08 September 2014

A Place in the Sun: Sun Café Review

Saturday was another one of those London weekend days where my friends and I just ended up wandering between places to eat and drink. The day started, as usual, in Maltby Street for gin bloody marys and "little pink cocktails" (AKA the Hummingbird Martini) at Little Bird. Much, much later, we found ourselves in a new pizza restaurant called Sun Café in the Camberwell–Peckham borderlands. I didn't have my camera with me, and my iPhone died during the meal, so the photos aren't the best, but you get the idea.

Some of my friends now live in Camberwell, and they tend to be my best source of new openings in their neighbourhood. Sun Café is on the corner of Havil Street and the bustling Peckham Road. It's also just across the road from Theatre Peckham so there's a lot going on nearby. The restaurant was pretty quiet on Saturday night — it's still pretty new — but because it was a nice evening, we chose to sit at one of the tables in the spacious courtyard at the back rather than in the spacious, well-designed interior. The courtyard has a built-in arch at the back, which would be great for live music.

Although there are a few salads — including the pun fans' favourite, You Feta Believe It — pizza is the main deal here. They have six well-priced regular pizzas and a pizza of the week. The special pizza last week was a bolognese pizza with green mozzarella (made using the colour, but not the flavour, of celery). I was very tempted, but I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to pizzas, especially in a new restaurant where the Margherita represents an excellent baseline to measure the restaurant's pizza quality.

To start, we shared some olives (£3) and a mini marinara pizza (£4), and got some drinks in. The cocktail menu is short but carefully curated; everything sounded creative and delicious. I ordered a Monsoon (£6.50), in which the coriander made a fab twist on the standard Dark & Stormy. It slipped down way too easy, but the strong, fresh smell of the coriander also gave me the impression that I wasn't being entirely unhealthy. They also do juices, a few wines and Prosecco (£5 for a glass or £22 for a bottle).

Between the four of us, we sampled three Margheritas (£7.50 each) and one Sorrentina (£8), which featured parmesan mousse, homemade pesto and parma ham. The pizzas were huge, but had quite a thin base and with the chewy, puffy crust that I always enjoy. The base also tasted a little like sourdough, but I'm not 100% sure about that; either way, the pizza was really good and we had to get a doggy bag for the extras. I say we but actually, I ate pretty much all of mine because I really like good pizza and because I'm greedy!

Afterwards, we went for a nightcap at The Pigeon Hole, which I've visited before for coffee, but not at night. A nice little Old Fashioned in surroundings that are like being in the living room of a very cool, stylish friend was a great way to finish the night.

As for Sun Café, I hope it does well. The food and drink were great and very reasonably priced. There isn't a huge amount of competition at present, but it may even be the best pizza I've had in south-east London. Praise indeed.

Sun Café. 29 Peckham Road, London, SE5 8UA (Tube: Denmark Hill or Peckham Rye Overground). Facebook. Twitter.

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