Located in one of the arches under the railway line, Secondo is a delightful cafe and second hand clothing emporium. The arch is crammed with all manner of retro clothing, furnishings, there's even a caravan and a dinky bubble car! The menu is great and customers can request bigger portions if required to give strength to sort through the vast selection of vintage and retro clothing. A DJ plays music from the 1950s and 1980s in the caravan on Friday and Saturday evenings. Great idea, great place.
Gorgeous food on a mouthwatering menu: no wonder it's heaving at lunchtime. I choose the earlier breakfast with the divine eggs benedict, a huge variety of breakfasts, including the Full English, Veggie and Turkish (hash browns, halloumi, olives - yum), omelettes and sandwiches. For lunch, visitors are also spoiled for choice with spag bol, curries, burgers, panini, jacket potatoes and salads. This is all washed down with smoothies, drinking yoghurts and great coffees. Get in early to get a seat in this lovely bistro/cafe, with its foliage and scrubbed wooden tables.
Love Walk Cafe & Deli
81 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8RS
+44 207 703 9898
Open Mon-Fri 07.00-19.00, Sat 08.00-19.00, Sun 09.00-19.00
Overground to Denmark Hill, bus 35, 45, 68, 468
Google map: bit.ly/pdCHli
I love mooching about in second-hand bookshops and London is packed full of them. I discovered a great place recently when sheltering from the summer rain after a lunch in Greenwich.
Halcyon Books is lined up to the high ceiling with shelves bursting with second-hand, out-of-print and new books on every subject under the sun.
It is possible to browse online and buy via email but there's really nothing like the smell of dusty old books to inspire and excite. It doesn't travel through the ether.
On my visit, all the second-hand books were selling for £1 each and I picked up some incredible bargains: a giant English-French-English dictionary and a massive Readers' Digest Complete Atlas of the British Isles. Two quid well spent!
There are so many great pubs in Camberwell, it can be hard to choose between them, but the Hermit's Cave has something extra: cider!
The small, slightly cramped pub has on tap about a dozen ciders, still and sparkling, and several versions of scrumpy, cloudy and clear.
Many come from Somerset, home of the legendary apple juice and it's a great place for a refreshing drink after doing sport in the summer sun, after all, apples are part of the necessary five (fruit) a day.
28 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8QU
+44 207 703 3188
Open Mon-Sat 11.00, Sun 12.00-22.30
Google map: bit.ly/n2dPRO
Buses 12, 35. 36, 45, 68, 171, 345, 436, 468 to Camberwell Green
This delightful Turkish cafe and restaurant has long been a favourite with Camberwell foodies, but it has recently reopened after renovation and is even better. Vast trays of sticky baklava and other tasty pastries, drenched in honey and speckled with pistachio nuts, fill the window and it's virtually impossible to pass by without being tempted inside for a bite. Tadim serves everything from pizza to meze, moussaka to croissants. There are toasted sandwiches, strong, thick coffees and a huge range of vegetarian delicacies. Tadim is a really friendly place, summed up by their motto: 'Love all & serve all'. Sweet.
41 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8TR
+44 207 277 2910
Open daily 08.00-23.00
Buses 12, 36, 68, 171, 345, 436, 468 to Camberwell Green
Google map: bit.ly/qVNbNK
Clinging on for grim death to the back of the Elephant’s concrete behemoth shopping centre, the Charlie Chaplin is certainly an experience. Whether it’s one I would recommend to those of a delicate constitution is another matter, but for thrill-seekers, those intent on exploring the seamier side of London life and drinkers who can’t face going home after all other pubs in the area have long since closed, it’s the perfect venue for a bizarre night out. As soon as we walked through the door, it was clear this was no average pub. I nearly jumped out of my skin when greeted by a large mannequin with a zombie face who could have been an extra from Michael Jackson's Thriller video: surely this wasn’t Chaplin? A plaque on the corner of Walworth Road and East Street market announces that the great silent film era entertainer was born just down the road. The interior is quite run-down but there’s a pool table and a darts board. There’s also a complicated code for the ladies’ loo, which is a good bonding method with the scary, yet surprisingly friendly locals. A cat appears at closing time to shoo off stragglers complete the ‘American Werewolf in London’ ambience. You have been warned.
