Sunday, 5 September 2010

Frank’s Café and Campari Bar

by Charlotte

The bar on the roof is run by Frank, a slim, tall dude with a chilled out look about him.

A test run last year resulted in Peckham being firmly placed on the map, the new Shoreditch, packed with students, artists, and scruffy creative types with dogs, small and large.

This year it’s back and it is better. By that I mean there are a couple more signs, which vaguely direct you to the top floor of the run-down NCP car park. There’s an interesting odour, certainly not that of the fresh food on offer on the roof. There is more seating, men in suits keeping an eye on the crowd and better weather – how they organised this I cannot be sure. Every time I’ve been the sun has been out, showing off the incredible view that is guaranteed to impress kids from West and East London and those far off places north of the river that I know nothing about.

Having walked up seven floors, what can you get? Campari of course, a drink that 10% of people like, 20% pretend to like and 70% know and admit they do not like. Luckily, I am in the 10% and I’m pleased to be drinking Campari Soda, which comes in a bottle shaped like a conical flask from chemistry lessons at school. This is cool. They also do Campari cocktails, Peroni, wine and homemade lemonade that got the thumbs down for being too sharp to handle; real wincing material.

The food. Franks offers a bar menu and a restaurant menu which I think needs to be booked in advance. Opinions are mixed. My boyfriend will not eat there. From seeing the cost of heritage tomatoes and sea salt (£4.50 for a small plate) he is unimpressed. However, you can get sweetcorn with smoked paprika for £1.50.

I’m there with a friend so we pick a few things to share, starting with cured meats. This consists of a small plate of fennel-infused salami, which is absolutely delicious. It’s the perfect texture, with a slight sweetness that is balanced by the fennel.  Perhaps not worth £7.20, but it’s something I’ll be looking out for in my local deli. To follow, (we order at the same time but it arrives as it pleases) we have the market fish; bream, and a salad. The fish comes with salad, which would have been helpful to know when ordering. We get off lightly after almost ending up with onglet, a cut of meat from a cow’s diaphragm which the barman tells us is fresh fish – we opt out and go for the bream. Having looked up onglet since, it is supposedly a great cut of meat that is full of flavour, something that I now must try. Apparently the cheese is worth a nibble too.

The bream arrives (we are concerned as we’ve shelled out £12.00 for this dish) and I am immediately excited by the look of this enormous fish that I only have to share with one person! It is grilled perfectly so that it is crispy and black in places on the outside with all the flavour locked in. Plenty of lemon is supplied.

So, at the end of the evening I’ve seen the views, sipped Campari and filled up on bream, the catch of the day, with salad and salami, for less than twenty pounds. Pretty good. Just double check the menu, choose wisely and you’ll be fine. 


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