Simplicity is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s a pleasure, sometimes it’s a bore. Take throwing and catching a ball. That’s a simple pleasure, right? Until you tire of it, and then it’s not. Aside, a restaurant on a corner in Peckham, feels like the kind of simple pleasure you’re not going to get bored of quickly.
You can tell a lot about this restaurant from its website. One page. Black and white colour palate. A bold font. It’s not boring, but it’s simple. Considered. Everything here is consciously stripped back, from the website, to the open minimalist room, to the seasonal menu of things like corn and lardo, burrata and figs, venison and plums. When you do everything this way, you have to do it well, and for the most part Aside do. Plainly, we’re not design critics. We just like putting food in our mouth, having a chew or two, and looking around a bit, but on both those fronts, they’re doing a fine job.
The food here is ingredient-led rather than chef-led. It isn’t Strictly on a plate, and there are no hushed tales of when chef ventured into Tuscany to find the one frigitello pepper to rule them all. A plate of seared mackerel with samphire and tomatoes is just that. It is what it is, and it tastes lovely. Simple doesn’t equal boring. A bowl of mussels sit in a salty and mushroom-y broth that’s chuggable. It’s simultaneously wholesome and stylish. Like anyone old and Milanese on The Sartorialist.
One of the keys to a great neighbourhood restaurant is inclusivity, and Aside nails this. It’s cool enough to be a very good date spot. You know, a bit of burrata here, a carafe there, did you see that Comment Is Free article? But it’s also not too into itself. You can come here and order a pork chop with quince and a side of potatoes for twenty quid. That’s an everyman restaurant, right there.
Simple things can get overlooked, but Aside is somewhere that people should be paying attention to. Once you do, you can imagine doing so again and again. And that’s kind of the hallmark of a simple pleasure.
Charred corn and salty meat. What’s not to like?
A textbook ‘we should make this at home’ dish. In reality you’d cock up crisping the skin, and the tomatoes wouldn’t be quite right. Simple isn’t as easy as it looks.
Not the best burrata we’ve ever had, but it’s nice.
Another lovely dinner party dish that would be absolutely nothing like this if you made it on a Saturday night. No offence.
Mussels don’t get enough love. But these ones have been given some. And it shows.
A delicious, creamy, charred plate of food. This is a sharer that you’ll surreptitiously eat yourself.
Simply put, this is delicious.
An okay chop, but it pales vs the venison.
The best thing about this is that it sounds like two houses from Game Of Thrones. They’re fine, but not amazing.
Chocolate + fruit + crispy honey = good. A little OTT on the olive oil though.