Coal Rooms, Peckham: restaurant review
Tucked away in the former ticket office of Peckham Rye station, Coal Rooms uses its Grade II-listed space to showcase big-flavoured, hearty cooking
What's the draw
The streets, arches and buildings around Peckham Rye station have become one of South London's favourite bar and restaurant destinations. Coal Rooms goes one step further by actually being in the station, with an aesthetic that plays heavily on the Victorian surroundings and a menu that goes big on meat, smoke and punchy flavours.
What to drink
The dinky bar you'll walk through to get to the kitchen and dining room is a great addition to Peckham's bar culture, and from it comes lots of lovely things – reassuringly boozy cocktails like a manhattan, a smoky boulevardier and the Peckham sake sour; a crammed beer list; and a short-but-sweet lineup of wines, plenty of them available by the glass. Plus, the more you drink the more you get to visit the cavernous, ornate toilets (they're the original station facilities). Win win.
What to eat
Coal Rooms opened just as summer was giving way to autumn, and its timing couldn't have been better – this is rich, hearty cooking that's probably best described as a kind of modern-British soul food. Many of the dishes lean heavily on the in-house butchery and custom charcoal grill, like silky, unctuous smoked lamb shoulder and a neat pheasant kiev with truffle butter, though the veg- and grain-focused dishes are excellent, too. Charred cauliflower in a bagna cauda balancing miso and citrus, spotted with Japanese furikake seasoning, stars just as much as the meat; a none-more-Peckham side dish of burnt hispi cabbage with crunchy jerk spices and tiny, delicious nuggets of crackling is furiously (if authentically) hot – great on its own but not exactly a team player. Oh, and don't even think about leaving before you've had the millionaire shortbread, deconstructed and served in layers in a takeaway coffee cup, drenched in hot chocolate sauce. Oof. Believe us when we say you won't be going home hungry.
Starters from £5; mains from £10 (plus sides and sauces); wine from £5 by the glass. 11a Station Way, Peckham Rye Station, SE15 4RX; coalroomspeckham.com