From Wednesday to Saturday is the time to get 100% of Deptford. That isn’t because some of the newer, or rather, more bougie restaurants and bars are open then - it’s because that’s when Deptford Market is on and buzzing. It’s where you can just as easily buy a fresh scallop as you can a vintage bust of Queen Victoria. It’s eclectic, especially on market days, and the same can be said for the eating and drinking options all around.
BANH MI, BILTONG, & MORE QUICK BITES
The around Deptford High Street is rich in snacking potential. There are a dozen or so Vietnamese supermarkets with a fairly unlimited supply of savoury and sweet possibilities. There’s Agege Bread, an African bakery that does the job when you’re after a patty or a cinder block-like callaloo-filled dumpling. Or, there’s Big John’s Biltong Bar - a low-lit den where everyone’s signature fragrance is Jack by Jack Daniels. The best of the lot though is Viet Anh Pho - on New Cross Road - where a perfectly sized but not OTT banh mi filled with cha cha lot (pork in betel leaves) and pickles will set you back just a fiver. Which, on the fiver to flavour ratio, is excellent value.
A few others spots for something quick: the south London location of Tomi’s Kitchen if you’re in the mood for suya or jollof. And there’s Manze’s. There’s obviously Manze’s. But only if you’re partial to salt, vinegar, and stodge.
CRISP PINTS IN A CLASSIC PUB
Some of Deptford’s newer and glossier eating and drinking establishments run on an evening-only Wednesday to Saturday schedule. So it’s worth knowing about a pub for a pint or two if you’re waiting around. Or rather, it’s just worth knowing about a great pub full stop. The Dog & Bell is certainly that. Maroon, carpeted, and with a group of cheery maroon-cheeked locals who may or may not be strangers to a kip on the carpet - this is a 10/10 temple of drinking.
A SLAP-UP SIT-DOWN VIETNAMESE FEAST
Dalston and Deptford both have a big Vietnamese demographic. While the concentration of Vietnamese restaurants in Deptford is less overwhelming, with reduced quantity comes higher quality. Eat Vietnam Bar B Grill is the restaurant to go to for an unapologetically slap-up Vietnamese meal around SE8. In fact, it’s probably the restaurant to go to for a slap-up Vietnamese meal in London. Sorry, fellow Kingsland Road heads. The menu is vast but the quality is consistent. Cánh gà, shatteringly crisp chicken wings glazed in house sauce - a tangy glaze that’s equal parts aromatic as it is rootin’ and tootin’ - are faultless. Actually any meat special here is likely worth a spot on your table. Of course, there’s bún and phở as well. Bring numbers.
WINE & PASTA (OR PASTA & WINE)
Depending on your preference for superior wine or superior pasta, there are two fine options on Deptford High Street. For those who are prioritising the grape, there’s Winemakers Deptford - where the BTG list changes daily and it’s usually a happy medium of old, new, and biodynamic bits and bobs. There’s also some perfectly pleasant pasta coming out of the kitchen for when you’re two or three glasses in and have no intention of stopping.
Alternatively, if carbs are closest to your heart, then you’ll want to swing by Marcella down the road. The neighbourhood Italian is sibling to Artusi in Peckham and its short and simple menu keeps the quality of handmade squid ink bucatini or pea and mint tagliatelle, consistently high.
OR A NIGHTCAP WITH A SIDE OF JERK CHICKEN
There’s an array of gleaming and somewhat questionable-looking bars within the vicinity of Deptford station. Because all bars part of glassy new build developments are questionable by virtue of looking like a shiny Be @ One you’d find at Terminal 5. In Buster Mantis, you’ll find a lower-key local spot under the arches that suits cocktails with a side of salt cod fritters. You’ll want to lean more on the booze than the bites, but, if you’re looking for somewhere dimly lit and open post-midnight on the weekend, it’s a great shout.
Or, there’s sibling spot Stockton up the road. It’s got a decent funky wine selection, a decent delicious cocktail selection, AND it’s open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.