The wine bar revolution is here. The dregs of exclusivity are being poured away, small producers are coming to the forefront, and carbon footprints are no longer an afterthought. At the crest of this new wave is Peckham Cellars, which burst onto the scene in 2019. Since then it has garnered nothing but praise, footfall and a loyal online customer base. But now, given the arrival of chef Pablo Urain Alfonso, we returned to sample the goods.
Greeted by the chic, laid-back space and staff to match, we hopped onto the counter stools to get close to the action. Since the previous menu won a Bib Gourmand, Alfonso has kept the core of British-ness running through the menu, while adding flecks of his Spanish flair. Pillowy wildfarmed sourdough, piled with generous daubs of whipped confit garlic butter settled us in for the night. What would follow is best described as wine with food pairings.
A pleasingly delicate Alsace Sylvaner came first, accompanied by crisp, nutty Jerusalem artichoke on a bed of fresh tzatziki. A thought-out combination, which would set the standard. It’s a sin not to go skin contact somewhere like this, so a tangy, peach-coloured Pinot Gris followed. Paired with juicy prawns doused in chilli and garlic, this was a match made in heaven.
Switching gears, a punchy Merlot somewhat outpaced the pork cheeks, until the sweet pop of mustard seeds came to the rescue. A perfectly not-too-sweet Montepulciano Vin Santo and coffee panna cotta kept up the consistency of the rest of the meal, although the dessert's own consistency was perhaps a little stiff.
Peckham Cellars bucks trends left, right and centre. It’s friendly, it’s relaxed and it’s affordable. While the food didn’t falter, the wine is definitely the star of the show. And what a show it is.