Le Querce, Brockley Rise, SE23

Frustrated by the fact that Lewisham's representation in the latest Time Out restaurant guide amounts to little more than the address of Nando's, reader Zoe has attempted to set the record straight by recommending a restaurant we'd not heard about before: Le Querce.

It may not be SE4, but it's only a few minutes up the road from the Brockley Jack and sounds very promising. Zoe says:

"I just wanted to let you know that you may want to add a new restaurant to any future posts about places to eat in the area. Le Querce is a family run Italian restaurant with really high quality food. They make their own gelato and serve wonderful, fresh pasta, meat and seafood. I had a fantastic fresh lobster and tagliatelle when I was last there.

"I only heard about it because I was waiting for a take away in Longtime Cafe and some women started chatting with me. They said they'd had amazing lobster (!) at an Italian just off the roundabout near St Hilda's church. I love this area to bits and try to do what I can to support local places, but even I was surprised to hear that you could get a great lobster dinner in SE4 [BC says - unfortunately, until we claim that stretch of Brockley Rise for our own, we still can't boast that accolade].

"I honestly think it's the best restaurant in our area and it's not just local pride clouding my judgment. They really care about what they serve and the prices are very fair. A comparable meal in central London could easily cost double. I want to help get the word out because I hope they are able to stay in business for a long time, like Babur Brasserie, its neighbour. I get really fed up when people take the area for a wasteland or ignore it altogether."

For more information, click here.

In our experience, the best Italian restaurants are always the worst-looking. We were recently dragged to a place in Uxbridge that looked like a 70s airport lounge but served incredible food, so Le Querce's "unassuming" decor is a plus as far as we're concerned.

Thanks to Zoe for letting us know about it. The poor quality of information about this area was one of the driving forces behind the creation of this blog, so please email us with any other recommendations.

51 comments:

Richard Elliot said...

Excellent. Recommendations of good restaurants to try are always welcome!

As an aside what is the Longtime Cafe like? I've walked past a few times and thought it looked an interesting place to try.

Monkeyboy said...

Longtime Cafe is worth a visit, a cut above the usual takeaway.

Andy Pandy Pudding & Pie said...

Yeah, Long time cafe is an odd place - looks like you enter a warehouse when you go in, boxes every where etc....

..but the food is amazing for a take away service, i mean, they make the spring rolls fresh from hand!

JPM said...

Le Querce is really nice... it actually used to be under another name, but John who ran the previous establisment fell on hard times - and went on tv boasting he worst chef in England. Bad move.

It's now a family run affair, in need of stamping its own design on the place.

The most disappointing 'eaterie' in Brockley has got to be the amateur-led Harefield Road restaurant? (can't even recall the name).

It certainly doesn't know how to do a 'full English breakfast', and everything seems no trouble at all but really is. I give it another year before it folds.

Zoe said...

Thanks for sharing my tip, Nick. Sorry about it not actually being SE4, I hadn't realised.
In other local (but non-SE4) restaurant news, Masons in Ladywell has a new chef. The food there is pretty good and I was pleasantly surprised that they also serve a selection of Belgian fruit beers.

spincat said...

Le Querce has got to be a millimetre from SE4: the boundary must be very odd round just there (I, an SE4-er, live that end).

McLarens and the Big Plate a few doors from Le Querce are good for breakfasts; there is also a charming shop selling old china run by an elderly man and cat, and a good electrical goods/menders, the best kebab shop in the area and the Babur ( now know definitely isn't SE4) over the road.

spincat said...

..and I forgot : the Tai Wu, which is easy to miss (look out for the plants outside), a few doors up from Le Querce, is a good restaurant and takeaway.

Bea said...

Great to hear about other places in Brockley. I'll check it out next weekend as it sounds great.

JPM - I think you mean Ecosium (opposite the post office). Indeed the service can be hit and miss (as in very, very slow - but that said always friendly). However, in my experience this has got a lot better recently. The pizzas are good as well as anything on the menu with a North African bent. I seriously hope it doesn’t close as it’s one of the few places in Brockley where the interior is pleasant and easy for a buggy / toddler to handle. And I love the fact that I can sit inside and keep my kid away from the cars but still feel like I’m outside with the big windows that open up.

Brockley Nick said...

Bea, I couldn't agree more about Ecosium.

Hugh said...

I went to Ecosium just after it opened intending to eat but found the menu fell far short of the refreshingly 'normal' decor. Cursory examination of the menu since then suggests they've made efforts in this direction, but I'm waiting for someone to say they do something particularly well before ordering food. Great place for a drink on a sunny day, of course.

Hugh said...

After reading rave reviews on here we sent out tonight for a curry from Babur. Excellent quality and quantity. More than we could eat for £26.55 for two, and about £10 less than we would pay at Bombaby Bicycle Club. We'll be exploring their menu further.

Burro Rojo said...

