latin American Restaurant in the heart of London SE1 (

Phone: 020 7186 5555

Opening Times:

Monday: 5.00pm – 9.00pm
Tuesday – Friday: 12 noon – 2.45pm, 5.00pm – 9.45pm
Saturday: 12.30pm – 10.00pm
Sunday: 12.30pm – 8.00pm

We were alerted to this restaurant by a colleague who lives around the corner. It is very popular so we ended up going at 6.30 on a Friday evening. Remember to book in advance. It is a South American restaurant with dishes and influences from Central America too. They serve lots of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, innovative cocktails and wine and spirits all from Latin America. The head chef is from Colombia, the sommelier from Ecuador and the front of house is from Cuba so definitely the real deal.

Inside (and outside) there are several places to sit. Having a broken ankle means the high bar in front of the kitchen was out of scope so they moved us to the tables and chairs section. It is now a bit on the chilly side so we would have objected to the al fresco dining area. I am sure it is fine in summer but even with heaters we noticed people keeping their coats on. Decor is  (as is everything) inspired by Latin America – colourful walls, paintings – some for sale.

The menu is really interesting so be hungry – the menu has a few option with nibbles (quite substantial as you will see), then mains from land (palm heart ceviche, roast aubergine), sea (sea bass, seared prawns) and farm (pork belly, ox tongue,  lamb and pulled pork). They all sound relatively dull except for the palm heart ceviche but take it from us that it is far from it. 

We ordered the green plantain crisps and taquero guacamole for a shared first course. The plaintain crisps are cut lengthwise to provide what looks like a plant. The guacomole was slightly spicy so didn’t hide the flavour of the avocado and we headed into it quickly but the bowl was completely full when it arrived – hence the photo. We would order this vegan dish again.

For mains we ordered the roast aubergine which comes with fried beans with salsa negra and Maya hummus – also vegetarian – with a side of Chimichurri skin-on potato fries which we dipped in a sauce that came with one of our dishes. This does need a knife and fork but the nuts provided some texture and the salsa was spicy again not as spicy as we would have expected although it does creep up on you.

The second dish was pan-roasted fillet of seabass, mole poblano, grilled asparagus, and purple cauliflower – as you can see a colourful dish. The fish was fantastic – really crispy skin but the vegetables needed to be a bit softer especially the cauliflower. Again the sauce was lovely and very differently spiced to the one with the aubergine.

Finally we did have some room for a pudding and ordered Purple corn churros, that comes with two sauces chocolate & ancho chilli sauce and coffee dulce de leche. The ancho added flavour not heat and the coffee was strong enough to feel like a sweet and creamy espresso.

It was Friday so we ordered drinks but one of us was driving so we ordered a Virgin Piscini and a Nubes Torrontes which defintiely had alcohol in it. We liked both of them but didn’t head into the wine list.

The bill came to a hefty £92.35 – £16.00 was the drinks. But it was a really enjoyable meal and we will return and potentially sit on the high stools so we can peer into the kitchen – it may also be a quieter place to sit if you are with a party.


65 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London SE22 8EP

Monday 18:00 – 22:00
Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 – 22:00
Sunday 12:00 – 21:00

Phone: 020 8299 4989


This is a Georgian (that is Georgia as in the Caucasus) restaurant in East Dulwich and we liked the decor which was comfortable, light (no switching on your torch to read the menu although the font is relatively small) and the interior is a little more formal than our usual haunts. Linen napkins are such a luxury. The place is buzzing on a Friday night and we were lucky to get a space – other walk-ins were not so lucky so do book. The staff were welcoming and we were well looked after.

The menu is divided into starters, bakery, mains, sides and desserts. Go hungry.

We first chose from the starters and the bakery – Badrijani (Aubergine Walnut Rolls) which were soft and enticing with some delicious spicing and a sweet treat of pomegranate (feel like I am eating it all over again). Then there was Chakhokhbili, a traditional Tbilisian dish made from chicken simmered in a tomato sauce. Then we also chose Imeruli Khachapuri (Western Georgian dish of soft dough with a mixed cheese filling). The menu did say it was for sharing, but it needs more than a couple of people, so we took some home. It was as delicious when reheated as it was on the day. So take it from us one and a half starters would have been enough or just the bread.

