What a reluctant makeover Peckham has managed. It’s undoubtedly where the cool kids hang, but get off the Overground at Peckham Rye without a destination in mind and you will find yourself browsing 95p shops and dining on cheap fried chicken. Café Viva is one of the places to be, but you wouldn’t pick the residential street it brightens to wander down, so dig out Google Maps and make a beeline.
They’ve got the welcoming combination of twee and low-key tuned to just the right level to appeal to the perky and not offend the sore-headed. The menu’s maybe a bit too simple to draw in the curious, but all brunch cravings are catered for. My soft, chewy bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese was just as carefully put together as the chorizo, fried egg and pepper sandwich that my hungrier company picked, and both went down a treat. Service was a little less satisfying; a bit aloof and slow, especially considering the place only seats about as many as my mum’s dining room does, but prices were keen, and it meant we could dawdle. It might have been brunch hunger making me more impatient, anyhow. Viva Peckham, home of the hidden gem.
44 Choumert Road, SE15 4SE, 0207 4037436