The time’s right for a revisit to Coal Rooms.
Londonist was last at the ex-ticket-office-turned-grill-
The space is beautiful, the faint memory of its ticket office past — tiling, arched windows and some of the loveliest bathrooms we know of in a London restaurant — mingled with the incredible smell of its charcoal-grill present.
Though they’ve recently revamped the menu, they’re still playing the greatest hits. The sourdough with smalec — a Polish lard spread — we start with is so creamily, saltily rich that it’s like a gauntlet thrown down, daring you to finish it with an entire dinner still left to tackle. The Peckham Fatboy’s another menu staple — a side of hash brown, raclette, beef fat mayo and fried onions, compressed into something as moreish as it is dense.
Arguably the festive season is the best time to visit Coal Rooms, partly because food this rich — like the smoked goat sausages, intensely smoky and intensely goaty — really comes into its own when the mercury plummets.
The other reason to visit at this time of year is because of the newly launched Christmas Feasting Menu, which comes in vegetarian and vegan versions. Our one beef with the lovely Coal Rooms is that the smoky, lard-draped richness of the a la carte dishes — individually spectacular — can become a bit… relentless. Chorizo tacos, zingy with pink pickled onions, are the nearest our dinner comes to a bright, palate-resetting dish. The a la carte menu isn’t nearly as strong on vegetable options as on smoky, glorious meat — the only vegetarian main on the evening we visit is a (beautifully) coal-roasted cauliflower, covered in an oddly sweet, lemon curd-like sauce.
So the feasting menu’s ticking a lot of boxes for us. The chance to go to Coal Rooms in a group and order in proportions of, say, one vegetarian version to three carnivorous ones? It’ll be like all our Christmasses have come at once.
The Coal Rooms feasting menu starts at £35 a head for four courses, and the Christmas feasting menu starts at £40 a head.
Coal Rooms, Peckham Rye station, 11 Station Way, SE15 4RX.