For mains there are lots of different meat options – pork, chicken, poussin, beef, lamb but don’t fret there are also interesting vegetarian and vegan options which are a variant of the Georgian specialties. Our choices are illustrated in the pictures below, going clockwise from the top.

First, there is Rachuli Lobio, which translates as slow-cooked pinto beans with gammon pieces cooked with onions, garlic, fresh herbs and Georgian spices. It’s served with fermented vegetables. Then there’s Kaurma, a mushroom dish, seasoned with Georgian spices, that originates from the southeastern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti where it is made with liver. However, Kartuli created a vegan version made with four different types of mushroom. Lastly, there’s Ajapsandali, with aubergines, green beans, red and yellow peppers, fresh herbs, tomatoes, onions and garlic, seasoned with Georgian spices.

Finally, although being full plus a bag of takeaways, we decided to share a dessert. We chose the Honey cake which was a large slab (no other word for it) of a many layered honey cake filled with caramel cream and drizzled with dark chocolate. It definitely needed not two but four people to eat their way through this immense pudding and perhaps because of its triple sweetness it should be eaten with tea or coffee.

We also ordered an aperitif – Coffee Vodka and Lime Soda – and had glasses of Georgian red wine and sparkling water with the main course.

Our overall view was a good night out with a menu of very interesting dishes – so many that we will need to return especially to try the enormous dumplings – probably for five people! We also want to try one of their cocktails like the Tarragon Vodka. We ordered a lot of food and did take some back home but visit as a crowd or take a teenager or three to hoover up the remains. The bill came to a large sum (£103 including £20.30 for drinks) as each item was expensive. That should have been a clue to the size and calorific value of each dish, but on the other hand we got two meals out of it.

A short bus ride away – Zumbura

Address: 36a Old Town, Clapham, London SW4 0LB


Phone: 0207 720 7902

Opening times:
Sunday to Wednesday  –  6:00-10:00pm
Thursday to Saturday  – 6:00-10:30pm

This is a highly recommended, well staffed Indian restaurant in Clapham which is an offshoot of Mum’s Kitchen. It is a small restaurant that is popular with bar and table service – book at busy times. Tables are small and for two or four, with a couple that can accommodate a larger group.

They claim to offer “light, fresh and healthy meals”, with no butter or cream, so there are several dishes described as vegan. The menu is split into small plates (pakora, chaat, samosa and masala calamari), braised and stewed dishes (curry, dopiaza, masala, muttar – all with meat or fish), grills, vegetables (bindi, daal, aubergine etc cooked in interesting ways) and bread and rice.

Brightly coloured and delightful pickles and mild tomato dip arrive on the table with some assorted poppadoms to start us off while considering the menu.zumbura06We chose Railway Lamb curry, which had lamb that was really well cooked and layers of flavour in the sauce. Ghuggni chickpeas (black chickpeas braised in onion and mango powder), which was not as spiced or flavoursome as we hoped, compared to the khatte baigan-aubergine (baby aubergines spiced with tamarind and cumin), which was a definite hit. Both these small plates were vegan dishes. Then we ordered the chicken biryani (braised basmati rice cooked with chicken morsels in aromatic spices and rose water). This was a disappointment – the chicken was dry and the rose flavour a bit overpowering. To finish off the main dishes we had a chapatti which lived up to its description of wholemeal unleavened bread by being pretty heavy.

To finish we ordered a p[istachio kulfi which comes on a stick and a gajjar ka halwa. The kulfi was great, the warm halwa an interesting very sweet dish that tasted of very little.

So the whole meal was a good experience. A short menu, interesting sounding sets of ingredients, but it fell a little below our expectations. We will certainly return, but we will try a few other places before returning. The bill was £59.06 including service with one strawberry cocktail and an alcoholic lime soda (at £7.00).

