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38 Holly Grove
Be prepared to share a table at this small, colourful south Indian restaurant, whose reputation for superb Keralan cooking draws visitors from across London. Backed by a tiny courtyard garden
surrounded by banana trees, Ganapati is a surprising oasis on a residential street in Peckham. Everything is made from scratch, including chutneys that zing with the flavours of fresh lime, mango
& tomato, & the most buttery of warm parathas. For a tropical treat, try the aromatic crab thoran, stir-fried with ginger, coconut, onion & spices. Also popular are the thalis: small
dishes of curries, pickled vegetables, rice & other accompaniments served in metal bowls & presented on a banana leaf. The decent drinks list includes chilli-friendly wines (several from
India), beers, & palate-cleansing lassis.
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38 Holly Grove
020 7277 2928
Peckham Rye Station 168m
Denmark Hill Station 1km
Premier Cinema 337m
Aquarius Golf Club 1km
Tues-Fri 12N-2.45pm 6-10.30pm Sat-Sun 12N-10.30pm (Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Reviewers go bananas for Ganapati, so we were over-excited about visiting. We immediately liked the look of the place; the interior is decked out in vibrant colour and a vast banana tree looms over the conservatory, while a sea of thali dishes spreads as far as the eye could see. We squeezed onto a tiny table beneath a row of brass elephants and a picture of Ganesh, soaking up the nu-hippy vibes (so much so that I regretted changing out of my yoga pants). Our waitress was infectiously zen, even when a glass went flying; the poor culprits were a couple shoehorning themselves into the minuscule space beside us. Admittedly I wasn’t convinced by the cocktails - the signature Ganapati Elixir was eyewateringly heavy on the ginger - but the wine list was on the money for spicy cuisine. The Woollaton Riesling (£28) admirably tackled the occasional sources of heat, with a winning combination of floral elegance and low ABV.
The menu sidesteps traditional curry house classics - no bhajis or bhunas here! - in favour of more authentic fayre and cleaner cooking. The homemade pickles delivered a refreshing jolt to the tastebuds, and the parathas were certainly something to shout about; like vast, crumbly cinnamon whirls of joy. So imagine our surprise when the curries didn’t stand out as special, and lacked the awe-inspiring dimensions of flavour we’d come to expect. Though tempted by several intriguing vegan dishes, I plumped for peas paneer masala; it was alright, but I’ve enjoyed better on nearby Lordship Lane. Iddukki curry with tender chunks of lamb was hot (as billed) and proved the favourite, but was also a bit… well, ordinary. The condiments were far more interesting, as little pots of thoran (Keralan dry curry) and carrot pickle combined to gorgeous effect. Ganapati has been showered with such praise that we briefly wondered whether we’d chosen unwisely… but clearly said dishes shouldn’t have made the menu if that’s the case. Given the inconsistent impression our mains left, I’d order street snacks or a thali next time.
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