26 New Kent Rd, Elephant & Castle, London, SE1 6TJ
+44 207 703 6117
Nearest tube: Northern or Bakerloo Line to Elephant & Castle
Open until midnight
Google map: bit.ly/pXlWgI
The café has all manner of taste treats to tempt art lovers inside its bright white walls. The café is at the front, with a massive shop window facing the street. The cakes are homemade and the snacks and sandwiches are prepared from fresh, healthy ingredients. The menu changes regularly. The gallery behind supports local artists and emerging talents. There are often private views and anybody can pop in.
70 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8QZ
+44 207 358 4475
Open Mon—Sat 09.00—18.00
Buses 12, 36, 436, 345, 171, 68, 468 to Camberwell Green
Google map: bit.ly/qa7iD4
This small, bright café serves Vietnamese sandwiches, baguettes and coffee at a bargain £1 a cup. Everything is freshly prepared and great value. The famous Bahn Mi sandwich combines delicious Vietnamese ingredients such as pickled cucumber and carrot, fish sauces, coriander, marinated beef and caramelized roasted pork with ingredients dating back to French colonialism in Vietnam; pate, mayonnaise and long crusty baguettes. A really great venue for morning coffee or a tasty lunchtime snack.
75 Denmark Hill, London SE5
+44 207 703 2531
Open Mon—Sat 09.00-17.00, for breakfast & lunch
Getting there: bus 35, 45, 68, 345, 468 to Denmark Hill
Google map: bit.ly/qDDJYU
Gallipoli Bazaar offers delicious Lebanese and Turkish dishes in a luxuriously decorated setting. The restaurant is long and thin but crammed to the rafters with shining lamps, mirrors, cushions, exotic paintings and dimly lit to give all diners a flattering hue. The daily specials - I had grilled red mullet - are highly recommended and they do a splendid falafel. Belly dancing is a new feature too ... and shisha pipes for puffing on outside on the pavement terrace.
I never thought a pub in St John's Wood could be such good value, but it is connected to a Sam Smith's brewery and when I ordered a pint of bitter and the charming landlord said '£2.11', I nearly fainted and had to be revived with a stiff drink. Situated in the leafy, upmarket suburbs, not far from the Beatles' Abbey Road pedestrian crossing, this pub is a little run-down, with frayed carpets and not much in the way of decoration. Sam Smiths' pubs also have a 'no music' policy, which is a refreshing change. There's a good selection of pub food and it's a good old unpretentious boozer, packed out on a Friday with locals and office workers, even a soldier came in dressed in full uniform with medals gleaming, to complete the military motif.
Last night I finally made it up to the 10th floor of Peckham's multi-storey carpark, after several failed attempts, to discover another world ... hundreds of art students milling around, drinking pale ale and cocktails, munching on scrummy nibbles, flirting, discussing the art installations, but most of all, gazing in wonder at the magnificent view: all of London laid out in 360-degree spleandor, shimmering in the sunset, from the O2 arena, past the Shard, St Pauls, the London Eye, the Post Office Tower, before spinning around to catch the Crystal Palace tower in the corner of the eye. Frank's Bar is part of the Bold Tendencies art project and 15 artists have been commissioned to produce and show work in 2011. The bar stays open throughout the summer.
