Is Peckham's Restaurant In A Train Station Worth The Hype?
The bouquet of hot coals is once again wafting from Peckham Rye's Victorian train station — although this time, it comes embellished with topside of goat, crispy chicken skin and burnt leeks.
A buzz surrounds Coal Rooms — the carnivorous eatery that's opened in the mid-renovation Peckham Rye station — and on a bustling Thursday night we end up perched at a counter top overlooking the small open plan kitchen. It turns out these are prime seats, from where you can watch the chefs do remarkable things with equally prime cuts of meat, in a swirl of smoke and flame.
The chefs serve some of it up too; to begin, a marvellously caramelised (if salty) croque monsieur, and a hunk of roasted squash, stuffed with smoked ricotta. Such hearty, gutsy openers have nothing on the ballsy mains; the smoked lamb shoulder (like the love child of a lamb kebab and pulled pork) and tender goat steak are sided with a mountainous dish of roast potatoes, glued together with raclette cheese and onions.
It's all very good alright — but by now, you realise how very saucy, very rich this is (even the broccoli comes slathered in Gentleman's Relish and breadcrumbs).
As if that weren't enough, we're encouraged to lacquer our meats in one of the house sauces (they include jerk caramel, and apple and mead ketchup), which, rather cheekily call for a £1 add-on. Indeed, we're reminded of the great Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, when he dismisses an otherwise excellent chef's menu for being "a little too saucy".
As if to prove us right, dessert is dished up in the form of the 'millionaire shortbread' — a coffee cup swirling with molten chocolate sauce, brown butter caramel and milk ice cream. Again, unctuously delicious, and a masterstroke in its own right — but what your stomach really calls for after the first two courses is a sharp sorbet or an orange wedge.
Here is undoubtedly one of south London's best new meat meccas — just be ready to check your taste buds into sauce 'n' salt rehab afterwards.
Coal Rooms, Peckham Rye station, SE15 4QL
Last Updated 23 October 2017