Ganapati South Indian Kitchen – Peckham

Thanks to Iron Maiden, playing at The Ruskin Arms in Manor Park is a rite of passage every metal band worth their leather trousers must undertake, and it’s lucky that my brother adhered to the tradition, leading me and my Dad to kill some time during  sound check at the nearby Chennai Dosa. Unassuming as the place might seem, the wonderful flavours in their thali dishes began my love affair with the fiery and fragrant cuisine of South India.

Family metal outings aside, there’s little to take me that eastern edge of London too often, so I was very excited when I spotted Ganapati South Indian Kitchen right here in SE London, when en route to The Victoria earlier this summer. Patronising as it was, The Guardian’s recent review of the place confirmed word-of-mouth reports of their greatness and made me want to eat there ten times more, and my visit there last night was every bit as amazing as I had hoped.

To start we went for vegetarian street snacks, consisting of Mysore Bonda – a spicy cashew and potato ball in a chick pea batter and Parippu Vadai – a fried pattie of ground lentils spiced with green chilli and curry leaves. The miniature snacks were delicious morsels of spice, without being overpowering. I could have eaten about ten of each.

With such an amazing selection of starters on offer, it would have been rude to share just one, so we also went for crab thoran, a cold salad-like dish of Devon crab, coconut, curry leaves and chilli. The strong crabmeat was a perfect match for the powerful spices and sweet coconut, making for a light but highly flavoursome and downright delicious dish.

My love for beetroot is no secret, and when I saw them in the form of a pachadi curry dish on Ganapati’s menu, I had to have it. The sweetness of beetroot and coconut mixed up with sour yoghurt and mustard in this vibrant magenta dish was something else. Just posting the image is making me reconsider all my plans this week in favour of returning for more! The selection of chutneys, pickles and pappadoms it was served with were also something else.

The Kuttanadu Duck Curry we also had was a close match for the amazingness of the beetroot. Slow cooked duck leg slithered effortlessly off the bone into sauce that tasted of the heady, fragrant spice of chai tea. God it was good. Served with plain dosa, which were like giant, airy scotch pancakes to mop up the chilli, garlic, ginger and garam masala gravy, it really was a treat of a dish.

Side dishes were as impressive of the curries they accompanied. Indulgent coconut rice was light, fluffy, and flecked with even more fragrant spices.

Flaky Kerala Paratha was light and crumbly and proved the perfect receptacle for the spectacular beetroot.

Overall, an amazing meal and at around £70 for two, with three courses, wine, coffee and service, not bad value either. I want to return already, less than 24hours later, and I urge to do the same, starving and prepared for the fact that you may not want to eat anywhere else for a while.

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5 Responses to “Ganapati South Indian Kitchen – Peckham”

  1. Helen Says:

    Love love love this place. It’s their liberal use of curry leaves too which I adore. I always have the vegetarian street snacks as you probably worked out from my tweet and the crab thoran too. I have been disappointed with their main courses in the past but that beetroot dish sounds awesome.

  2. Kavey Says:

    I remember reading a blog post about this place last year, sounds amazing but too far from my neck of the woods – I haven’t made it there yet. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Isabelle Says:

    My sister has been wanting to go there for a while, I’m deffo going to treat to a slap up meal there.

  4. Lizzie Says:

    Cracking post. I’ve only ever had starters there, so clearly I need to return.

  5. crashwilliams Says:

    This is def a fave of ours, superb food – the duck is too die for!

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