*Aside is now closed until further notice.
What’s the draw
Aside by name, aside by nature: this haven of beechwood and Ikea-like uniformity is a proper under-the-radar neighbourhood gem. Tucked away in a side of Peckham you might not normally see, this stripped-back residential restaurant goes big on seasonal British flavours with fresh but comforting dishes – a complete contrast to the hearty soul food gracing the menu of Coal Rooms, its sister restaurant down the road in Peckham Rye station.
What to drink
If you’ve got a thing for booze diluted in a pint of syrupy juice – with a garnish that threatens to take your eye out at every sip – then we suggest you stick to wine, because you won’t see hide nor hair of mixers or awkward embellishments on the cocktail menu here. Aside takes it’s serves back to the golden ages of martinis and manhattans, when spirits were left to speak for themselves – and boy, do the spirits do just that. Just one punchy Rob Roy (which sees a tiny mirabelle plum submerged in a house blend of three different scotches, served in a nosing glass) is enough to see you through to dessert, and if you’re looking for something sweet for afters, we’d suggest ordering the Cent’ Ani, a sherbetty concoction that finishes with a hint of rose.
What to eat
The menu moves seamlessly from smaller plates to mains. Quite literally, as there’s no textual divide – so if you want to avoid being cast in a twisted version of Lady and the Tramp, after finding yourself, as we did, accidentally sharing a helping of delicate celeriac and chestnut soup (we thought it would be baked celeriac, alright...) – it’s best to pop all the questions and get chatting to your lovely waiter. Aside’s setup is less about individual, standalone dishes and more about building a meal, family dinnertime style, across multiple communal plates. And if you want our recommendations, then we’d suggest balancing the caramelised, buttery pumpkin with crunchy hazelnuts and bright purple kalibos cabbage against the rich gamey flavours of the flame-kissed venison and jerusalem artichoke and quince ketchup. Fried potato stacks with garlic mayo are a side worth seeing on your table, too, and if you can manage it, make sure to see off the evening (and your ability to open your mouth for ten minutes) with an unbelievably luscious and sticky chocolate and clementine pudding.
Small plates from £3; larger plates from £16. Wine from £4.5 by the glass. 56 Goldsmith Road, SE15 5TF; asidelondon.com