[Crystal Palace, London]- a bank holiday w/end of eating locally.

I’m very lucky that there is quite a number of local independent restaurants at most 10 minutes walk from my flat. Hardly any chains apart from a Dominos and a couple of chicken shops ( but where in London can you avoid those?) So last bank holiday for one reason or another the missus & I found ourselves eating out locally more than normal in one go.

First Lunch was pizza @ Four Hundred Rabbits. I’m not normally one for pizza but their prices are keen and their sourdough bases crisp on the outside but still with a bit of chew. Their toppings are often far from the norm and they have an interesting beer list at reasonable prices. I didn’t have their very good gelato this time but with flavours like ricotta, fig and walnut I was tempted. There’s a lot to like, though service can be patchy.

Chorizo Pizza, for the missus, one of their more standard offerings but still good.

Minced lamb, cauliflower and pistachio dukkah pizza. On paper it could be a bit too much and muddled flavour wise but everything worked very well.

Next lunch was Vietnamese @ Urban Orient. I’ve never liked the name and at one point I stopped going. They began skimping on the fillings in their summer rolls. The final straw was having to send a dish back. I can count on one hand the times I’ve sent food back. They’d burnt my pork dish so badly that it was almost totally black and bits were crumbling. I gave it another chance and had a very nice bowl of bun thang, a noodle dish that originated in Hanoi which is hard to find in London.

This time I tried to be relatively healthy and opted for the grilled beef salad. The meat was cooked nicely, the peanuts added a nice crunch. The freshness of the papaya salad was a good contrast to the beef and the dipping sauce was better than some of the meek offerings I’ve had elsewhere.

The missus opted for the prawn version of this dish.

Our one dinner was at a newish Turkish place Dem. This place used to be a terrible Mexican restaurant which closed pretty soon into it’s tenure. It was being refitted just before we left for Asia but since coming back has become something of a firm favourite.

As soon as you walk in you see chefs beavering away grilling various meat on their long charcoal grill, always a good sign. Just after ordering you are brought , salad , roasted onions , youghurt and a lovely tangy tomato chutney for dipping also their fantastic bread (all gratis which is a nice touch). The salad is quite nice and the roasted onions are good but the bread is wonderful. It’s quite nice soft bread but they then char it on the same grill where they have been cooking the meat and my does it take up the meat flavours. It’s a struggle to stop eating it but you have to try the make room for the very generous mains.

Salad, onions, etc & that bread. The reason you never order starters.

Chicken Beyti Sarma. Grilled minced chicken seasoned with garlic & parsley wrapped
in lavash flatbread, and a topping of yogurt, butter & fresh tomato sauce. Quite simple
yet everything beautifully cooked and everything on the plate was their for a reason. Also came with rice which made for a lot of food.

Lamb ribs. Expertly grilled is are all their meat. I was expecting a bit more fat on them but this was my first time having lamb ribs.

Far too stuffed for dessert but we were brought 2 small pieces of baklava with the bill which sums up the generosity of the place.

Four Hundred Rabbits
30-32 Westow St, London SE19 3AH

Urban Orient
74 Westow St, London SE19 3AF

11 Central Hill, London SE19 1BG


Thank you for this! I have pointed a local friend here and made noises about Dem.