Thai to die for
Okay not literally to die for, but The Begging Bowl is that rare, elusive find of that x factor, cosy, neighbourhood favourite restaurant, which is a little bit hip and will have you begging for more and more and more. Thai restaurants are generally good or excellent around London, usually classic or contemporary but not hip unlike The Begging Bowl which is. You can find this place in Peckham's gourmet street, Bellenden road, which is luckily, a 20 minute drive for me, so nearly local. Unfortunately there is that 'no booking' policy which drives me a little crazy, but if you go early enough e.g. 630pm midweek, I am sure you will score a table. The premise of the restaurant is a thai tapas in a laid back atmosphere, serving superb, non-classical thai dishes. The service is friendly and charming, tables are a little small for the thai banquet approaching and there are cool toons in the background, perfect for a mid week date night.
Having set the scene, prepare for the feast of all thai feasts. Dishes are labelled according to price and are colour coded to help you choose a 5 dish well balanced meal. First, came little freshly deep fried, light piquant fish cakes, a moreish beginning. Then, unami rich pork belly, sticky, unctuous and to die for. Caramelised tiger prawn in lime leaf were mouthfuls of soft prawn and chilli lime, reordered twice, always a good sign. Rabbit thai green curry was weaker than the usual chicken curry but still good. A whole deep fried sea bass was presented rather gloriously with sweet sticky sauce and thai basil. All in all, this was an unami, chilli, basil fuelled fiesta that will have you returning for the party again and again (especially if you live in the south east of London).