Sunday, 11 May 2014

Southerden Pastry Store, Peckham



Peckham's 'gentrification' continues, with the Bellenden Road area becoming more and more upmarket. Estate agents like to call it Bellenden Village to really drive those house prices up, but then most estate agents are, well, what the word 'Bellenden' is made up of. Artusi opened recently, to acclaim and for a while now The Begging Bowl has been quietly working away, serving some of my favourite Thai food. General Store, a few doors down is a gorgeous little shop; herbs and vegetables from farms in Kent are sold here, as well as top quality cheese, bread and cured meats. It is not the Peckham of yesteryear, though Rye Lane still bustles with Halal butcher shops, fishmongers and beauty salons; noisy, smelly and wonderfully hectic.


Just off Rye Lane is Southerden, a 'pastry store' that is an oasis of calm. The first time we came we grabbed a couple of cakes to take away. Various cakes, breads and doughnuts are displayed by the window, with a brilliant glass dome contraption where by a thick rope is pulled on and hooked, lifting all three covers simultaneously.

Photo from @sharmilasub 
The Choumert bun (named, presumably, after the road the shop is on) was a joy to eat; crisp pastry on the outside, and filled with a creme patissiere filling that actually tasted of fresh raspberries. A lemon meringue tart the size of my palm was beautiful; a crisp pastry crust, a properly lemony filling, and billowing puffs of blow-torched meringue on top. Owner Mel is seemingly there 7 days a week, making everything from scratch out back daily. The lady has talent.


We visited again today and chose to sit in, nursing cups of tea. Inside, everything is brilliant white; the one large table in the centre of the room strewn with magazines and local newspapers, the cushioned bench, the chairs. A counter at the back displays more cakes, meringues and truffles, separated from the world by a glass sheet which I excitedly and inadvertently jabbed. Unfortunately my housemate was far too impatient to wait for me to take a proper picture, but the cake we shared was a beauty. Filled with stewed rhubarb in a buttery, flaky pastry case, the top is made of sponge cake, topped with some sort of red crumb, a curl of white chocolate and a quenelle of vanilla ice cream. It was really very special. The girls sitting opposite us exclaimed that it was the best cake they'd ever had.


Once we started, it was pretty difficult to stop and the homemade marshmallows kept catching my gaze. Toasted coconut, mango and lime, strawberry and basil, raspberry and champagne and blackberry and mint were on offer. Our raspberry cube was intensely flavoured with the fruit, with just a hint of the fizz. Foamy but not squishy and not over-sweet, it restored my faith in marshmallows, as I was previously a bit of a skeptic.


Lemon and poppyseed and raspberry macarons (and maybe a vanilla and cinnamon truffle...) ended our sugar binge. The lemon was my favourite, the sunshine yellow curd fragrant and sweet. For all this plus two teas, we paid £14 - great value for what is an incredibly intricate skill.


Next time, I'm totally going for these chocolate sticks - they are stirred into hot milk, creating a hot chocolate as they melt. They also sell breakfast boxes filled with croissants and cold-brewed coffee, as well as flour, butter and various pastries to take home and bake with. 

Southerden

46 Choumert Road
London SE15 4SE

11 comments:

Catherine said...

I had a really nice chicken pie from there a couple of months ago. Think they only do them at the weekend.

Lizzie Mabbott said...

ooh - chicken pie?! I had no idea they do savoury too! Another reason to go back.

Anonymous said...

Wondered how would I email you? I wanted to tell you about a restaurant. Thanks Rose rosejanerouse@yahoo.co.uk

Aimee Kitson said...

This place looks great, definitely worth a trip to Peckham alone. Agree also, estate agents are the biggest Bellendon's!

Helen said...

I went into this place a while ago but did a runner when the woman went out the back to do something because it was kind of empty and intimidating and I wanted a slice of coffee and walnut or something similarly old fashioned. I think I like old lady cake, but the mini magnums do look tempting...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lizzie,

I've written under this post so as not to interrupt your most recent one. I wanted to ask you something not related. Would you know how to go about finding a Chinese noodle chef? Are there plenty of Chinese chefs abailable in the UK now?

PS Did you ever try making the Da Pan Ji?

Lizzie Mabbott said...

Anon - I sent you an email, but here it is - schmoofaloof74@gmail.com

Aimee - Absolutely. They apparently do savouries too!

Helen - Yes, this is not a place of old lady cake. But it's freaking delicious...

Anon - I have no idea how you might, perhaps get in touch with @LondonChinatown? I'm hoping to make Da Pan Ji soonest!

Anonymous said...

Oh good....I hope you post about it....I mean the Da Pan Ji. :-) Thanks for the Chinatown twitter account.

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of checking this place out today based on your recommendation, so thanks for the heads up. And it's lovely to think I was raised about 200 yards up at the top of Choumert Road 40yrs ago. :)

Nice work. :)

Mr P.

Catherine said...

Re chicken pie, I took mine home and had it with some veg and salad for dinner. Gorgeous pastry and think the filling had chestnuts as well as chicken.

Ginandcrumpets said...

Remembered your post about this place when I was in Peckham this weekend, so sought them out for a late Sunday breakfast and had the most wonderful lemon tart. Really, really good. And the cakes they were sending out for parties looked stunning. Glad it's not that close to my house or I would soon stop being able to see my feet.