It was once the case that you had to traipse into central London to eat well, but not any more.
Thanks to a wave of exciting and daring offerings, London’s neighbourhoods have come of age and earned a reputation for being a foodie destination for locals and Londoners from across town alike.
And now Peckham’s critically acclaimed Mediterranean restaurant Artusi, which restaurant critic Jay Rayner has called “fresh”, “buzzy” and “brilliant”, has just opened a sister restaurant in south-east London’s Deptford. Like Artusi, Marcella’s food philosophy is to showcase the flavours of the Med and celebrate superior ingredients by cooking them simply.
It is the sort of food that tastes effortless but takes great skill to achieve.
The menu is short and enticing, featuring a handful of silky homemade pastas like Casarecce, courgette, chilli and mint, starters such as house smoked salmon, homemade ricotta and tomatoes and mains such as bavette, carrots, olives.
There are also large sharing plates designed to share between groups of two to three, including bream stuffed with clams and fennel and slow roast old spot pork shoulder.
The food is plated up with a minimalist presentation style: this is not a place for foams, fads or unnecessary flourishes. With fresh white walls and lots of wood furnishings, the decor is equally unfussy and diners can peek into the open kitchen to see the chefs at work.
The restaurant also houses a lively bar downstairs, which is not to be missed. Open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, the bar specialises in Amaro: the Italian liqueur made from herbs, roots, flowers, and spices that is traditionally taken as an after-dinner digestif.
Slightly bitter but intriguingly complex, Marcella is boldly declaring its Amaro Spritz to be the new Aperol Spritz.
There is also a choice of delicious wines by the glass or bottle as well as a local beer brewed less then two minutes away.
Owner Jack Beer and his business partner Josie Mclean have ensured that Marcella’s food and drink menus are affordable and they are very passionate about creating an accessible, laid-back and fun atmosphere in the restaurant.
Marcella take bookings for groups of six-plus upstairs and they also offer their downstairs area for private functions for parties of eight to 24.
Having opened just a few weeks ago, Marcella is yet another addition to Deptford’s growing cluster of exciting food and drink destinations. And given the meteoric rise of Peckham as a foodie hotspot, don’t expect this restaurant – or Deptford in general – to fly under the radar for much longer.
Marcella is open Tuesdays, 6pm to midnight, Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 1am, and Sundays, noon to 4pm.
Visit Marcella, 165A Deptford High Street, SE8 3NUT. Call 020 3903 6561 or visit http://marcella.london for more.