Bit late in the day to reply to this thread, but in answer to Hugh's comment, I would say Ecosium do pizza particularly well (and they're surprisingly good value), with a delicious tomato sauce. We've eaten there a few times and never been disappointed - two weekends ago I took some family there and everyone enjoyed their food (for the record: marinated lamb chops, with a nice touch of merguez on the side, steak, chicken satay and a special of lamb tagine). Plus the owners are lovely, as has already been said. So I can definitely recommend Ecosium for a meal. And I would steer JPM away from the English Breakfast next time (which is done well elsewhere), and towards one of the more med-inspire dishes.

Big up Brockley eating! I'm going to try the Meze Mangal for the first time tonight...

Anonymous said...

I love Meze Mengal. Try Cinnamon on Supper Brockley too, the best indian I have ever had (food wise I mean),

Burro Rojo said...

Well, I left it too late and Meze Mangal was booked up - another time! Having read this thread, my next idea was to try Le Querce, and despite a trying walk through the rain we had a lovely meal with extremely friendly service. The pollo alla querce was gorgeous, but even that was topped by the desserts - rose petal sorbet, yum! So thanks to all here for the recommendation.
I'll make a note of Cinnamon too - we've had their takeaway menu through the door, I think. Getting hungry again now...

spincat said...

Meze Mangal are booked out a lot of the time - sign of how good they are. They are definitely a 'sit down' place though. Don't go for the takeaway option there.

Brockley Jon said...

Oh I don't know, Spincat, we think the takeaways are rather good at Meze Mangal - obviously not half as much fun as actually being there, but they taste just as good, and you get good value. They even put some freshly baked bread in.

Brockley Kate said...

Had lunch at Le Querce today and it was absolutely mindblowing! One of the best meals I've had in London for a long, long time. I cannot recommend this place enough, it is amazing. Definitely a very strong candidate for Brockley's BEST hidden gem.

Tressillian James said...

Couldn't agree more, Kate. Kung Fu Hustle and I went a few eeks ago and it was the bes tpasta I have tasted outside of Italy. And I am not using superlatives lightly.

Great Sardinian family running it, best food in Brockley by a mile - to those who haven't been...go and enjoy it.

Richard said...

Can't believe I haven't commented on this thread yet - absolutely the best food in Brockley. We have an Italian in the kitchen at Jam Circus and he will tell you Le Querce does 100% authentic Italian food, and the best he has found in London!

To boot, the couple who run it are lovely - the husband is the chef (I understand he has worked in a Michelin starred restaurant) and the wife looks after tables with her brother. Truly a family enterprise and well worth supporting.

They were recently listed in Hardens and it's no surprise. All of the pastas & pizzas are homemade, plus they do more than 30 homemade ice creams & sorbets (I tried pistachio, amarettto & rose ice creams plus a few others). Last time I was there the brother of the wife gave us a Sardinian dessert wine on the house as he had recently been to see family and knew we had stayed there.

Spincat - the Brockley Rise stretch is definitely well served and some of it must be under SE4. Mclarens is reliable and Babur is brilliant. The electricians is handy and I recently ventured into the second hand shop for the first time - 6 brandy glasses & a coffee table for Jam Circus for £24, plus a free history lesson on Harold Wilson, aircraft carriers and motorcars. Bargain.

Brockley Kate said...

I adore that 2nd hand shop (I think it's called Caledonia?).

And yes, the ice creams and sorbets at Le Querce were one of the most impressive things - I tried one scoop each of the rhubarb, saffron and banana, cardamom & ginger ice creams, and my mum tried the strawberry & balsamico, rose petal and basil sorbets. Mind-blowing.

Rigsby said...

My old man used to run the vacuum cleaner shop on Brockley Rise (long gone now) and I can tell you that the 2nd hand shop on Brockley Rise (Caledonia), and the old guy that runs it has been there forever!!

Tressilliana said...

This is all good to hear as we are planning a visit soon. Would we need to book, do you think, for a midweek evening, say 7pm?

The Brockley Telegraph said...

I have to ask, is this still Brockley? google maps seems to suggest its more like Forest Hill

Tressilliana said...

I would say it is at the south end of Crofton Park. Can't see that it matters,really, as it is easy walking distance from most of SE4.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Ah ok. How long does it take to walk from Brockley station out of interest?

Tressilliana said...

My husband, who walks at a near-Olympic pace, could probably do it in under 20 minutes. It would take me a bit longer. I suppose it's a maybe a mile and a quarter from Brockley Station to Brockley Rise.

Pete said...

We went last night and it was great. Probably the best Italian I've been to in London. Will definitely return to try one of their pizzas.

Tressilliana said...

Well, we went to Le Querce last night and were very impressed. I'd recommend it to anyone. Just over £60 for two - three courses, bottle of wine, bottle of fizzy water, two coffees, excellent food, good service, pleasant decor, clean loos. Extraordinary ice cream and sorbet menu! I tried the pear and myrtleberry, along with a couple of more conventional choices. Lovely. What a good addition to the neighbourhood!

