It’s easy to see why restaurateurs are attracted to this cosseted corner of South East London: its residents have cash and they’re willing to part with it for a good feed. It’s not all plain-sailing, though. The competition is fierce, especially on the main drag, Lordship Lane, and gossipy locals (as found on the East Dulwich Forum) make mincemeat of anything not up to scratch. The survivors are a curious intersection of neighbourhood restaurants, chain eateries just the right side of cool and buzzy cocktail bars.Read More
The 9 Best Places to Eat in East Dulwich
From a very literal platform for ambitious chefs to one of London’s only Alsatian restaurants
1. Franco Manca
Nothing says there are culinary riches to be made quite like Franco Manca turning up on your doorstep demanding a slice of the action. Taking over the space left behind by Draft House, which sadly never really took off, the sourdough pizza joint has hit the ground running since setting up shop in 2015. In Dulwich and practically everywhere else you can think of, the combo of “keep it simple, stupid” pizzas, sharp service and handy prices seems to be a winning one.
2. Bonne Bouffe
For some reason French cuisine has always been richly represented in this moneyed enclave (there’s your first clue) of South East London. La Bonne Bouffe, a recent opening from the folk behind Bermondsey Arts Club, is the latest in a long line of successful French restaurants. While its slightly prissy name suggests 70s-style frogs legs suspended in aspic, the reality is modern and enticing: full-blooded bistro dishes washed down with French wines and cocktails.
Seasonal and provenance-focussed before such a thing was remotely de rigeur, Franklins has been around since the late nineties and occupies a treasured spot in locals’ hearts, as much for the warm eccentricity of its ownership as the unfussy nature of St John-style dishes such as black pudding on toast and salt beef rillettes and pickles. Any questions as to the quality of the ingredients are quickly put to bed by a visit to its bountiful farm shop next door.
4. The Palmerston
London SE22 8EP, UK
Most of East Dulwich’s pubs (and they are legion) tout themselves with the much-maligned prefix these days but The Palmerston remains SE22’s original and probably most consistent gastropub. While the likes of EDT and The Actress are good choices for a boozy evening out with a bit of food thrown in, here it is the other way round. Its cosy backroom dining area is formal, but not stuffily so, and the kitchen applies a delicate touch to carefully-sourced ingredients in dishes like Cornish sea trout tartare with capers and dill.
5. Meatliquor East Dulwich
After a long wait, Burger worshippers in East Dulwich finally have a place to call their own. MeatLiquor arrived here in 2016 and judging by the regular queues outside, this meaty stalwart looks to be doing a roaring trade. With brashly-themed burgers, loaded fries and boozy shakes up for grabs, its offering is hardly subtle — who gives a damn when the patties are this drool-worthy.
6. Yama Momo
Yama Momo is a more recent venture for the team behind Clapham’s ever-popular Japanese restaurant, Tsunami. Its menu offers various kinds of tempura, sushi and sashimi, and main dishes led by a starring protein – think steamed sea bass invigorated by ponzu and sake. Speaking of sake, there is plenty of it on a drinks menu further enlivened with Japanese whiskies and beers.
7. The Flying Pig
Tucked away on a little row of shops straddling the East Dulwich/Peckham border, The Flying Pig pub has to fight a little harder for footfall than its Lordship Lane counterparts. It does so with a tempting menu of American Dude Food (the usual pulled pork burgers and jalapeno Mac ’n’ Cheese) and a revolving selection of ales from further afield. Its weekly Wings Nights are hot stuff; especially given five will set you back just £2.50.
8. The French House
If Alsatian cuisine is yet to register on your culinary radar, a trip to The French House will set you on a pleasing course.. Owner Audrey Michel’s enthusiasm for her native cuisine shines through in menus flush with tartes flambées (a sort-of thin, oblong pizza) and choucroute (the region’s answer to sauerkraut); cheeses and clafoutis, too. Ye-Ye music from Sixties-era France influences the playlist and decor, and the atmosphere is suitably banging as a result — though this being East Dulwich, children are welcome, too.
9. Terroirs East Dulwich
Formerly known as Toasted, this neighbourhood wine bar has lost none of its neighbourly charm since restaurant parent Terroirs assumed naming rights. The formula that has made Terroirs and its Clapham sibling Soif so successful is on full display here: eclectic wine lists with a good selection by the glass, classy charcuterie boards, and seasonal, modern European cooking. There’s not too much more to say about Terroirs, largely because it so eloquently speaks for itself.