Angelic tapas at Camberwell’s Angels and Gypsies

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Angels and Gypsies
29-33 Camberwell Church St
SE5 8TR
http://www.angelsandgypsies.com
0207 703 5984

Tipped as a tapas hot spot, Angels and Gypsies is quite the jewel of Camberwell Church St.
As a Peckham dweller I’m no stranger to treading over the discarded hair that lines the streets of Rye Lane or buying a suitcase off the street, but whenever I walk along Peckham Road towards Camberwell it’s noticeably the dodgy end of Peckham. Don’t let this discourage you though; once you retreat into the restaurant it is worlds away from the mean streets outside.

The restaurant has what can only be described as a slight church theme, basically involving a few stained glassed windows and a couple of pews as seats in an otherwise modern looking restaurant. You can’t blame them for their hesitant décor choices though; as it turns out, even the Pope thinks church chic is kind of over. Regardless, it’s a warm space brimming with people on a Saturday night and service is efficient and friendly.

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We start with sangria, completely dispelling the myth that you need to be on a sun-soaked beach in Spain to enjoy fruit soaked in alcohol. In the dreary, cold British winter, it’s the most uplifting way possible to get your five a day.
The kitchen prides itself on preparing everything from scratch using fresh, local ingredients. The dishes are staggered well, brought to the table in perfect pacing so you can graze and enjoy each of the selections. We begin with bread, olive oil and olives before the tapas arrive.

The prawn croquetas are an absolute treat, a crispy golden casing oozing with a creamy filling and miniature prawns. It’s worth ordering just for the habanero salsa that accompanies them, which compliments every dish on the table, right down to the bread. It’s a fresh, slightly spicy salsa of diced tomatoes, onion, habanero chilli, cilantro and no doubt enough other secret herbs and spices to put the neighbouring KFC to shame.

The Raxo pork special is a tasty mix of thin strips of chargrilled pork piled on top of patatas fritas (that’s chips for the non-español speakers playing at home).The slow cooked aubergine and coriander stew is more like a casserole of soft roasted vegetables on a thick, pureed sauce. Regardless, it’s rich in flavour and hearty with strong pepper tones.

All of the desserts on offer are equally enticing. Sheer foolishness prevented me from ordering the blonde brownie sundae with egg nog and hot fudge sauce, but I’m convinced the restaurant is worth revisiting just to quell my curiosity. The Panna Cotta is superb though. Smooth in texture its subtle vanilla flavour is sweet without being overbearing and its pairing with pistachio nuts gives it a unique twist. My friend ordered the apple tart in a bit of a put-on-the-spot ordering panic. When you have the options of extravagant cheeseboards, house churned ice-cream, cheesecake and decadent brownie concoctions, who’s really going to pick the apple thing? We’d already fulfilled our five a day quota with the sangria. Despite this, the apple tart fought back and was surprisingly good.
All in all you could feast for days on the selection of delicacies here, so get thee to Angels and Gypsies. Godspeed.

The Damage:
Housemade organic sourdough bread with Harencia la Mancha olive oil and organic sage and crushed sea salt: £2.50
A selection of house marinated Spanish olives: £2.50
Prawn croquetas with habanero salsa: £7.50
Special: Raxo pork with patatas fritas: £8.50
Slow cooked aubergine and coriander stew: £5.00
Panna Cotta with cardamom and pistachio: £6
Apple tarte with crème fraiche: £6
1 X Red wine Sangria: £6.50
1 X White wine Sangria: £6.50
2 X Castana Monastrell dulce 2006 sherry (£6.50 each): £13
TOTAL: £64

Ambience (1-5): ****
Value (1-5): ***
Food (1-5): ****
Disabled access: No
Disabled toilets: No
Pre-booking: Recommended for evenings.

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