Catford is arguably most famous for The Catford Cat — a giant fibreglass feline poised above the entrance to The Catford Centre. It is not famous for its food scene. That said, there are some solid local spots and a monthly market, providing residents with dependable options. Fair warning: this map’s boundaries have been stretched into Ladywell, Hither Green and Crofton Park, in the interests of compiling a useful and realistic guide to the area’s best dining options.Read More
Where to Eat in Catford, South East London
Kolkatan and Malaysian specialities, a Neapolitan pizza to rival London’s big names, quality Caribbean street food, and more
Raastawala @ Catford Food Market
Catford Food Market brings some welcome street food options to the area on the last Sunday of each month, and Raastawala stands out with its generously filled kati rolls. The snack originated in Kolkata, traditionally comprising a kebab wrapped in paratha; British-born Bengali Rinku Dutt does it differently. Paratha is replaced with a substantial springy naan coated with a layer of spiced egg, and topped with a choice of protein and perky salad. Meat eaters will appreciate the capsaicin wallop of tender, 24-hour chilli-marinated lamb; a slosh of the award-winning coriander sauce is non-negotiable. It’s one of the best ways to spend £7 on a lazy Sunday morning.
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Sapporo Ichiban is a no-frills sushi restaurant with an almost cult-like status among Catford residents. Is it the best sushi in London? No. But there’s something wonderful about having a solid, satisfying fix on the doorstep, and anyway, not everything has to be the ‘best’ to be adored by its customers. This is not the place to find expertly cut fish meticulously moulded on to just-warm rice, but everything is fresh and good value. Newbies should try the ‘Fashion Sandwiches’ — the usual rice and fish fashioned into triangular snack form — just because they exist.
Catford Constitutional Club
This much-loved pub housed in an 18th century building is the apex of the Antic pub group’s shabby chic look, with considerable emphasis on the shabby. Many original fixtures and fittings remain and it’s a fascinating place to grab a pint and a bite — easily one of the best pubs in the area. The beer selection is particularly interesting and weighty sausage rolls are a fine way to soak it all up; larger meals, meanwhile, are best enjoyed from the ‘hearty British’ category. Pork chop or sausage and mash are solid choices, but pasta dishes generally delight, too.
Jerk Off BBQ @ Catford Food Market
Inspired by his Bajan heritage and food-centric upbringing, Daniel Maynard partnered with Cornish-born Helena to start this Caribbean street food business, now trading at Catford Food Market. Jerk is the main draw — the flavour more herbal than most and the marinade sweetened with molasses, bringing caramel depth to partner fragrance and heat. Look out for dishes from other Caribbean islands, including a Trinidadian vegetable curry and chips inspired by the Bajan national dish, coo coo.
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Van Dough Pizza
Founders Steph and James park their Citroen pizza van outside the Blythe Hill Tavern on Thursday and Friday evenings, providing a vital source of carbs to go alongside the booze. Pizzas are of the now ubiquitous Neapolitan style, with toppings sourced from small independents. Try the pepperoni from Moons Green butchery in east Sussex, hastily scarfed between pints.
Arlo and Moe HG
Arlo & Moe serves the best breakfasts in the area across two sites in Hither Green and Crofton Park, with all the usual egg and avocado options present and correct in homely, generous portions. Lunch choices are straightforward — sandwiches, frittatas, quiche — but things get exciting with weekly supper clubs from other cooks. Previous incumbents include Caribbean food from Theresa’s Kitchen and Vietnamese from the ever popular Saigon Streat. Service is swift and friendly with a charming, slightly scattered vibe.
Babur, on the very outskirts of Crofton Park, is south London famous. Opened more than 30 years ago, the restaurant serves Indian food spanning different regions, with a focus on smart presentation. Spicing is always robust and south Indian seafood dishes in particular harness the bright, distinct flavours of mustard seeds, coconut and curry leaves. The menu constantly evolves and service is consistently charming. As a side note, there is an excellent — and entirely separate — delivery kitchen, which sends home-style dishes no less sophisticated in flavour.
Malaysian Deli — actually more of a cosy café serving traditional Malaysian dishes — was founded by Brockley resident of 40 years Zaherah Rashid, and south London residents know this is the place to get their fix of roti canai and satay. The deli also does a mean nasi lemak: a dish traditionally eaten at breakfast comprising fragrant rice cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves, a choice of curry or rendang, hard-boiled egg, crispy anchovies, peanuts and sambal. The murtabak — a flatbread stuffed with spiced meat, onions and egg — makes a good takeaway option.
Perlant & Press
A lifeline for commuters and their hangovers, the Perlant & Press coffee and snack van was founded by a former employment lawyer who decided to jack it all in. The sausage rolls are made of lifesaving stuff, or more accurately, pork from The Proud Sow in Crofton Park, with a few secret ingredients thrown in. Spare milk — sourced from speciality coffee shops’ dairy of choice, Northam in Kent — is repurposed to make fudge, and that morning coffee rarely feels complete without a squidgy cinnamon bun from Rockstar Bakers in Brixton acting as a sidekick.
The Gold of Naples
Neapolitan Francesco Rapicano came to Hither Green via the Amalfi Coast, Cecconi’s and Shoreditch House. The pizzas are — no surprises here — Neapolitan style, and will give any of London’s more well-known names a run for their money. Bubbled crusts with signature chew are topped with Torrente tomatoes and fior di latte mozzarella imported from Naples. Try the pompei with Napoli salami or the vesuvio with fennel sausage and friarelli. Those feeling fruity should try the latter deep-fried.
Catford Bridge Tavern
Catford’s most famous pub has a troubled past. Saved from permanent closure in 2012 after a vigorous local campaign, it was devastated by fire three years later, reopening in 2017 under the current name. There’s an excellent range of local brews in bottle, including Catford Pride, whose label features the aforementioned Catford Cat. The beer is bolstered by a dependable menu of pub grub stalwarts — burgers, scotch eggs, and fish and chips. The cheese toastie is eminently satisfying, and the Toulouse sausages with creamy mash make for a garlicky, buckle-busting arrangement: the perfect pre-snooze Sunday lunch.