Test Driving Cafe Britaly - not for the purists, but it's a lot of fun

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamLooking into Cafe Britaly from the door (there's also some handy counter dining towards the back).

Is this the place that caused quite the kerfuffle over its fried egg carbonara?

That's the one. When we wrote about the upcoming opening of Cafe Britaly and its Britalian mix of British and Italian produce and dishes the photo that accompanied our story of their carbonara with a fried egg on top had one hell of a reaction on social. But if you were thinking this was just a gimmick then learning who's behind this new Peckham restaurant might change your mind.

Who's the chef?

Chef Alex Purdie was sous chef at Bocca di Lupo and most recently senior chef at Bouchon Racine while co-owner Richard Crampton-Platt spent the last eight years at Bocca di Lupo. It's fair to say both of them know their way around an Italian menu.

Where is it?

You'll find the cafe on Rye Lane in the heart of Peckham. It's just a few minutes from Peckham Rye station.

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamThis is what you're looking for

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

If you're coming here on a sunny day you could do as we did and swing by the rooftop bar of Forza Wine further up the street for frozen cocktails. If the weather isn't playing ball, the ground floor Jazu Bar in the same building is also a vibey spot. If you're after a pint then the nearby Montpellier is probably your best bet.

So what exactly is on the menu?

This is what they say about their food: "Cafe Britaly will serve nostalgic renditions of beloved Italian dishes, viewed from the perspective of the British isles, alongside British classics updated with Italian ingredients."

On the menu that translates to an all-day breakfast section, snacks and main and an evening special that changes during the week. On the night we were there it was chicken Milanese.

Here's what we had to give you a flavour of what to expect:

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamPizzetta crunch (£6.90) - deep fried margherita pizza, a Neapolitan classic.

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamPorchetta and green sauce (£12.50) - we love a bit of porchetta at the best of times and this one complete with crackling was a belter. NB - this makes a return to the menu on Sundays when it's paired with Yorkshire pudding and roasties.

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamBritalian carbonara (£14) made with guanciale and - wait for it - both cream and a fried egg, to horrify the purists. That said, the idea of fried egg and noodles is pretty much de rigeur in South East Asia so maybe we could get on board too?

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamFish finger sandwich (£12) - a doorstopper of a sandwich featuring battered salted coley in a sandwich slathered with red and tartare sauce and served with some great chips. We'd have preferred that batter to be a little more crispy though.

What's on the menu for vegetarians?

There's plenty on offer, from the full vegetarian breakfast (polenta bubble and squeak, fried egg, beans, greens and fried pizza dough) to that fried pizza and two pasta options, one of which is vegan

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamDatterini bruschetta (£6) - loaded up with tomatoes, taggiasca olives and tropea onion.

Room for dessert?

You're definitely going to need to leave room when options include these two:

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamZuppa inglese (£8.20) Italian trifle featuring a liqueur-soaked sponge layered with custard and topped with almonds and cream

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamRice pudding arancini (£6.50) - apparently what makes rice pudding even better is forming it into balls and deep-frying it, oh and serving it up with stewed rhubarb and orange.

What about the drinks list?

There's a short list of cocktails - and in the summer their Negroni Sbagliato or Cornish Sundowner are both must-tries. Wine is decently priced with a couple of reds and whites starting at £5.50 a glass. Right now the only sparkling option is by the bottle, but hopefully they'll have a by-the-glass option soon.

cafe britaly restaurant review peckhamDon't leave without having a snifter of the fabulous Limoncello made by Silco down in St Ives (£5). It's like summer sunshine in a glass.

Overall thoughts:

While the headlines over the arrival of this fusion cafe just off Peckham High Street might have focused on the presumption of horror on the part of Italians beholding some of the dishes here, in practice the food here is fun and delicious. The cafe's a bright, colourful spot and whether you're here for the all-day brekkies or pasta in the evening it's worth checking out. But maybe leave your Nonna at home.


More about Café Britaly

Where is it? 191 Rye Lane, London SE15 4TP

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @cafe.britaly

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Cafe Britaly. Prices correct at time of publication. 


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