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Food critic Grace Dent found “the greatest vegetarian dish ever” at Levan, Peckham’s newest, coolest restaurant from the team behind Salon in Brixton

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Inside South London’s Newest Neo Bistro

Levan in Peckham is the second restaurant from the owners of Salon in Brixton

Ravioli with cavolo nero at Levan in Peckham
| Levan [Official Photo]

At the end of last month, chef-restaurateur Nicholas Balfe opened his follow-up restaurant, Levan in Peckham.

Balfe, who before opening his debut restaurant — Salon in Brixton in 2013 — worked under the Young Turks (Isaac McHale and James Lowe before they opened The Clove Club and Lyle’s, respectively) at the Ten Bells in Spitalfields, was among a group of chefs who acted as torchbearers of a British version of Parisian neo-bistro culture. He, like a number of others in the city in the early 2010s, moved to energise the fine-dining category in London, while simultaneously reframing what a local ‘bistro’ could be.

So to Levan, five years later, still south of the river, and a restaurant expressly “inspired by the new wave of bistronomy that began in the quartiers of Paris and has spread through the neighbourhoods of Copenhagen and Barcelona.”

As an all-day operation, Levan will “focus on contemporary European dishes, and low-intervention and natural wines.” The two-part restaurant in a converted warehouse block features a bar, with high tables and window ledges (for walk-in guests) and a dining room, decked out with handsome mahogany-topped tables and mid-century modernist chairs.

Take a look inside.

Levan is Peckham’s newest, coolest restaurant from the team behind Salon in Brixton Levan [Official Photo]

Levan will open early in the morning with pastries, baked on site, as well as sourdough tartines with house cured salmon, goat’s curd and pickled elderberries, and croque monsieur made with aged comte.

Paris Brest at Levan, Peckham’s newest, coolest restaurant from the team behind Salon in Brixton
A play on the Paris Brest dessert at Levan — espresso and hazelnut choux pastry
Levan [Official Photo]

Lunchtimes will “take their cue from bistro culture on the continent”: aiming to meet the demands of working lunches with dishes like potato, chanterelle and Vacherin pie; a salad of figs, candied walnuts and Tymsboro goat’s cheese; or a slice of apple tarte tatin with Ivy House cream.

Paris Brest, tarte tatin, and chocolate at Levan, Peckham’s newest, coolest restaurant from the team behind Salon in Brixton
Baked goods, including the tarte tatin, at Levan
Levan [Official Photo]
Burnt onions, comte fries, and ravioli at Levan, Peckham’s newest, coolest restaurant from the team behind Salon in Brixton
Top to bottom: burnt onion; ravioli; and fried comte potatoes with saffron aioli
Levan [Official Photo]

At dinner: “Small, inventive plates” double as snacks or starters. They’ll include Comté fries with saffron aioli; and boudin noir, egg yolk, and endive. Bigger dishes will include smoked pollack, spinach, asparagus and vin jaune; and 50-day aged rump cap, with wild garlic aioli and grilled calçots. In the spirit of Salon’s commitment to sustainability, the kitchen will apply whole-animal butchery and draw on seasonal local produce.

Balfe has said he’s looking forward to bringing his “sustainable approach to cooking” to a what he calls a more “European style” of restaurant, which will have a focus on wines made in the left-field. “We picked the name because we’re all huge fans of Larry Levan, an iconic music producer and DJ who essentially tore up the rulebook and wrote the blueprint for what dance music would become,” he said.

The window at Levan, Peckham’s newest, coolest restaurant from the team behind Salon in Brixton Levan [Official Photo]
The dining room at Levan, Peckham’s newest, coolest restaurant from the team behind Salon in Brixton Levan [Official Photo]
Table details at Levan, Peckham’s newest, coolest restaurant from the team behind Salon in Brixton Levan [Official Photo]

Levan, in Peckham, whose mid-century detailing is artfully captured here

The Clove Club

380 Old Street, , England EC1V 9LT 020 7729 6496 Visit Website

Salon

18 Market Row, , England SW9 8LD 020 7501 9152 Visit Website

Lyle's

56 Shoreditch High Street, , England E1 6JJ 020 3011 5911 Visit Website

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