Eating out: nominate the best of Brockley

There's already been a lot of discussion in other threads about the quality of food to be found in Brockley. It's been pointed out that the area's best places are scattered over quite a wide area so this post is dedicated to collecting people's recommendations for eating out.

Here are mine - an admittedly predictable quartet:

Ecosium - a brilliant addition to the area. Friendly staff, delicious and simple north-african inspired menu, great when the sunshine's through the open windows out front and a fish tank which keeps kids occupied for hours. Still a little underappreciated.

Just Thai Thai - perhaps a controversial choice, given the enduring popularity of Smile's Cafe, but I think JTT is the winner - if only on the basis of the fact that, if you eat there in winter, you don't have to endure icy gales coming in every time someone opens the door.

Moonbow Jakes - forget the coffee, the food's much better. Great lunch menu.

Toad's Mouth Too - Massive portions, good range and cheery, if sometimes ditzy waiters. Great people-watching if you're on your own but not so good for big groups (or pushchairs), thanks to the tiny rooms and tables.

48 comments:

Kate said...

The Italian place on the parade of shops opposite the Brockley Barge is damn fine - deeeeeeeeeeeeelicious cooking, great quality ingredients, really good value for money. Plus the staff are really nice.

Luke said...

Long time cafe - Super fresh, really welcoming and excellently cooked food.

Meze Mangal - Superb Turkish with a huge clay oven and friendly staff. The lamb-filled aubergine dish is great.

Babur - Ok, not really Brockley, but the best restaurant of its ilk for miles. Really creative.

TM2 - Hangover fry ups...mmmm

Yet to try Ecosium, Nu-Spice and the brace of Thai places...

Anonymous said...

The Phoenix Restaurant based in Lewisham College, bottom of Breakspears Rd is superb and excellent value for good quality food. Check it out http://www.phoenix-restaurant.com/menu.htm

kate said...

i dont eat out any where but i always get an indian take away from taste of india in brockley and its the best i have ever had.

Jon said...

I said this before in another thread, but here's my nomination: Meze Mangal on Lewisham Way is awesome - the best kebabs this side of Turkey. And it's like going on holiday when you go in there.

(p.s. can we count Lewisham Way as Brockley? Perhaps we can just count the good bits)

Kate said...

Oooh yeah, Babur is mindblowingly good.

ElijahBailey said...

Just googled Meze Mangel and it looks superb. I will have to defiantely try it out.

I'll second the Italian place on the parade to.

Cinnamon is my favourite Indian round these parts.

Sue Luxton said...

Brockley Kitchen does tasty food and it's v good value for money - also is big on stocking fairtrade products. Cafe rather than restaurant.

bob said...

Babur, yep. Meze Mangal, yep. Toad's Mouth, yep.

Brockley Kitchen, yep, but not as good as the Caribbean place near the station, Dawn's (can't remember its proper name): best steam fish dinners in the world.

Jam Circus: needs to get its act together food-wise.

Mr Lawrence's: why'd they stop serving food. I used to love their huge big sirloin steaks.

ElijahBailey said...

I went into Toad's mouth a few months ago to check out all the fuss. I only stayed five munites as the guy behind the bar was very loudly and publically having a go at one of the waitresses which I thought was disgracefully unprofessional. Never been back. Another group of people that was also there left to without ordering.

LewishamLou said...

wow - half these places aren't even in Brockley. So much for the booming Brockley gastro scene. Everyone knows, Lewisham rocks.

Luke said...

The only place that can't really be defined as Brockley (as pointed out), is Babur and Cinnamon.

And of course Lewisham's got more to offer, it about ten times bigger. But hang on, Brockley is part of the Lewisham borough...

"So much for the booming Brockley gastro scene"

eh?

Brockley Nick said...

Lewishamlou, I'm not sure what you mean? I can't see any suggestions of places outside Brockley (perhaps you could give some examples?) and I don't know that anyone has claimed it's got a booming gastro scene!

Lewisham Way is the boundary for the conservation area and Lewisham College is part of the conversation area, so I think those suggestions are certainly valid.

lee newham said...

Meze Mengal is very good, Cinnamon is the best Indian food I have ever had (why is this not Brockley, it's actually in the Brockley Conservation are on Upper Brockley road and it's post code is se4!)

More reviews of places in brockley would be good. I love Toads mouth, although I haven't eaten there except on a sunday monring.

Anonymous said...

