Eat Here: Wildflower, PeckhamBy Alicia Grimshaw
With the fanfare of Peckham Levels not dying down anytime soon – it’s about time Wildflower, a veggie and vegan canteen located on the fifth floor, enjoyed some time in the spotlight. By a team who earns their stripes at the likes of The Roebuck, The Montpellier, and Edwins – they know their stuff. And yet again they’ve struck gold with their latest venture. Here’s why Wildflower should be next on your list:
Wildflower: The Lowdown
There’s good reason to journey to a multi storey car park in Peckham: head chef Joseph Ryan. Having worked up the ranks at Frank’s Cafe (conveniently located a few floors up), and Salon in Brixton – Ryan’s menus marry together flavours from the Middle East, Asia and the Mediterranean.
The space is vast; it’s low key, casual, there’s communal tables, hues of burnt orange, and plenty of plants which festoon the place. They host live music nights on Tuesdays and their weekend brunch has already gained popularity.
Wildflower: The Food
The menu changes on a weekly basis, but on our visit we ploughed through a range of veggie and vegan fare. All in the name of journalism, obviously.
The concept is a deeply sociable, fun one; you can feast to your heart’s content on sharing plates, and taste various organic wines. It’s a kind of easy, breezy style of eating, where you order a few plates for the table – basically allowing you to eat exactly what you’re in the mood for. Unlike the small plates that are dished out in some establishments, where they’ve taken the word ‘small’ quite literally, here the portions are generous. We say, order around 5-6 plates between two of you – depending on how hungry you are.
We start with the focaccia, studded with rosemary and drizzled in olive oil. Crusty on the outside, and bouncy and soft on the inside. Heaven.
The onion bhajis served with a dollop of curry creme fraiche is like a hand grenade to the palette; crunchy, flavoursome and the whole dish has a gentle, warming heat.
Taking its cues from the Middle East, Wildflower’s roasted cauliflower is an absolute triumph – the combination of smoky flavours, bitter tahini and the crunch of toasted seeds is just perfect, rounded off with a scattering of pomegranate.
Our favourite dish of the night is the wild garlic gnocchi with courgette, ricotta, pesto and rocket. The dish is wonderfully seasonal, and is pretty much a trio of the best things in life; cheese, garlic and carbs. And not forgetting the whole baked sweet potato – a perfect marriage of sweet and savoury flavours. A generous dollop of sesame yogurt and pickled chilli rounds this dish off in delicious style.
Wildflower: The Verdict
Wildflower is a buffet of impressive veggie and vegan plates. The restaurant doesn’t try to fill its menu with meat-like alternatives and to honest, it doesn’t need to – especially when they’re bringing beautifully presented, flavoursome and accomplished dishes to the table.
For more information, visit Wildflower’s website here.
Peckham Levels, Level 5, 95a Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST