Park’s Edge Bar & Restaurant in Herne Hill combines the best of British and Caribbean flavours, all served up with views over Brockwell Park and great English wines
Once upon a time I lived in Brixton and weekends mostly involved tumbling out of Dogstar. From ‘Brickers’, the number 27 bus would trundle me to lovely neighbouring ‘hoods like Herne Hill, East Dulwich and Peckham, for sensible roasts or a few too many Sunday Funday pints.
Then I realised I was getting on a bit and moved to Blackheath, where everything’s a little more grown-up. Then I got itchy feet and moved to North Greenwich, where the towers are tall, the river views wonderful and my neighbours seem to be in a similar stage of adulthood denial.
To cut a long story short, it’s tricky for me to get to Herne Hill these days – the fact that you still can’t public transport yourself from one side of SE London to the other without traversing Zone 1 is quite bothersome (I don’t drive, you see, and taxis are a luxury reserved for late nights).
But I made the effort recently, and I’m so glad I did – hanging out at Park’s Edge, a charming bar and restaurant on the periphery of Brockwell Park, is an absolute joy.
Owner Claudia McKenzie has fused modern British dishes with Caribbean undertones to elevate much-loved dishes with a subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, spiciness.
To start we tried small plates of flame-grilled spicy chicken with Caribbean peanut satay sauce, lime and coriander, and Cornish Tiger ‘Calypso’ Caribbean garlic prawns with coconut and toasted crostini. Both were delicious, the prawns especially so.
‘The excellent jerk-marinated rump of lamb was much lighter and leaner than expected, served with crispy polenta, roasted onion and a generous drizzle of minted blackcurrant lamb jus’
We followed with larger plates of succulent, pan-seared hake on a bed of roasted tomatoes, spinach, chickpeas, sweetcorn and capers, topped with a bold, zippy Romesco sauce, as well as an excellent jerk-marinated rump of lamb that was much lighter and leaner than expected, served with crispy polenta, fine beans, roasted onion and a generous drizzle of minted blackcurrant lamb jus.
Sides of Parmesan and chive fries and seasonal green sent us just that little bit too far over the edge for dessert, although I’m told the homemade honeycomb vanilla ice cream is pretty special.
Park’s Edge is a proud champion of British wines, serving sparkling and still wines from vineyards in the South East and South West of England, and the 2018 Liberty’s Bacchus from Hush Heath Estate is an excellent white for a summer’s evening – an invigorating blend of gooseberries, green apple and grassy notes.
Bag yourself a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows, which fold back so that you can really make the most of the views over Brockwell Park in the summertime. On cooler days, head for one of the cosy banquettes, where you can make the most of the warm, characterful decor that features Timourous Beasties-style wallpaper, cabinets full of curios, upcycled dining tables and the odd Gothic light fitting.
This friendly, relaxed restaurant is a great place to catch up with friends over a drink, or enjoy a Sunday roast following a turn about the park. The staff are friendly, the food is innovative and vegetarians and vegans are heartily catered for. And if you needed any further encouragement to visit, Park’s Edge Bar & Restaurant is about to celebrate its second birthday, so why not go and raise a glass to this wonderful neigbourhood asset?
49-51 Norwood Road, Herne Hill SE24 9AA; parksedgebarandkitchen.com