02 July 2021

At Pedler Good Fortune, a Feast from the East

One of my all-time favourite meals in London was the first time my friends and I visited the original Pedler on Peckham Rye. We were there for the neighbourhood eatery's soft launch in 2014, and with 50% off food and five of us present, we got to make that wonderful order: "We'll take one of everything." As predicted, we all returned regularly, celebrating birthdays, babies and boozy brunches, usually featuring a Little Bird gin cocktail (they're owned by the same people). But although the restaurant was beautifully designed, it could feel crowded even in the beforetimes, and unfortunately, after one lockdown too many, Pedler closed its doors for good. 

Luckily, however, it has now reopened as Pedler Good Fortune in a new location on Queens Road, still in Peckham but a mile northeast. The delicious food, great décor and excellent service remain the same, but when I visited one evening last week, there were some exciting changes too.

A few doors down from Queens Road Overground station, Pedler Good Fortune is in good company, with Mamma Dough and Blackbird Bakery as neighbours. You'll know you've arrived when you spot the 'Pedler Good Fortune' / 'Lucky Gin' design on the front window — Lucky Gin is the ground floor cocktail bar, while the restaurant is in the basement. There are also a few tables outside, separated from the pavement by some substantial foliage.

Downstairs, the décor is bright and colourful, with whimsical designs and neon accents, including the lucky cat that has become Pedler Good Fortune's new sigil. It's all a bit much and I love it. While I wait for my friend to arrive, I browse the drinks menu. Most of the cocktails feature Little Bird gin, and like the food menu, ingredients, techniques and recipes from various Asian cuisines predominate.

Throughout the evening, I sample three of the cocktails. The Not Another Singapore Sling (mezcal, cheery liqueur, Little Bird, Benedictine, angostura, lime, pineapple and soda) is my favourite — not just because it came with a cocktail umbrella, I promise; it was the perfect combination of sweet, sour and bitter. The Yum Cha Old Fashioned (pineapple rum, chrysanthemum sugar and Mr Lee's Secret Chinese Bitters)  is very good too, although more of a sipper.

We aren't at a soft launch this time, but thanks to the Fortunate Feast options on the menu, we can at least sample a fair proprotion of the menu. Dishes are arrranged by size into four groups (plus nibbles and sides), and the smaller of the two feasts allows you to choose one dish from each section, plus shrimp crackers and all of the sides (£58). This is plenty of food for 2–3 people, so it's very good value. 

Pedler describe the menu as follows:

We’re inspired by many traditional dishes and then we add a Pedler style ‘twist’. The rich traditions and cultures of the Asian countries make it possible for Chef G, and his team to use their imaginations and create some incredible foodie combinations!

Our two smaller dishes are the crab and green mango salad with chilli, basil and mint, and the Singaporean sauteed asapargus with ginger, egg yolk and sausage. They are both delicious and very different from each other. The chorizo-esque sausage is probably my favourite element, and I want to return to try the prawn and cod dumplings and the peanut butter buns.

For the larger plates, we get the slow-braised beef short rib and Mr G's whole sticky bream (G being the chef). I am starting to get full, but the beef is so tender and flavoursome and the fish, in a soy, ginger and honey glaze, is beautifully cooked. With okonomiyaki (which I've loved since I tried them in Hiroshima) and duck pancakes also on the menu, it's really hard to narrow down your choices even when you are ordering four of them. The sides — coconut rice, Katsu fries and chow mien — are good too, but we prioritize the main dishes, which are too delicious not to finish. Needless to say, we don't have room for dessert.

As noted above, the service is impeccable, just like it was at the original Pedler. The wait staff are all very friendly and welcoming, offering recommendations and menu guidance. And if you're a fan of Pedler's epic brunch, fear not: brunch is back, with brunch classics (including the excellent Full Pedler) alongside dishes from the evening menu. Queens Road, Peckham, is very lucky to have one of south-east London's best neighbourhood restuarants in its own neighbourhood.

Pedler Good Fortune. 169 Queens Road, London, SE15 2ND (Queens Road (Peckham) Overground). Website. Instagram.

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