Frank's Cafe and Campari Bar
10th floor, Peckham Multi-storey carpark,
95a Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST
+44 758 288 4574
Open July 1 to Sept 30, Tues-Sun 11.00-22.00
Food served 12.00-14.30 & 18.00-22.00
Bus 12 to Rye Lane
Google map: bit.ly/n7IQZY
Struggling through the hordes of tourists and shoppers in Portobello Road street market can be a pretty exhausting business. The newly renovated Organic Kitchen provides all kinds of healthy dishes and organic wines to aid recovery. It's a little haven of calm, decorated in tasteful shades of brown, with swift service, the best pizzas north of the Thames and the kindest, friendliest waitresses around. The Italian-inspired menu has salads, bruschetta, antipasti and soups for starters, then some favourites such as shepherd's pie, salmon and haddock fish cakes or braised pork belly with Savoy cabbage. Leave room for the apple and rhubarb crumble too.
207-209 Portobello Road, London W11 1LU
+44 207 792 7999
Open Tue-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-22.00
Nearest tube: Central or Circle Line to Notting Hill Gate
Google map: bit.ly/q0mvTB
If you're up in the tourist-packed Castle District (Varnegyed) on a steamy summer's day and long for a quiet sit-down and an authentic Hungarian lunch, stroll along Fortuna utca (street) to Pest Buda.
This traditional 'vendeglo' or local, family-run eaterie, dates back to 1948 and has been renovated to keep all the original features such as the wine bar in the cellar where you can see the cave walls (Buda Hill is almost hollow and riddled with caves and passages).
Diners enjoy Hungarian home cooking on red checked tablecloths and, while munching, admire the Pest Buda carpets; vignettes of old Budapest life which have been scanned in and made into wallpaper.
One of the favourites on the menu is 'kenyer langos' (a kind of 'bread flamed doughnut') advertised as Hungarian pizza and a substantial lunch of oven baked dough with Magyar toppings of sausage and lecso (ratatouille), duck breast and spinach or tomato and tangy sheep's cheese.
Pest Buda Vendeglo Bistro
Fortuna utca 3, Castle District, I. Budapest
Open daily 11.00-24.00
Metro to Moszkva ter (now called Szell Kalman ter) then Varbusz (Castle minibus) up the hill.
Google map: bit.ly/r3QEyc
Located next to the super-cool DiVino wine bar on Pest's trendy Szent Istvan ter (square), this cooling ice cream parlour serves up unusual and delicious ice creams.
The name 'Rosa' is not for nothing: the scoops for the cornets are artfully fashioned to resemble a blooming rose!
It might seem a bit kitsch, but actually it is beautifully done and the ice cream flavours are imaginative with such gorgeous creations as poppyseed (a Hungarian dessert favourite), lemon and basil, an authentic banana (usually a tricky ice to get right), and rich, dark chocolate.
1052 Budapest, Szent Istvan ter 3
+36 70 930 227
Google map: bit.ly/qiXR6j
DiVino is Budapest's latest uber-cool wine bar, found on the swanky, renovated square in front of the mighty Szent Istvan Basilika (Saint Stephen's Basilica).
It's connected to the fashionable Tigris restaurant and the class just oozes from every angle: from the sleek, chic, minimalist decor that lets full attention focus on the beautiful young things posing elegantly on low pinewood stools, to the endless list of wines and tasty, but pricey, nibbles, chalked up on the large blackboards above the bar.
The borbar (winebar) highlights 26 talented young Hungarian winemakers and a different winemaker is featured every week.
When I visited on opening night at the end of May, the winemaker to watch out for was Csaba Miklos and the coolest drink was a sparkling rose called Frici from the Gere vineyards. Refreshing, innovative and very, very hip. Just like DiVino.
Look out for the beautifully restored Art Deco facade and the white on black lettering reading 'Electrical Engineers' as you head up Peckham Rye for a stroll around the park.
