Unless you live down towards Deptford, the appendix-like stretch of the East London Line that carries on to New Cross can simply seem like a massive inconvenience to anybody waiting for a train that goes beyond Surrey Keys. But plenty of people do live there, so exist it does, and a good thing too as there are plenty of fine feeds to be had in that particular corner of SE London.
Here’s my favourites…
I’d seen this bright-fronted sandwich shop amongst the various food outlets lurking along Deptford Broadway plenty of times, but didn’t bother taking any notice until Lizzie (she with the Hollow Legs) posted about it a short while ago, but I’m glad I finally did! Having jacked in a job in The City, the brains behind Panda Panda set up shop in Deptford to serve quick, healthy salads, baguettes and snacks inspired by the streetfood of Saigon and Hong Kong.
London’s snack du jour, Banh Mi, in all its triple-pork glory (pate, rolled pork and vietnamese ham – pictured) takes pride of place on their menu alongside equally delicious char sui pork, satay chicken, vegetable, ham, and chicken and pork combo versions. Stuffed with hot, fresh chilli, fragrant herbs and sweet slivers of pickled carrot they’re a flavour-packed, delicious lunch, and priced between £2.95 and £3.65 are a steal too.
Elsewhere on the menu light but tightly packed summer rolls, spicy curry fish balls and punchy Vietnamese salads are an equal treat at this gem of a cafe. On a Saturday and Sunday they’re open until 11pm, providing the perfect opportunity for a post-pub feast.
Jam Circus has long been a favourite Brockley pub of mine, so when its manager Richard left to run The Royal Albert, I knew he’d do good things with it. Without wanting to put off the devoted locals by turning the place into an all-singing, all-dancing ‘Gastro-Pub’, he was determined to offer an ever-changing, seasonal menu, sourced from local suppliers and cooked fresh to order.
With lighter dishes such as ratatouille-like roasted aubergine and tomato bake with a hunk of crusty bread, a slice of sweet potato pie or a simple home-made hummus and pitta priced between £3 and £5, right up to substantial salads (grilled halloumi, green bean and cous cous at £7.50 is a favourite), meat and fish dishes pushing towards the £10 mark, there’s plenty on offer whether you’re after an informal, but high-quality dinner or just a hearty snack to mop up a few pints.
I have been especially impressed with their fish dishes, including a perfectly pan-fried bit of lemon sole with jersey royals last week and some delicious grilled mackerel fillets a while ago, all sourced from the brilliantly named Codfather in nearby Deptford Market. All their meat comes from WH Wellbeloved too, which has them onto a winner from the start!
Speaking of which, WH Wellbeloved is a family-run butchers that has graced the streets of Deptford for over 100 years, and I have been singing its praises since I first visited. Their meat is responsibly sourced, great quality and a really good price – the steak pictured above came in at around £8 and fed three. Best of all, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable and more than happy to suggest ways to cook the various cuts they sell. I am yet to try their infamous pies, but I don’t doubt their amazing.
When I first moved to SE London, never did I think I’d discover a little deli, selling an impressive selection of cheeses and meats, fresh-baked bread and proper coffee tucked away opposite Deptford High Street so I was pleased to come across The Deptford Deli earlier this year. There’s only a few tables, but if you can’t find space to sit in and enjoy their brilliant cheese and meat platter, it’s reasonably priced enough that you can just grab a few cheeses and make your own selection at home.
The Deptford Project cafe is a venture by a collective of ex Goldsmith Students working on various creative projects around Deptford, serving great coffee, breakfast, lunch and snacks just off Deptford High Street. Best of all, its in a converted South Eastern train carriage (some great photos documenting its transformation on their blog), with a large outside area for when the sun’s out.
As well as delicious homemade cakes, food includes an impressive array of meat and vegetarian quiches, bruschettas piled high with roasted vegetables, goat’s cheese and salami all served with fresh salads, cous cous and the like. Lunch doesn’t generally cost more than a fiver, making it a fun, pleasant, but also cheap place to while away a weekend lunchtime.
The Deptford Deli image via The Deptford Dame