Sunday 28 June 2009

Ganapati, Holly Grove, Peckham, south London

A spartan, yet colourfully decorated, neighbourhood restaurant serving authentic south Indian cuisine, Ganapati has bare wooden tables and talkative, teasing staff in traditional costume. On weekend evenings, there are two sittings at 7.30pm and 9.15pm. The menu is varied and stimulating. Among the starters, are some rather dry vegetarian street snacks (£4.50) consisting of a couple of small fried potato balls and a couple of patties both laced with spices and served with much-needed dips. The pappadoms, served with four diverse pickles and chutneys, are more filling. Among the mains, the Malli Varutha fish curry (about £11) with rice is quite spicy and fiddly, but delicious. Equally impressive is the Banana Leaf Thali - a classic south Indian dish served in a myriad of multi-sized metallic pots containing a fish, meat or vegetable curry, pickles, chutneys, rice, yoghurt and other condiments. To drink, you are given a large metallic flask of tap water with matching beakers. Or you can have a fruit lassi for about £3, or a 330ml bottle of cobra beer for £3.25. Ganapati also sells several unusual beers from the Meantime brewery, while wine starts at about £13 a bottle. Note, there is also an obligatory 10% service charge. All in all, good value for a taste of genuine southern Indian food. 7/10