Begging Bowl – Thai tapas in Peckham SE15

Thai tapas concept menu

We were a party of ten on a Friday evening and this restaurant in Peckham was heaving. Tables were packed in close together and we were crammed in. It was noisy and lively befitting a Friday evening – the start of the weekend – but the acoustics were poor making it difficult to hear conversation.

Dishes are designed for sharing. The menu offers 12 dishes, roughly half are starter portions and the other half mains. Plus limitless Jasmine rice and sticky rice @ £2.50 a head, and a choice of three desserts.

Drinks took ages to arrive and weren’t altogether correct when they did. That continued throughout the meal. By the time they did arrive, we were happy to accept whatever had been brought. Servers were busy and under pressure; service was hit and miss.

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Thai tapas at the Begging Bowl
Top – starters: (left) Miang of pomelo, ginger, peanuts, dried galangal, palm sugar, seaweed, caviar wrapped in betel leaf @£5.60, (right) mixed salad starter about £5.80
Bottom – pudding: (left) Coconut saffron rice, pomelo, satsuma, cognac caramel, cobnuts, puffed black + flat rice, jasmine smoked coconut cream @£6.00, (right) Banana fritters, coconut sesame batter, tamarind, peanut brittle, turmeric custard @ £6.70

We ordered most plates from the Thai tapas menu to share (the food was amazing – top marks to the kitchen) starting with a peanut and ginger miang (a bite sized snack, wrapped in a leaf) with pomelo (citrus fruit), dried galangal, palm sugar, seaweed, and caviar wrapped in betel leaf @ £5.60 – absolutely gorgeous blend of flavours; a salad of salsify, betel leaf, lemongrass, coriander, peanuts, Thai shallots (there’s an option to have this salad with chargrilled duck) about £10.00; and a morning glory stir fry with garlic and fermented yellow bean @ £6.50.

This menu is really pleasing for nut lovers like me.

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Charcoal grilled salt-crusted whole gilthead bream stuffed with pandanas, lemongrass, grilled green chilli dip @ £13.50
Behind: a near-finished plate of morning glory (Thai green stems) stir-fry @ £6.50

This charcoal grilled salt-crusted gilthead bream was a hit (we ordered more). You can see what it looked like whole (above) and the soft white fish-meat inside is pictured below.

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Sticky chicken, gilthead bream, sticky rice, morning glory stir fry

Other dishes we shared included chargrilled sticky chicken @ about £12.50, a mushroom parlow – king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, hens egg, and pickled morning glory (Thai green stems) @ £9.50 and of course – an unlimited supply of Jasmine rice and sticky rice.

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A selection of dishes: Parlow of king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, in foreground; sticky chicken left

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Parlow of king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, hens egg, pickled morning glory @ £9.50

For dessert we shared a dish of coconut saffron rice, pomelo, satsuma, cognac caramel, cobnuts, puffed black + flat rice, jasmine smoked coconut cream @ £6.00 and banana fritters made with a coconut sesame batter, tamarind, peanut brittle, and turmeric custard @ £6.70 (exceptionally good).

The verdict: Prepare for noise, being squashed in, hit-and-miss service and excellent food. This ‘Thai tapas’ concept menu puts an interesting twist on traditional Thai food. It’s worth a visit.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Thai, Thai tapas
– Address: 168 Bellenden Road, Peckham, London
– Postcode: SE15 4BW
– Tel: +44 20 7635 2627
– Nearest station: Peckham Rye station
– Website + menus: The Begging Bowl website
– Begging Bowl photos: The Begging Bowl photos on flickr
– Location: The Begging Bowl map

The Begging Bowl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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