What: Located in a restored former Grade II listed train ticket office in Peckham, Coal Rooms occupies the office that was originally part of Peckham Rye’s train station in the 1930s.
Who: The new venture is from the team behind the cafe Old Spike Roastery and restaurant Aside, both in Peckham, and all-day cafe, bar and restaurant Spike + Earl in Camberwell. The kitchen is headed by chef Sam Bryant, whose CV includes Smokehouse in Islington, Princess of Shoreditch and Norfolk’s Dabbling Duck. James Galton, also from Smokehouse and most recently the Chicken of the Woods supper club in Hornsey Town Hall, is the restaurant’s general manager.
The vibe: It doesn’t look like a ticket office any more, that’s for sure. The team has opted for clean, minimalist look of whitewashed walls, beach furniture and a black and grey colour palette that complement the bright and airy space thanks to the building’s large arched windows. By day, it’s a 24-seater cafe, but by night everything changes with an expanded room that features 13 seats around the sunken, open-plan kitchen that give the feel of a chef’s table and space for 30 covers in the dining room.
The menu: The food changes throughout the day with a breakfast offer that includes the likes of a coffee-cured bacon sandwich with a choice of three cuts of bacon - cured on site - and scrambled eggs with sriracha mayonnaise, cheese, chives and hot dog onions. The now de rigueur flatbread forms much of the lunchtime offer with toppings that include pig’s cheek, xo sauce and crackling and crab rarebit, egg yolk and samphire. By night, things get a lot more meaty with Bryant’s menu making extensive use of a robata grill and coal ovens as well as the restaurant’s on-site butchery with dishes such as Mangalitsa cowboy steaks and 40 day-aged Dexter sirloin. Lighter options include dishes of oatmeal, sherry, crispy chicken skin, burnt leeks and summer truffle; and roasted cod’s head, cracked barley kedgeree and egg yolk; while sides include smoked eel and pig’s head sausage with gooseberry sauce; roasted bone marrow curry; and broad bean ragout, green olive, feta and preserved lemons. The house sauces that accompany many of the dishes are somewhat unusual, and include ‘red eye’ gravy, crab apple jelly, jerk caramel, and greengage and mead ketchup.
And another thing: The capital is home to a few disused stations that could one day become restaurants, the main contender being Down Street, a ‘ghost station’ in Mayfair on the Piccadilly line. But any restaurateur would likely need to dig deep into their pockets for it.
11a Station Way, Peckham Rye Station