24 The Oval – a short bus ride away

Address: 24 Clapham Road, London SW9 0JG

Phone: 020 7735 6111


Opening times (for food):
Wednesday – Thursday: 18:00 – 22:00
Friday – Saturday: 12:00 – 15:00 & 18:00 – 22:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 16:30

The restaurant is set back from the road and has an outside veranda for those who need more sun. Inside is modern and spare in furniture. This was a work dinner on a weekday, so we arrived at 6.00 pm and even with the warm weather the restaurant was pretty empty except for the determined cocktail drinkers. We got rid of most of the business part of the meal first – oiling the wheels with an Aperol Spritz and a Campari Spritz (or two).

There are three menus – one a la carte and two tasting menus (vegan and non-vegan). We went for a la carte. First up came sourdough with smoked butter. The butter had half melted and I am not sure I could taste any smoke but the bread was pretty good. Next came the homemade charcuterie which was all tasty and we really loved the ham. We continued on the meat theme with beef crockets – again delicious.

The smoked eel with the turnip cannelloni and apple made a good interlude as did the jersey royals with crispy skins cultured cream and lemon which looked lovely but wasn’t a highlight.

This built to the main event – a really delicious dish called “Daphne’s Welsh lamb” which was to share. It consisted of roast loin, Lancashire hot pot, slow cooked belly, BBQ offal served with smoked aubergine, fennel and preserved lemon. Unfortunately our photograph was a bit shaky (no comments please) but it was a large portion for two and every bit was delicious.

We washed it all down with a bottle of rosé and the final bill came to £150 including the tip. Shame we couldn’t charge it to the firm. It was expensive but a lot was due to the alcohol and over-ordering and you could certainly do it for less and it would still be delightful.

A short bus ride away – Kudu

address: 119 Queens Road, Peckham, London ​SE15 2EZ
Tel: 020 3950 0226

Peckham seems to be blooming at the moment, with new restaurants that spring up in unprepossessing line of shops. Kudu is no exception, amid cheap grocery stores and worldwide pay stores sits this little gem. South African inspired food but no South African inspired decor. Rather they have gone for small tables, stools at the bar and lots of wood. It’s open for lunch, brunch and dinner except for Mondays and Tuesdays. For our Wednesday business dinner we booked (OpenTable), and went straight from work. Later it gets very busy so booking is essential.

The main theme is barbecue and there is lots of flame from the open kitchen often looking like a game of chicken by the chefs – highest flame without singeing your eyebrows. The menu consists of snacks, small plates and medium plates and dessert (we never made it that far).

From the snack menu we chose Kudu bread with seafood butter (lots of tasty shrimps swimming in salty butter). The bread is light, slightly sweet and more like brioche. Fried artichokes with miso mayonnaise, which were not a favourite. As the artichokes cool down they become more difficult to eat as their crispiness disappears – be warned eat it all in one go.


From the small plates we ordered onion and beer tarte tatin with goat’s curd, Pigs head tortellini, mushroom & hay broth, crispy onions and the Mussel potjie pot with seaweed gnocchi. A potjie means “small pot food” usually cooked outside on a braai (barbecue of some sort) and in our case was a small cast iron pot – it was definitely our favourite and I was glad we had saved some bread. But the tart also got a thumbs up, really sweet from the caramelised onions set off by the curd … oh no … I sound like Greg Wallace. The tortellini were tasty and the broth delicious – unfortunately I had run out of bread by this time.kudo06kudo05kudo04

Finally we ordered the Braai lamb neck, smoked yogurt, lettuce, sprouting broccoli from the medium plates menu. It was also lovely but I am channelling my inner Jay Rayner and will just say the plate was bare at the end of the meal.

There were six plates in all and they came at just the right speed, so we didn’t feel rushed and could draw breath and extra wine in between. The bill was £136.58 including two bottles of wine and service. It might seem a lot but the quality of the food was great and you could make it cheaper by drinking water! Wine, however, allowed a full and frank discussion of work issues.

