Every Londoner claims to have the best corner shop in the world near them. Whether that’s because it truly is the best shop in the world, or because the owners never comment on your fraying Klaxons pyjama top, or your decision to have two packs of Maryland cookies and a Dr. Oetker Ristorante for breakfast, is debatable. The point is everyone thinks theirs is the best, but only if you live by Persepolis in Peckham are you objectively right.
On first glance Persepolis is a yellow-coloured corner shop, but inside you’ll find a vegetarian Persian-inspired deli and cafe. You won’t get booze or a limited edition Kit Kat Chunky here. Instead, you’ll walk through to the back and get a delicious meze plate of falafel, tapenade, salad, and a load of dips. There’s even a token Wotsit stuck into the hummus—a pour one out the packet homage to all other corner shops. This plate, warm pitta included, is £6 for a single person portion. It’s as tasty as it is good value, which is the gist of everything here.
The cafe is bric-a-brac homely; filled with different patterns, textures, and trinkets. If the lads from Queer Eye walked in they’d probably black out before their saffron-battered veg and pickles arrived. Which is a shame because the fritters and their yoghurt dip are pretty great, and are easily enough to share between a few of you. Aside from its bright and engaging decor—the walls are covered with pages from the owner’s cookbooks—the cafe itself is small and comfortable, and it fits a deceptive amount of people, much like a house party you and your friends weren’t invited to.
Persepolis tends to have a constant stream of people at lunch and dinner. You’ll want to book around weekend-time, as it’s a popular BYOB spot, and their £25 a head tasting menu is one of London’s best group dinner and affordable date moves. It’s a conveyor belt of food that begins with meze, moves to a soup, before a couple of mains—that may include an excellent bean stew—before ending on a dessert platter of ice cream sundae, paklava, and fresh fruit. This is great food at a great price in a space that, if you’re into kaleidoscopes, is also great. Ultimately you can’t say all of this about any old corner shop in London, which is why Persepolis is the best of the lot.
Persepolis Cold Buster Tea
If your immune system is as meek and fallible as ours is, then you’ll want to be ordering this tea. It’s full of all sorts of nature, tastes fresh as a field, and comes with a load of honey on the side.
A lot of meals around a fiver can feature crisps, but the Wotsit (or Cheeto) standing to attention on this plate makes it one of the best plates ft. crisps we’ve had. You’ll also get falafel, a pepper tapenade, a yoghurt and cucumber dip, some salads, and warm bread.
Saffron-Battered Vegetable And Pickle Fritters
A plate of crispy golden deep fried things often bring joy and these are no different. If you didn’t think a gherkin could get any better, then come here.
A decent enough soup that comes with vegan yoghurt on the side.
Potato, Cauliflower, And Olive Afelia
An industrial plate of potatoes, cauliflower tomatoes, olives, onion, and vegan cheese. It’s a gooey beige space heater of a dish that’s big enough to keep you going all day. (Takeaway boxes are available).
Halloumi, Honey, Sesame Seeds, Flatbread
If you’ve got a sweet tooth then you’ll love this, and it is quite delicious. But you’ll probably want something else on the side to offset the sweetness.
Potato And Bean Stew
Like a small child, or your basil plant for the first two weeks, this dish is a grower. It’s a spiced bean, potato, and carrot stew served with rice and vegan cheese.
Make sure you save room for dessert at Persepolis. The plate that comes with the tasting menu has an ice cream sundae, paklava, fresh fruit, and a cookie.