I went to La Lanterna the other night, which someone here mentions as delicious. The staff were sweet, and the prices were fairly good, but the food really wasn't up to snuff in my opinion. My pasta felt as though it had been reheated (ie it was falling apart and sticking together but didn't feel overcooked, which is usually what makes that happen). They brought us rather stale and saggy pizza bread to begin with as well. Also the batter on the calamari we shared as a starter fell apart. I suppose I was expecting a family-run place and didn't realise it was part of a 'Biagio' chain... I can say that the (fairly expensive, but then aren't desserts always these days?) creme caramel I had was nice though!

Maggie said...

PS sorry, didn't really mean to be anonymous there, just wasn't sure what to do!

Jon said...

Yes, I heard lots of good things about La Lanterna but when I went I wasn't that impressed! As you say, the food was a bit so-so. But I am fully prepared to give it another chance, and will go along again soon!

Kate said...

That's a shame (re: La Lanterna). I had an incredible veal somethingorother last time I was in there.

Anonymous said...

Lanterna take away pizza's aren't up to much either, definitely wouldn't recommend it. Shame, Brockley could do with a decent Italian!

Maggie said...

I am very new to the area but working my way through the restaurants / cafes with some stealth! I mentioned La Lanterna above in not-terribly-complimentary terms but it's true that it's good to have an Italian place around... Also I am picky about Italian because I lived there for a while and am a huge fan of really good, simple Italian food. It felt like the Lanterna was trying to do quite complex things and not managing (plus there's the chain aspect!)

I have since been to Cinnamon to pick up a takeaway and thought it was very good, with really big portions as well.

I had lunch in Ecosium a few weeks ago and was hoping to make use of their free wifi - sadly it wasn't working at the time! I think the place is working along the right lines. The food I had was fairly good and had the potential to be even better, and I think it will feel ever nicer in there once it gets more of a lived-in feel. Staff were pretty friendly.

I toddled further down to CafeNeu where the man behind the counter was INCREDIBLY nice and spent ages getting my laptop to work on their broadband connection (it's a bit old). Nice smoothies.

The Broca is really sweet! I love the ethical feel going on there and the homely cookies and books on the shelves. Very little space but it's part of the charm.

I have been to Moonbow Jakes several times (every time we came down to see estate agents!) and it can be very haphazard but well worth it. When my parents came to visit we sat in the baking back yard and lots of ingredients were lacking because it was a Sunday but we were really touched that they brought a bowl of water for the dog without even being asked. The cakes are great in there as is the selection of teas. I haven't been along in the evening as yet but hope to shortly (I'm actually in Telegraph Hill so it's not that handy)

Apparently the Wickham Arms is going to have a revamp and start serving food? Anyone know any more? It would be nice to have something gastropub-like (but hopefully not too chichi gastropub-like if you know what I mean!)

nick said...

For atmosphere

- the courtyard/secret garden in the Toad's Mouth. It was gorgeous the other day in the sunshine with lots of flowers out. The small warren of downstairs rooms is good too. I think the food's overpriced for what it is and nothing special, sadly, although it is fresh and uses decent ingredients. The coffee isn't bad.

- the new coffee shop opposite the station (the Broca?). It's wonderfully small and independent. The coffee I had there the other day was a bit Starbucks-y: too milky for my taste, but still a good deal at £1.

For food

- nowhere?

Ok. The chippie on Harefield Road is alright. Tip: If you ask for haddock they will probably have to fry it specially, so it will be fresher. The staff are very nice.

Smile's café: not as good as I had heard. The rice wasn't fresh when I ate there recently: reheated from the previous day (or from the day before that?) Not good. Some of the dishes were quite nice, but good fresh rice is (or should be) basic.

Longtime café: a strange mix of good food and standard Chinese-takeaway touches. Cheap, though, and apparently they do delivery.

I've given up on Brockley for eating out, actually. (To be fair, I haven't tried Ecosium or Just Thai Thai, though.)
For (South) East Asian food, the only really good place that I know of around here is Kaya House in Deptford. The food there is stunning, especially the Chinese dishes (they do Malaysian too, but that's only very good).

For south Indian there's Ganapati near Peckham Rye station. Inexpensive, fresh food and very pleasant interior design. It out-Rasas Rasa. There's also the Madras on Lewisham High Street which is cheap and does much, much better food than it looks as though it would.

Le Chardon (French food) in East Dulwich can be good.

I really hope that I am missing something, but I'm afraid that might be it...

Anonymous said...