Visitors are tempted inside this former electrical and hardware store by the beautiful furnishings, comfortable sofas, giant sanded dresser behind the bar and the collection of paintings by local artists adorning the walls. This cafe and art gallery hosts different exhibitions and private views every month. The cakes are all home-made and the menu includes some mouth-watering items such as smoked haddock, baby spinach and lemon fishcakes. The cafe/gallery opened in November 2010 and French manager Julie plans to incorporate a large deli, with meats, cheeses, home-baked bread and a vast range of tempting treats and there's an arts and crafts fair every Saturday morning on the leafy terrace, over the road from the Common. It's a wonderfully sophisticated, cultured yet friendly place to hang out in south Peckham.
184 Peckham Rye, London SE22 9AQ
+44 (0)203 490 3039
Open Mon-Sat 09.00-17.00, Sun 10.00-17.00
Evening openings and website coming soon
Bus No. 12 to Peckham Rye
Google map: bit.ly/p6WAxc
The Clock House is an amazing pub located right on Peckham Rye Common. It's a traditional inn, with polished wood and brass, many great bitters from Young's of Wandsworth, gorgeous stained glass windows, plenty of clocks and timepieces - obviously - and there's even a tiny cinema, where you can watch new releases in a friendly, 'front parlour' atmosphere. The menu is extensive with tapas and some great pub favourites: steak & ale pie, North Atlantic crab cakes, linguini with clams. The batter is made with best bitter and - joy of joys - there's home-made gravy! There's a 'snug' room at the back and outdoor seating on benches overlooking the leafy common. A real find.
All Fired Up is a really lovely little cafe where visitors can choose a piece of ceramic art, a teapot, a plate or a cup and saucer and then paint it themselves to create a unique, individual work of art and an unusual gift for a friend. At the same time, sustenance is available to aid the creative process, with all manner of home-made cakes, sandwiches, Italian coffees and teas on offer. The shop/cafe stocks wrapping paper and cards and is a great destination for birthday parties and nursery visits.
All Fired Up Ceramics Cafe
34 East Dulwich Road, London SE22 9AX
+44 (0)207 732 6688
Mon-Sat 09.30-18.00 (late opening to 22.00 on Thur), Sun 11.00-17.00
Bus 12 to Peckham Rye
Google map: bit.ly/nmVYDY
When I tell friends I know of a haven of peace and tranquility in Peckham I am often met with raised eyebrows, but it does exist! Peckham Rye Park is a beautiful oasis located to the south of the bustling, noisy streets.
Peckham was mentioned in 1087 in the Doomsday Book, when it was called Pecheha, an Anglo Saxon word meaning 'village among the hills'.
During the reign of Henry 1, Peckham was a farming village and the land was used for growing crops and fruit. By the 18th century it was famous for its melons, figs and grapes.
In 1767, William Blake visited Peckham Rye and had a vision of angels in an oak tree. The ''Angel Oak', as it was later called, has since disappeared
The park's original layout opened to the public in 1894. There is a large lake and several smaller ponds alive with noisy ducks and geese, a Japanese garden, arboretum, bowling green and woodland walks. My favourite spot is in the Sexby Gardens where plots of lavender give off a wonderfully soporific, mid-summer ambience.
During the Second World War, temporary huts were erected to detain Italian prisoners of war. One still remains, located next to the café.
Peckham Rye Park
Peckham, London SE22 0LR, +44(0)20 7525 1052
Open until 20.30 during the summer
Bus 12 to Peckham Rye
Google map: bit.ly/nBHHNT
Situated on the edge of Peckham Rye Park and right in the middle of Peckham Rye Common, this cafe is a fantastic place for a bite to eat, an ice cream or a sit down in the shade. Gone are the days of stale, curled up sandwiches and lukewarm coffee, now there are pitta, ciabatta, all-day breakfast butties, Rye burgers and tasty wraps. The ice cream comes from Jude's in Hampshire and I tried a divine blackcurrant crush sorbet. Very refreshing.
Strakers Road, Peckham Rye Common, London, SE15 3UA
+44(0)208 693 9431
Open Mon-Thur 09.00-17.30, Fri-Sun 09.00-18.00
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org