* Disclaimer: I was invited to dine as a guest. All opinions are my own.
I moved to London 13 years ago as a bright-eyed uni fresher. I distinctly remember being told that "if you go south of the river, you'll get mugged", so proceeded to live in Angel for 6 years. (It doesn't help that the very first time we ventured south, to Ministry of Sound, a few friends were actually mugged.) Over the years, I've lost enough naïvety and patience to call myself a proper Londoner. I've explored and fallen for many neighbourhoods across south London, and bought my first flat in Stockwell. I just feel a lot more at home down here, y'know? Here in the dirty south I have everything I need, including an abundance of incredible food. It's an easy journey to Camberwell, Peckham, Brixton, Tooting, Dulwich, Balham... so it takes somewhere really special for me to agree to trek across town.
Step in Perilla.
Perilla is based in Newington Green, a heart-stopping hour away from where I live. But, after this incredible lunch, I'm already plotting my return. On a miraculously sunny Saturday, I met Milly and Tom a short while before the restaurant opened (so we can be those oddball food photographers without disturbing other diners). I was so impressed with chef Ben Marks' imagination. His ingredients are simple and fresh; the dishes vibrant and well-balanced.
On the table – homemade seaweed sourdough with braised greens and goats cheese; skate roasted on the bone with laver butter and beach cabbage; burnt onion and cultured cream soup with roasted nuts; rib-eye steak with salted blackcurrant hollandaise; grilled and pressed radicchio with blood orange and sheep's curd; stuffed Maris Piper with shiitake and hen of the wood.
Desserts – Baron Bigod stuffed with braised pine nuts; grilled herb and honey creme caramel; citrus and Douglas fir tart.
Perilla is located at 1-3 Green Lanes, Newington Green, London, N16 9BS. The building used to be a launderette; and I have all of the heart eyes for its high ceilings, exposed beams and cozy decor. You won't be disappointed!