West Norwood Food Week: 13th – 21st June

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So this is pretty exciting. The brains behind West Norwood FEAST (who we’ve raved about here) have come up with a whole week’s worth of foodie events aimed at pretty much everyone (well, except for those who don’t like food. But never mind those sorts.)

The week appears to be aimed at making the most of both the independent locations the town has to offer, and the sheer variety of food it boasts now too. The weekends are family orientated, while the weeknights have most international cuisines covered. If anything it’s a great opportunity to try out a new place in the area. The list is as follows:

13th June – A Taste of Victorian History – Foodie Cemetery Tour in West Norwood

14th June – Remember your childhood with a free family picnic

15th June – Share a Bangladeshi Family Feast at Lal Baag

16th June – A British Celebration Supper at the Tulse Hill Hotel (check out our views on their menu if you need any further convincing)

17th June – Summer Sharing Feast under the Stars at The Great North Wood (check out our thoughts on their brunch and dinner offerings)

18th June – Share an Italian Summer Dinner at The Garden Gastro Bar

19th June – A DIY DJ evening, with local craft beers and paella at the Book and Record Bar

20th June – A Summer Afternoon of Art in the Park and Picnicking in Norwood Park

21st June – A Taste of the Caribbean – A Midsummer Evening at the Portico Gallery

You can book your place via Grub Club (we used this facility to book our visit to PaoCha and it’s worth bookmarking for unique pop ups in the capital). If you’re interested in the British Celebration Supper, email eat@tulsehillhotel.com.

We’ve got our eating trousers on and ready…

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Forza Win, Peckham: Spring Chicken

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We didn’t know what to expect when signing up to Forza Win.

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What used to be a pop-up establishment is now a full-blown event in an old cash and carry in Copeland Park, Peckham.

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Check out their website for examples of past ‘projects’, turning basic locations like rooftops and pickle factories into feasting halls.

The set menu for the evening

The set menu for the evening

It’s a basic set up that really works – arrive between 7:30-8pm to take your seat (anywhere goes, it’s just a case of parking your bottom where there’s space) at one of the long tables. You’re encouraged to get to know your neighbours as ultimately you’ll be sharing dishes with them.

Limoncello mojitos were served on arrival

Limoncello mojitos were served on arrival

As soon as you enter, you’re enveloped in a warm atmosphere. Quite literally, too – the barbecue helps to heat the whole place and the woody smells reminded us of summer festivals (without the grim portaloo aspect, obvs).

Chickens for all! Food is cooked over the fire pit

Chickens for all! Food is cooked over the fire pit

Forza Win’s forte is Italian food using locally sourced ingredients. It’s a set menu and the price of the food (and aperitif – here it’s a limoncello mojito) are included in the £35 ticket price. Water is readily available on the table but if you want more drinks, you can order at their makeshift bar.

Homemade sausage served with cabbage and carrot to start

Homemade sausage served with cabbage and carrot to start

It’s a smooth operation run by a small group of individuals splitting duties into front of house, drinks server and a group of chefs. Dishes are served one by one; first up we had their homemade sausage with carrots and cabbage, then followed a series of greens before the main event – their 100 day old spring chicken.

Celeriac with apple

Celeriac with apple

Blackened leeks with Parmesan

Blackened leeks with Parmesan

Let’s just say you don’t go hungry. The ingredients might seem simple but everything has a delicious twist – think lemon and chilli infused broccoli with almonds and cheesy leeks. Platters of food are laid down with the intention of splitting between six people, and even if you think you’ll struggle to share fairly, you don’t – you won’t go hungry.

Serve yourself the chicken, with blackened potatoes and more greens

Serve yourself the chicken, with blackened potatoes and more greens

For those who aren’t ardent meat eaters, the chefs offer a vegetarian option too, so there’s no missing out. For those who are, enjoy some pictures of chicken.

Mismatched plates and cutlery add to the homely feel

Mismatched plates and cutlery add to the homely feel

All gone: this chicken had no chance with us

All gone: this chicken had no chance with us

The atmosphere is so friendly, it feels like a party. The staff seem to have just as good a time as you even when they’re flat out, and while you can’t always guarantee you’re sitting next to sociable people, usually your love of food translates and that’s it, you’re off chatting away.

They’ve just added some new dates for this particular event in May, so sign up before it’s too late.

As well as this seasonal event, they’ve just started ‘Awesome Sauce’ on Wednesdays, serving a plate of pasta with a glass of wine for £10.

As for us, we’ll be stalking their website to find out what their summer project is set to be…

Forza Win, Unit 4.1, 133 Copeland Road, SE15 3SN. 

The Hamlet, Streatham High Road

A one minute walk from Streatham Hill station, we learnt a few facts upon entering The Hamlet; Streatham means the hamlet on the street, or ‘street ham’, hence the namesake of the town and bar. We visited over the Jubilee weekend and it was deserted. Yes, we chose bar dwelling over standing on Southbank in the drizzle to greet our Queen.

We stayed for lunch. A few thoughts on our experience:

*The service was wonderful. We were greeted by the owner, Elsa, who recognised us as new to the area (was it that obvious?). She asked our names and remembered them throughout our visit. Service may well be different when the place is packed to the rafters but we felt welcome and appreciated.

*The decor is quaint. Printed wallpaper on the ceiling, antique lampshades, squashy leather sofas. A very cosy setting for a leisurely drink – we felt right at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The drink selection is very spirits-based. If you like your cocktails you’re in for a treat. Ditto wine. The prices are competitive, but of course you can always take advantage of happy hour. Our daytime visit meant we stuck to draft beer, of which the range was limited. But it’s a bar, and the drinks selection reflects that.

*We ordered roast beef, plus sausages and mash. The roast came with courgettes as a side veg – a very odd addition (we’re a big carrot/pea/parsnip with our roast, though). The meat was thinly sliced and the meal was ‘ok’, but like beer, certainly not their strength. The sausages were plump and tasty (gristle-free) but the mash was a little salty. For the price we paid (around £10 per meal) it was a little disappointing. We haven’t tried their dinner menu, so we can’t comment on that – it could arguably be a lot tastier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We won’t be put off, though. We can tell The Hamlet has its strengths – it prides itself on its DJ and other social entertainment, so we’ll be back soon for a stiff cocktail and a mixed sharing platter to feast over.