Last Updated on October 13, 2021
Not quite my local – The Angel Oak Peckham Rye
Now I’m officially a South Londoner, I’m busy exploring parts of the City never reached before. And, where better to start than in a not quite but nearly local pub in Peckham Rye. One of those areas you often hear described as ‘up and coming’ I’ve only been to Peckham on foot – to visit the nearby Gosnell meadery garden and Kudu, an excellent South African restaurant. Peckham Rye is a roughly triangular open space to the south of Peckham town centre, with its own train station, so I hopped on the Thameslink and then walked 10 minutes to reach the Angel Oak, a traditional pub on the edge of Peckham Rye. There are beer gardens at the front and rear of the pub, a cosy bar area and a light, spacious restaurant.
First impressions count of course, and the pristine Angel Oak is newly refurbished. But, more significantly the welcoming bar has a great display of beers – tap and bottled – together with a noticeboard listing their rotating beers. Pick from ‘Delirium Tremens’ a Belgian blond which is described as fruity with a champagne finish, Canopy Sunray brewed in nearby Herne Hill, a session fruity American pale or the Club Tropicana that my companion ordered which is made by Tiny rebel in Wales – an IPA made with tropical fruit juice. There are eight to choose from in total (and more bottled and cask ales.
The wine list doesn’t suffer though – there are plenty of options with house wines starting at £19.50 a bottle and champagne from £46 to £95 for a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé.
This is the kind of pub I’d like as my own local.
We made our way into the restaurant area and sat nibbling on some excellent Gordal olives drinking beer and prosecco while we worked through the menu. There’s a short sandwich menu for lunch, some sharing plates and a few bar snacks, together with classic starters, mains and desserts.
Starters were excellent. My friend loved his harissa cauliflower with molasses, date purée and toasted almonds. An Ottolenghi style dish, it was quite unexpected here.
My salmon fishcakes were delicious with a lovely tang, soft fish and potato centre and perfectly crisp shell offset by a mixture of peas and samphire and topped with tartare sauce. My only complaint was that this was almost a main portion helping for me.
For mains, I picked the short rib and flank burger with American cheddar, sweet and sour tomato relish, iceberg and skin-on fries. Of our dishes, this was much the weakest. In retrospect I’m wondering if a delivery hadn’t arrived – the burger was unremarkable and the fries were not in possession of a scrap of skin and were closer to oven chips. Another time it won’t be my choice. Had the description not mentioned ‘skin-on fries’ or described what seemed a very ordinary burger as ‘short rib and flank’, it perhaps wouldn’t have bothered me so much.
It’s a little unfair too because the grilled hake with parsnip purée, pickled walnuts and Bordelaise sauce was in a different league. My companion was more than happy.
Desserts were back on track. My companion ordered the brownie which was delicious with a large portion of ice-cream and plenty of chocolate sauce too.
My own sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch, maple pecans and clotted cream ice cream was an excellent comeback after the burger. I’d happily go just for the fish cakes, sticky toffee pudding and the well-priced wine list. And, the point of a local pub perhaps isn’t to be a gourmet restaurant but to meet the needs of every taste.
I’d certainly be happy to have The Angel Oak on my doorstep and it’s somewhere I would meet any friend who was looking for a good pub with a well-priced food menu and a great selection of wines and beers.
The Angel Oak
31 Peckham Rye