You are missing out if you haven't tried Cafeblanca. ( Crofton Park end of Brockley, just a little further on from Crofton park station -travelling from Brockley Cross direction- and on other side road). It is very small, so probably not the best place for a big night, but the Morroccan food is really good. As is coffee, mint tea and sandwiches
Spincatx
PS: Meze Mangal is great - how I do agree; as is Kaya House

Anonymous said...

Meze Mangal is pretty good, as is Smiles.

I thought TM2 was a bit stodgy foodwise and pokey.

As other people have said La Lanterna was pretty average and bland. I definitely would not recommend it.

Has anyone been to the Bank in Honor Oak? I went there once and the meal was amazing then the second time I went it was terrible. Has anyone been to it? I was wondering if my experiences were one offs either way.

Anonymous said...

I used to go to Bank fairly regularly ( the only reason I don't now - so impoverished at present). It must depend on who is cooking because I have heard other criticisms of it. However, we were highly impressed by it and about half a dozen times took guests who were all equally impressed: it has never let me down.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Toad's Mouth is the tiny rooms, and the management when it ticks off its staff in a very rude, and, it has to be said, loud way.

If the guy who runs it spoke to me the way he does some of the poor unfortunates there I'd bury his head in the sink.

So come on Toad's Mouth, button it too.

Monkeyboy said...

I have to say I like the Toad Mouth vibe with the (I'm guessing) Goldsmith students bringing me breakfast when I have a steaming hangover. It's quirky, we like quirky, but the food is actually not that great. I asked for scrambled egg on toast, in my book that should be creamy and made with lots of butter, after all it's only my fur lined hardened arteries that keep me upright. What I actually got was a dried up unsalted lump of poly-filla and once I went there and they'd run out of bacon! In a cafe!

Needs a bit of improvement but overall just the arty, middle class, Gaurdian reading place I like.

And the manager needs to cut his hair.

Anonymous said...

and what about the ordinary cafes in Brockley where i can just eat my lunch?can anyone say sth about Top Chef Cafe?-cause i'm thinking to go there one day but need to know sth about it first...hmmm???

Anonymous said...

I'll refrain from mentioning my comments about the TM2 :o)

Just out of interest, Nick, I heard that you contacted local businesses for sponsorship for this site? I also heard that TM2 gave you some money to help?

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon,
No, I've never spoken to any local businesses about sponsorship or anything similar, so I've no idea what you're talking about. If TM2 were sponsoring the site, they'd have banners. They don't. I'd also make it very clear if there was any sponsorship.

Jam Circus said...

From somebody perhaps guilty of spending too much time at the Crofton Park & Honor Oak end of Brockley it's nice to see what I'm missing out on!

This is my personal opinion, and not that of Jam Circus, but La Querce on Brockley Rise does fantastic freshly cooked pasta and I know an Italian who rates their pizzas as better than those from back home.

Somebody mentioned The Old Bank, lovely place, fresh pasta once again, and good fish.

Babur (pushing the Brockley boundaries) is unbeatable in the area, they obviously have a very creative chef.

I have only tried Just Thai Thai the once, but the mains were perfectly cooked and the manager very sweet.

Longtime café always looks nice, but I've never had the chance to pop in.

Bob, I'm sad to hear you're not a fan of Jam Circus food, can I ask why? We've worked very hard to shape the current menu, to improve on the quality served under the old management, and to introduce a breakfast menu. We regularly get thanks and praise from customers who have eaten, but it is more valuable to hear from anybody who has not enjoyed their food.

Anyway, here's hoping Brockley food continues moving upwards the way it has in the past few years.

Hugh said...

Jam Circus, could you make your chips less skinny? They soak up a lot of oil that way. We want them thick and hot. The burger was great and it was good to wash it down with a cold pint.

Jam Circus said...

Hugh, I'm glad you liked the burger, but fries are a contentious issue! My personal preference is for thick-cut crispy-skinned chips, but you would be surprised at the number of people who crave the thin fries.

We don't mind at all if people ask for our wedges instead of fries, which we make with very good maris pipers (we do charge 75p extra, though)

In the future we may explore the possibility of using our wedges as standard with the burgers; we'd have to see how this went down with the fry-lovers, and also the feasibility of preparing that many potatoes in a small kitchen.

Jen said...

Jam Circus, looking forward to trying your thin fries. Quality thin fries are not easy to find.

Re: TM2 -- the atmosphere downstairs is great in a bohemian sense, the paninis are okay, the service flaky but alright, the breakfast not so fantastic. It's a good place for coffee on a sunny day.

Paolo said...

