Lunch at Ganapati, Peckham

The way I see it, a long lunch on a Friday is a reward for hard work and extra hours put in earlier in the working week, non?

I won’t bore you with the details of why, but my husband and I have been busy lately. So busy, in fact, that our prevailing methods of communication at the moment are calendar invites and half-asleep grunts of recognition. Ships that pass in the night have nothing on us.

Last Friday, we were both working from home with the luxury of an empty diary, so decided to make a long-overdue visit to Ganapati in Peckham for lunch. Being a short walk away from our flat and having a stupendously good-value lunch deal during the week, we used to go there all the time. Ganapati specialises in south Indian food, so the menu is quite unlike the ubiquitous south London curry house. There is also a conspicuous lack of doilies, flock wallpapers and waiters in bow ties which sets it apart somewhat.

Vegetarian street snacks
Vegetarian street snacks

The lunch menu basically consists of a handful of curries and thalis, served with rice and poppadoms, for around £7.50. I ordered the Kerala fish curry, which is large pieces of swordfish, cooked in the spiced tamarind and coconut sauce so typical of that region. My husband ordered the chicken curry, flavoured with tomato, chilli and cinnamon. Both were excellent and generously portioned, but it was the side dishes that are what cause me to return time and again. The ‘vegetarian street snacks’ are well known in these parts, popping up on local Instagram feeds with some regularity. Two balls of spiced mash potato fried in chickpea batter and two chana dal and fennel seed patties, with a sambar and chutney to dip them in.  As well as this, a delicious paratha to dip in our curries: flaky, griddle-cooked flatbread, liberally brushed with ghee.

Last time I was there, I had the vegetarian thali, which was also excellent. Despite being so enamoured with their lunch deal, I have still yet to visit for dinner, or order from their new(ish) takeaway, something I fully intend to rectify in the near future. It’s difficult not to be smug when you have such a great place so nearby, but I fear I might be. If you don’t live in Peckham, it’s worth a journey on the Overground for.

Ganapati, 38 Holly Grove, London SE15 5DF

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