A short bus ride away – Peckham Refreshment Rooms

address: 12–16 Blenheim Grove, London, SE15 4QL

Telephone: 020 8022 2852

Booking via OpenTable

We had been thinking of going to this restaurant for some time, as it has been highly rated by friends. They are open all day for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, so we dragged ourselves out of our comfort zone and visited with friends on a Saturday evening. They only do a couple of sittings, so we agreed on a 9.00 pm booking. We were on time but the table wasn’t clear, so we had free, and creative cocktails from the bar. Mine was a sort of Kir Royale but with Cherry liqueur but the others were also colourful and refreshing, even the non-alcoholic salted grapefruit.I have been a bit tardy about writing this up and we have lost the bill, so I’m sorry to say that some details are sketchy. There is a short menu and you cannot always depend on what it says, as they run out and substitute ingredients too. With no photos to jog my memory I can’t remember what we had as first courses. But I do recall that we were delighted and all plates were empty.

For the main course we had sea bass, with samphire and clams, which was made even more delicious with roasted lemon (I am a great fan). We also ordered aubergine parmigiana, which was not a great success, as it was more like ratatouille – perfectly tasty but not what was expected.
Finally, there was a bavette steak with hassleback potatoes. The steak was pink but the potatoes weren’t finely cut enough and so were not as crisp as we hoped for. We ordered a side of broccoli with garlic and chilli oil  (substitute for the Kale, which I would never have ordered).

Finally we ordered one, and only one, orange marmalade posset which was smooth and just the right balance of sweet and bitterness of Seville oranges.

We washed it all down with wine – a lot of it and all white.

The bill was large but not as large when you remove the wine. The mains are under £20, starters £6 or 7 and desserts about a fiver. The staff were very helpful and we encourage you to turn up early and have a cocktail.

Milkwood – A Bus Ride/Stroll Away

214-216 Railton Rd, Herne Hill, London SE24 0JT


With a much quieter pace of life than central Brixton, Herne Hill is slowly becoming a new hangout for us – whether it’s the pubs (Prince Regent, The Florence, The Half Moon), coffee hangouts (The Parlour), or even the farmers market on a Sunday. So be warned that you may be seeing more Herne Hill spots pop up on the blog.


This is a brunch review so will be short and snappy. It was last Sunday, with the weather being in between glorious sunshine and torrential downpours so we took shelter in Milkwood, after a quick stroll around Brockwell Park. Originally going for ‘just a coffee’ we ended up with the full brunch works (with booooze!).

Continue reading

Parco Caffe, Vauxhall Park


Vauxhall Park, Fentiman Road,  London, SW8

Another weekend, another walk and yet another award winning park from Lambeth – with tennis courts, basketball court, model village, lavender garden, one o’clock club – and an Italian cafe that is open 7 days a week to six o’clock, except when the Park closes earlier in winter. Continue reading

A short bus ride away – The Rosendale

rosendale0165 Rosendale Road, West Dulwich, London SE21 8EZ

Tel: 020 8761 9008

We set off for our usual Christmas walk with friends and family on a fresh but beautiful sunny day. Our Christmas walks have not always such an enjoyable day out as this one, taking us through Brockwell Park and on to Dulwich before heading for West Norwood. But it is easy to catch a bus too. Continue reading

A short bus ride away – Trinity Restaurant

address: 4 The Polygon Clapham, London SW4 0JG

telephone: 020 7622 1199

I booked this restaurant for a Sunday evening as a treat with my daughter. I hadn’t realised it had one Michelin star and so definitely up-market for the area. But we didn’t feel under dressed, which may be a plus or a negative. I like to go to posh restaurants in posh clothes, as there is not much opportunity for dressing up these days, but most other diners here were in relaxed garb like they did this every day. Upstairs it is more casual dining but it is closed on Sunday, so we ate downstairs with its cool walls and big windows.  It doesn’t feel overlooked though as it is tucked away in the back of the Polygon near Clapham Common. The bucket seats are comfy and unlike many other restaurants, it is possible to have a quiet conversation. Continue reading