Mehmet said...

Well we tried it and it was very good. This has got to be the best Italian around SE4. Could not fault it. Highly recommended.

Amy said...

Sorry guys, it's definitely SE23. I know this for a fact as I used to live over the newsagents just a stone's throw from La Querce and before that on Codrington Hill which is also SE23 even though it's just that tiny bit nearer to Brockley.

JustDave said...

Having just moved to the area we checked out Le Querce on Friday, mainly due to recommendations on here and were thoroughly impressed with the food & service. One of the best Italians I've been to anywhere, so very nice to have it on the doorstep.

Monkeyboy said...

Treated a friend of mine whos just arrived back in the UK from a long trip. Not been before and yep, it was fantastic and brilliant value. The food was simple but spot on , I had bresaola (a cured beef thing that he makes himself) and pasta (home made natch) with razor clams. Really great and the waitress was funny, telling us about the snoby customers who insist on sniffing the cork from the house wine even though it's plastic.

Great ice creme, the bannana, ginger and cardamon is a winner.

But guys, get yourself a new sign. That grubby perpex thing does you no favours.

(Three courses with a bottle of house red, £55 for two)

Tressilliana said...

Relieved to see this, MB, as there's now a Le Querce in Blackheath Village and I was worried it might mean they'd moved rather than expanded.

Mb said...

Really? Is the same family?

Tressilliana said...

Yes, I think so. I recognised the waiter through the window when we passed that way a week or two ago. Not sure if it's open yet but it was the same menu in the window.

Mb said...

Good for them, be interesting to see if they charge an SE3 premium. Hope they get a different sign supplier.

Brockley Ben said...

Glad to hear the standards are holding up. Always had a good time at Le Querce.

Blackheath is an interesting move too. There's a good Italian there already (Bella Vista I think?) so competition may be tough. Will have to get over there.

Gabriella said...

It's definitely them - we were in there the other night and the owner was telling us they'd just opened a 2nd branch in Blackheath, next to Cave Austin. I hope they do really well, their food is excellent.

I think they will give some SE3 restaurants a run for their money - I've always been disappointed by the places there.

Mondee said...

I think I'm the only person ever to have had a disappointing meal at Le Querce! 2 actually. And I've only been twice. The first one was over a year ago and although most of the meal was really very nice, I ordered something from the specials menu - it was partridge I think - which was so dry as to be semi inedible. We went for lunch more recently and the kids' tagliatelle al ragu' had a distinctly burnt flavour. Actually, some of the meat was visibly burnt. I remain fairly sure that I have just been unlucky and will definitely give them another go soon. I saw the new restaurant in Blackheath today and hope it does as well as the Crofton Park one.

Reg said...

We arranged to eat at the Blackheath branch of this restaurant on fireworks night.
It was a disaster.
The service was appalling.
At 6pm there were dishes advertised that were not on the menu. the staff seemed demoralised and, understandably, afraid of the man running it. (A little Napolean if ever!) He seemed indiffernt to the displeasure of diners.
Eventually four to five tables stormed out, all there to see the fireworks display, and afraid if they waited for their meals they might miss it. We waited nearly 90 minutes for our meals, so left without. Like others, we did not pay for our drinks. Terrible terrible attitude from the man running it, which is a shame.

italian dude said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
italian dude said...

Can I ask why my comment has been removed ???

Brockley Nick said...

Yes you can - please email me at nick.barron@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Explain here Nick - the over-moderation is getting tiresome.

Brockley Nick said...

Thanks for your observations Anon.

kolp said...

I agree with anon,

Brockley Nick said...

@Kolp - I have self-censored my response to you.

kolp said...

Makes a change from making things up.

D said...

I think it's only fair to leave a note for future readers of this page to at least let people know that 'italian dude' had a bad experience at Le Querce and wouldn't recommend that you eat there.

Pete said...

I went last night for the first time in ages. Food was excellent - I had a steak and my wife had lamb and both really enjoyed the food.

Highly recommended as one of the two standout restaurants in the area. The other being Babur.

Sophie A said...

Im keen to give this restaurant a try based on the consistently good reviews. However, their website has a menu without prices.
I popped in there as I was going to Babur (another fab restaurant) and asked to view a menu. It was average prices but the guy couldn't really explain why the prices weren't available online. I asked if I could either take a menu with me or at least let me take a picture of it with my phone and both got declined.
I wanted to book a table for a group but unable to as I would need to let others know how much they should expect to spend.
It's a very unusual system to not make prices availble especially as it's not excessive. And to not let me take a pic and to expect me to just memorise the prices is just bizarre!
I guess I'll just have to eat in there without a group first and maybe sneakily take a pic of the menu. Either that or print out a price-less menu and call up to get the price of every item on there.

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