Last Updated on November 4, 2021
Gin and Asian Dining with a smile at Pedler, Peckham
Navigating South London, particularly those parts not on the underground network, can be something of a challenge. Yet, without making that effort, we all stand to miss out on unique, quirky and charming joints like Pedler Good Fortune. In fact, if you happen to be within easy reach of the overground, it’s right by Queens Road station and just over 10 minutes walk from Nunhead. This place deserves to be more than a local venue, not just because the food is great but because it’s seriously good fun.
Upstairs is the home of local brand Little Bird Gin with cocktails and a micro-distillery where if you choose you can enjoy the full Pedler Good Fortune menu. Downstairs, there are cafe style dining tables with a cosy, informal feel. It’s the kind of place where you go for drinks and end up staying for dinner – and then probably for more drinks. And it’s the kind of place where you’d be made to feel really welcomed if you did that.
Oh, did I mention, it’s also the kind of place where you can enjoy a bottle of Prosecco for £32 or of Champagne for £45. And, where cocktails cost no more than £8. At that price, it would be churlish not to try. The perfect G&T with Little Bird, Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic and grapefruit hit the spot. And my friend’s SE15 Spritz with Aperol, Little Bird, Cinzano Bianco, pink grapefruit and bubbles went down a treat.
We ordered a couple of tidbits to keep us going. An unexpected but delicious veggie samosa with tamarind sauce and a fragrant coriander chutney and prawn toasts with Bonita mayo that came with a thick layer of real prawns under the ubiquitous sesame seeds. An auspicious start.
Now, while you can order individual items from the menu, with ‘main’ dishes starting at just £8 and going up to £22 for ‘Mr G’s Sticky Bream’ or ‘Downtown Duck’, much the best value comes from a kind of pick and mix concept where you can pick one dish from each section (there are four sections) and three side dishes too for just £58. It’s really more than is decent for two people – and for someone used to dining in central London, a real bargain.
From the £8 dishes, we picked Wok Fried Morning Glory to make sure we ate at least some green vegetables- despite really wanting to try the Crab and Green Mango Salad and the Pork Shrimp and Leek Pot Stickers. This is the sort of place where the feast is such good value it’s hard not to want to come back and feast again! It was fresh, perfectly cooked and well balanced. The kind of dish I’d like to make at home but wouldn’t ever quite get right.
Our £12 dish was Peanut Butter Tofu Buns which came with burnt chilli mayo, sesame and pickles. Once again, I wanted to try more dishes. How about Prawn and Cod dumplings with XO sauce, Garlic Chips and Ketjap Manis (an Indonesian sweet soy sauce). Despite my hesitation over the tofu buns, I thought they were truly delicious. I’m not usually keen on tofu, but the peanut butter coating gave it a lovely crunch and great flavour.
Both of us loved the Lucky Lemon Frizzled Chicken with sweet and sour pineapple and peppers. Classic Chinese flavours, beautifully presented and really comforting with coconut rice and chow mein sides.
Our final dish was Mr G’s sticky bream – a striking looking dish of whole fish served Chinese style with the head and tail. Again beautifully cooked, with soy, ginger, honey and crispy rice, we felt it could have benefited from a bit more ‘sticky’ sauce. But, a minor issue…
With the food, we drank Barrel Jumper Viognier, delicious white wine from the Western Cape of South Africa. Retailing normally at around £9 a bottle, the price here was £24, a genuinely reasonable offer. Most of the wines are available by the glass too.
I’m now busy working out the best route back from home. This is the kind of place I wish was on my doorstep. And the kind of place I wish I’d found twenty years ago. It’s the kind of place where there’s a lot of smiling. And, I’d guess a lot of happy diners!
Pedler Good Fortune
169 Queen’s Rd,
Looking for something different? We also recommend Kudu Collective, a South African restaurant just a few minutes down the road!