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On a corner of Newington Green with huge windows looking onto the busy streets, Perilla’s interior looks like a masterclass in salvage: old doors are repurposed as tables, drinking troughs serve as wine coolers and there’s a vintage terrazzo floor, while huge linen napkins add a welcome touch of luxury. The food is adventurous but genuine, with bags of imagination applied to good ingredients: shards of cauliflower-shaped ‘sparassis’ mushrooms are teamed with salted plums and ricotta, all shrouded in lustrous lardo, while mains include a wonderfully meaty dish involving 60-day loin of beef topped with a sliver of rump, served with steamed mussels and Tropea onions in a rich green sauce. To start, superb seaweed bread is brushed with roasted lamb fat and served with delicious burnt butter (sticky fingers all round!); to finish, don’t miss the sweet clover-infused custard with Muscat grapes and tarragon. The perfectly judged European wine list has plenty by the glass or carafe, but there’s also hipster local beer and a choice of homemade soft drinks. Perilla’s owners are on a mission – and the locals seem to love it.
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