Sunday, 23 November 2014

Peckham, London: No Fools, No Horses!

Only fools and horses? Peckham showed me something quite the opposite, now who's the blinder fool?! How many times, how lies? I must put the blame on the media and the lack of exposure on lesser known parts of London especially in the South East of the city. I know full well that London has many different sides but Peckham opened up my eyes! Peckham kept it vibrant! 

Tower Bridge and Oxford Circus are okay but I challenge myself constantly each time that I visit London. After a recommendation I trusted the 78 bus to Peckham to see the fictional home of Del Boy and Rodney from Only Fools and Horses but was I mistaken? Yes! A fusion of Nigerian, Ghanaian and Jamaican culture fronted me without any warning, you know I favour some flavour in my life! I was left hungry after my visit to Woolwich in June 2014 so no one could test me! Absorbing the pumping Naija beats along the high street corner shops I loved life because that's my jam! I wasn't looking for a perfectly gentrified area because I know what that story looks like boy! Peckham, gave me nothing less than what I wanted. The new library looked swish but I was all about the unique shop fronts that served African fashion houses fit for an African bride. SE15, London's African-Caribbean corner. 

My inner African queen knew where to go for a new fashion forward hairpiece or weave, save your drama for this South East London town to serve your legendary style! Someone told me a big fat lie, the television show Only Fools and Horses was actually filmed in Bristol but that didn't make any difference during my time in Peckham. The high street towards Peckham Rye served South East London realness with its infectious beat of people making their way around the town, I didn't see many yuppie types so that impressed me much! Whereas in Woolwich I felt a more laid-back vibe even though the streets resonated a vibrancy that Woolwich possessed. Crossrail and the Docklands Light Railway has unevenly transformed that SE18 part of South East London so I saw the difference in Peckham for sure. The landscape changed so much from my Bermondsey beginning to Peckham High Street, it was ace to see the message unfold that alternative London works. I stepped outside, SE!

I worked up a hearty appetite when I saw JB's Soulfood and Jerk Chicken Takeaway, it was a done deal. I ordered Jerk Chicken, rice and beans served with a side of coleslaw. Being greedy I opted for the large portion because I loved my soulfood! Captured to the right is my food, I didn't fancy any juice so I went for a vanilla Nourishment can. As I unassumingly enjoyed my Jerk Chicken I couldn't help listening to the conversations that were going on around me. Let's just say that Peckham mom raises her boy with a non-nonsense parenting approach! One lady just wanted Peppered Prawns! She was told to chill and come back a little later to get her dish. I tell you I couldn't finish my dinner but I made damn sure I enjoyed the rest a little later on that day. I appreciated the uncomplicated vibe of JB's Soulfood Takeway on Peckham's High Street, who really needs fancy food? For my lunch it was about JB's! Recognise! 

Peckham's other foodie options consisted of a selection of Nigerian takeaways and Persian infused cafes but I wasn't on that hype one bit. Flashing back to my experience with Nigerian food in Woolwich I have to say I had my adventourous palate to cope with the spice! I was served an intense plate of Jollof Rice and Beef at Tasty African on the Plumstead Road. Peckham came to the rescue with my Jerk dish because I wasn't up for trying something called 'Suya!' I now know where to satisfy my cravings, getting down to Peckham for a wide choice of Caribbean and West African dining options wins! Have you tried anything daring from the Caribbean or the African continent? It doesn't take a mug to see London's West is getting more costly to consider property, a new movement of living has transcended upon neighbourhoods such as Peckham. I think a spot of regeneration would push Peckham in the right direction. I blog about places that have flavour for this reason! It's all irie SE15!

Peckham had me spoiled for choice when I was looking for some Jamaican Spice Bun! After pacing the high street and having some lunch I took a chance on Zara's Tropical market. I knew exactly what I was looking for, I'm no un-educated fool! Not lying, Zara's reminded me of a South American bodega with the selection of Hispanic food and drinks products. Finding my bun didn't take much thought because it just looks like a dark loaf of bread. Do I wish that I lived closer to one of these Afro-Caribbean food stores? Of course I do because I'm a lover of a wide range of foods from around the world. Zara's would be somewhere that I would chose, I don't take kindly to the international aisles that have been fashioned by the big supermarkets, I prefer to keep it local. That wasn't a question! Thanks Peckham for reuniting me with my favourite Spice Bun! I needed some cheese to go with my Bun loaf! Oh, Jamaican Spice Bun! 

My day in Peckham left me with a feeling of hope and expectation for the future of the SE15 area. I adored the original Afro-Caribbean vibe that engulfed the busy high street that chilly November afternoon. The energetic and infectious Naija beats that filled the main road to Peckham Rye made me want to Azonto! Going hungry would have been a crime, that being a testament to my delicious and spicy Jerk Chicken dinner from JB's Soulfood and Jerk Chicken Takeaway hit the spot! I have to say the conversations I listened to gave me jokes because I've heard that real talk before! Get your lives together whilst in London, I don't have time for your feeble excuses that you don't trust places in London that are off the tourist map! Peckham just gets on with its grind! Who needs Del Boy or Rodney because those jokers haven't got a clue! Like I said Woolwich has its own hype but I still feel blessed that both SE London communities serve a flare of West African realness! London serves more! 

No Fools, No Horses! 

Joseph Harrison 

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