If there is an advantage to be had in having children it is that they will eventually leave home to go to university where you can go visit them and find places to have good things to eat.
So this last weekend we spent 24 hours visiting the only son and bouncing between Camberwell and Peckham. Of course children were seen and that was all very good and I am sure they were pleased to see us – especially as some of them had not bothered to eat for a few days on the basis of an expectation that they would be well fed over the weekend.
We had last been in Camberwell in September and I can remember quickly walking past The Camberwell Arms and making a note that it looked like a promising place for a pint without really noticing that it did food as well. Walking past this time food was very much top of people’s agenda and we were ready to stop at the first place that did it even if it meant pizza and chips.
It was fortunate the first place we walked past was The Camberwell Arms. First impression confirmed we were in the company of good beer. Things got potentially better when it was noted that one of the specials was a whole turbot to be shared amongst three.
In the event the roast turbot stayed on the menu but the son and I shared half a roast chicken with chips. A chip is always the measure of where you are eating. These were good ones. Hot, crisp and giving on the inside. I have had a whole roast chicken to share before and it was disappointing – dry and lacking in chicken flavour. By way of contrast Saturdays’ half chicken was a fine affair – just the right side of being cooked without being undercooked and tasting of chicken. We went at it with sharp knives and fingers whilst the beer came in dimpled glasses with handles.
The rest of Saturday afternoon was spent shuttling over from Camberwell to Peckham and ensconcing parents-in-law safely in the rooms over The Victoria Arms. This of course providing an opportunity to sample more good beer, although it now came in a straight glass, before exploring the collection of esoteric books on the shelves of the slightly unkempt AirB&B flat which was our bed for the Saturday night.
Saturday evening and we were deep in the heart of Peckham eating at The Peckham Bazaar – a place serving Bulgarian/Middle European food. Because there were seven of us they suggested we stick to their tasting menu of seven or so courses.
Having sat down we were slightly bemused as the first four or five courses arrived in quick succession. All were good but for a while it felt as if we were going to be finished and out of there within thirty minutes. But all were plate licking good – courgette fritters, fried feta, fried squid and best of all – red mullet sat on a top of noodles. I could have eaten a great deal more of the red mullet.
We were reassured that these were only the starters and the main courses would arrive shortly and we were given time to settle into another bottle of wine. The main course was two thick sausages made up of venison and pheasant grilled so as to give off all the smells you would want to associate with an open fire and and a beach. It all deserved another bottle of wine which was finished over a plate of orange scented baklava.
Some of us then went to bed whilst others went out so as to be able to give us the benefit of their red eyes and husky voices the following morning.