Have to agree with elijah RE: Toads Mouth. The Bosses wife( the manageress ) constantly berates the young staff. Won't be returning to the Toads unless she gets some manners. I doubt there's much chance of that.A foul mouthed and angry little woman.

Anonymous said...

I have tried many places in brockley to eat, but undoubtly my favourite has to be The Brockley Kitchen. I only wanted a take away so it suited me great. they have a lively mix of English and Caribbean Foods. It was all very tasty and Wolfed it down with some homemade Cheesecake. =The Food was succulent and Fresh i enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.

Anonymous said...

i love the long time cafe, the quality of the food is excellent and consistent!!
the staff are young friendly and always remember your name, they also deliver.
it's the best thai food i've had outside of thailand....yummy

Anonymous said...

Breakfasts...Mclarens, okay breakfast with a nice coffee. Top chef, good value breakfasts, nothing great though, haven't been for a while. M2 aka toads mouth too? Good breakfast, but the price OMG, it's Brockley not Belgravia!. We ordered 2 breakfasts a couple of weeks back with 2 large coffee's. The bill came too just short of £20. We also heard the waitress mentioning another couple of guys complaining about the cost of a single large coffee '£2.90 I think'? to the chef guy. He didn't seem to happy 'doe's he ever?' that someone had an issue with the price and said if they have a problem they should go and see him! We payed up and left, sharpish! My Local Haunt, Jam Circus, have always had good food @ a good price with a free smile when I've been their, well done all keep it up. The old Bank, top food, don't go as often as I would like, normally if we have friends visiting. Shapla is my fav take away indian, great madras. Babur, only ever been once, I think I ordered the wrong thing for me that day. I must give it another go, along with Brockley Kitchen, haven't tryed it yet.

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The Cat Man said...

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Cat Man has admitted he plays World Of Warcraft.
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drakefell debaser said...

Long Time Café is great and a definite favourite - the Tai green curry is very enjoyable and the guys are very friendly. Chai’s Garden (ok it’s Nunhead) has a better menu than long time and is a nicer sit down experience – a must for local oriental food fans. I have been to La Lanterna and found my veal to be like a piece of shoe but then I had a mate that went there and said the pizzas and basic pasta dishes where superb – different dishes and different tastes maybe so I need a second run to make my mind up. Have found Ecosium to be quite good as well. I quite enjoy TM2, their cooked breakfasts are nice and the lentil stew with roast vegetables is a treat – sitting in the back garden is very peaceful whilst quietly munching away with a blazing hang over. I have never experienced bad service there – slow maybe, but I recommended it to someone who asked for a sandwich at lunch time -ish and was bluntly told by the long haired fella that he didn’t have time. That is no way to treat customers so, whilst the name TM2 maybe be a euphemism it would be nice if the owner didn’t live upto one. Not tried Meza Mangal yet, does it still have that huge crate thing outside it? Thanks to this thread though it seems there are many other places to try out.

The Cat Man said...

Ive had second thoughts about TM2 recently. A few people might remember the first time I posted about my experience, i.e. possible food poisioning and very unprofessional staff (a nod in acceptance of TM2's 'Zero' food grading on 'scores on the doors').

Recently I was pleasently surprised:

1. The plates were no longer chipped.
2. The owner amenable and I got the impression she realised that sometimes the staff can be unprofessional.
3. The food was excellent, I was impressed with the selection and indeed the items that they change periodically (such as cod and beetroot - who would thought - it was great!).
4. I was impressed to be told that the chef refused to cook the beef 'well done' as it will spoil the taste of the unique rearing of the cow (for the uneducated like me this was a god send).

Seems like the owner has abit more work to do re. unprofesional staff, but i came away with the sense that things had certaintly improved.

They deserve a gold star for that in my book. Well done.

lb said...

[dd] I'd recommend Meze Mangal highly - Turkish food almost as good as you'd get in Dalston (without the obvious disadvantage of having to go to Dalston), and an all-Turkish wine (and raki) list. The proprietor is incredibly friendly and helpful. Probably its only disadvantage is that it's a bit limited if you don't like grilled meat, and it can get a bit warm if they sit you next to the bread oven.

drakefell debaser said...

Thanks LB, i really like Turkish food so i will try it out.

Headhunter said...

Make sure you book ahead at Meze M though - last few times I've tried to go, they've been booked up solid all evening

Anonymous said...

Saw this morning that some idiot has broken Dandelion Blue's window.

drakefell debaser said...

HH, that is a good sign then, thanks for the heads up

The Cat Man said...

occupational hazard, insurance would pay for that.

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