I’ve been in London for 12 years, and spent most of those in complete ignorance of South London. I wasn’t disrespectful of it, I just didn’t have much of a reason to go there. Everything interesting seemed to be in North London, especially North East.
That’s nonsense, I realise now. I’m not even talking about New Cross or Deptford, which I know have had the Goldsmiths effect of interesting things happening for years. I’m talking the more suburban bits in the environs of the South East. Friends live in Camberwell, Crystal Palace, and Beckenham, and they’re brilliant. Lots of space, good cafes and bars, and apparently loads of woods, parks and other greenery.
I’m being patronising here, but I don’t mean to, I feel bad I’ve not realised how interesting it is down there. The mixture of suburbia and artisticness makes it a cute world of hidden surprises. This is traditionally where new wonderful eccentric things happen in creativity in the UK, not the forced open-plan creative spaces of Shoreditch.
Anyway, to the Vegan angle here. I had a walk yesterday from Crystal Palace Park to Nunhead Cemetery along the Green Chain which takes you through woods, two cemeteries (both active – one even had a funeral happening as I walked through it. What do you do in the modern age? I removed my sunglasses in lieu of having a hat to remove – was that OK?), and the lovely Horniman Gardens, en route to one of London’s old elaborate overgrown 7 graveyards. The Horniman Gardens include the Horniman Museum which I feel like I should have a Vegan Problem with due to the large amount of taxidermy, but which I actually think is a good source of knowledge for learning about, and having respect for, how spectacular animals are. Entirely inconsistent with my general hardline view that taxidermy is awful and disrespectful to animals, but I’m allowed to be inconsistent, I’m only human. Perhaps that’s for a future post.
Anyway, get to the point, Phillips. On this walk, I diverted to the Blue Brick Cafe on Fellbrigg Road in East Dulwich, which had seemed like the best option in the advice of our Vegan Deity, Happy Cow. I sat next to a small barky dog, and ordered the “Vegan Salad” – always nice when you don’t need to check it’s Vegan and the food’s name tells you. They even chucked in a sausage to go with it, which is strange but wonderful, and was in response to me dilly-dallying over whether a starter portion would be enough. You just never know do you?
Sausage and Salad – A Classic combo
The salad included squash, tomato, leaves, seeds and walnuts. It was a fine salad, and it wasn’t the only Vegan option on show at this little local cafe. A great laidback gem, although I bet it’s a lot more manic on the weekends.
So if you’re dismissive of South London like I used to be, don’t do it. Go walk through some woods and graveyards and eat a brilliant lunch.
(You probably realised South East London was great years ago, and this blog is really embarrassing)
Footnote – I now realise I did go to South West London a fair bit over the years, but Richmond, Twickenham, Kingston, Kew and all that are too close to the River and too Surrey-ish to actually count as London, right?
Footnote 2 – I had this excellent Polenta slice salad in the Gallery Cafe today. It’s strange including it in this blog post, but I didn’t think it needed its own blog post and I took a photo of it which shouldn’t go to waste, so…here it is! Yum. Hurrah.
Polenta and Salad – A More Traditional combo