The Handbook
The Handbook

What? Winning over my heart last year as one of my favourite restaurants, I returned to Peckham to visit Coal Rooms again and this time it was to stuff myself silly with bacon sandwiches and eggs.

New? It opened last summer, but the brunch is new and as we know everyone loves brunch, especially a new brunch so I had to check it out. Served on a Saturday from 11am, this is a brunch for those who like a lie in.

 Where? Right next to Peckham Station, Coal Room has made its home in the Grade II former ticket office which was in use in the 1930s. You’ll find it at: 11a Station Way, Peckham, SE15 4RX

The Look:  Coal Rooms is split into three, you’ve got the monochrome room you step into with black walls and tables and a white bar and chairs. Here you can grab a coffee or pastry if you want something before 11am (they’re open from 9am at the weekends). As you move through to the main dining room, you pass the sunken kitchen where there are a handful of seats, if you fancy watching the chefs at work. The main dining room is much spacious and bright. Pale walls, are brightened up with creeping ferns, blue banquettes and globe lights. Of course, the loos are worth a mention, the old station loos, complete with lists of hospitals where women could be treated for venereal disease. When I visited before they were having problems with the men using the old urinals, (it’s a unisex loo with cubicles), apparently putting large plants in front of it wasn’t enough so the wall is now dotted with signs telling men not to use them. It slightly ruins the aesthetic, but no more so than having to watch men use them.

On the Menu: The menu is succinct which is excellent because I’m not very good at making decisions at the best of times, least of all the mornings. You’ll find a Full English for two, sorry it’s just for the meat eaters, as it includes smoked goat sausages, smoked pigs head blood pudding, hash browns, fried eggs, fat and back bacon, bone marrow butter mushrooms, toast, smalec and homemade ketchup and plum brown sauce. There is also a selection of small plates such as: pastrami salmon with smoked cream cheese, bread & butter pickles and rye bread; corn tacos with pumpkin mole, chimichurri and London fettle and coal roasted cauliflower with miso bagna cauda and furikake.

What We Ate: Having spent the morning rowing, in what was to be my last training session in the cold on the Thames, (I’ve now swapped early mornings and erg times for lie ins and having time to do my chores #adulting) I was hungry, ravenous in fact, which was the reason I ordered so much. That and the fact I’m greedy. First up is a giant, brick of a hash brown, served with spicy kimchi mayonnaise and kimchi, if you can’t handle the heat (which I can’t) you might want to ask for the kimchi on the side, the hash brown itself though, was crisp on the outside, giving way to salty, fried potato. Next up was a hunk of sourdough toast, smothered in smoked bone marrow butter, finely chopped mushrooms and a fried egg, it only faltered in that the fried egg rather looked like it was made of plasticine, it needed to be crisped up a bit, with just a little bit of grease, but perhaps that just me. Bubble & squeak is accompanied by smalec, salty, fatty melted spread (it’s made from pork fat, garlic and onion) and given a hint of sweetness with plum brown sauce. Again, it had a model fried egg on top.

The main event (yes, we haven’t reached it yet) was the bacon sandwich. A soft, squishy, custard bun is piled high with coffee-cured bacon and you can choose between back, streaky or a mix of both (which we did) and they don’t hold back on the amount you get. It was a thing of beauty. There was rather a lack of sauce in the bun, you’re going to need to ask for more, if you’re presented with the penny sized amount we found. Once that’s sorted, you’ll start to eat the best bacon sandwich.

Somehow, we managed to find room for pudding and that day it was a take on millionaire’s shortbread made with waste barista milk ice cream, chocolate, stout caramel and rapeseed shortbread. Served in a cup, one to share, was more than enough for us by that point.

What We Drank: To drink you’ll find Moju cold pressed juices, Bloody Caesars and coffee. After a round of flat whites, we accompanied our pudding with sweet espresso martinis mainly because we wanted something to power us through the 4pm slump we were about to hit.

Go With: Your brunching buddy or if you’re like the table next to us who were having a very indulgent Saturday afternoon (as in the two bottles of Champagne, a bottle of red and whiskies indulgent afternoon), your drinking pal.

Final Word: Last time I visited Coal Rooms I mentioned that it had gone straight into my top five restaurants, well this time they’ve bagged themselves another spot, the best bacon sandwich I’ve had. I stress the ‘I’ve had’ part, because I can guarantee that at least two of my friends will message me to disagree with me…it’s a hot topic.

Like This? Try These: Dishoom,  St John Bread and Wine, Le Swine, 

Coal Rooms: 11a Station Way, Peckham, SE15 4RX