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Nandine – Review
FOOD

Nandine – Review

Church Street in Camberwell, a well known London foodie spot, is home to Kurdish cafe and restaurant ‘Nandine’. This is one to check out if you haven’t already. The Church Street location is Nandine’s third offering in the city; they originally launched on Vestry Road, before a stint in Peckham Levels, and now the family-run cafe and restaurant have rooted down on Church Street.

Nandine’s atmosphere hits you as soon as you open the door. An authentic picture of a Kurdish woman is projected onto the back wall, eclectic jazzy music plays from wall-mounted speakers, and dim lighting from straw hanging lamps makes the plywood, brick walls, and dangling plants seem cosy. I arrived at 8pm, and nearly every single table was full. I was greeted by friendly (and very chilled) staff who let me choose where I’d like to sit from the remaining tables. I chose the lone upstairs table, which is a great spot to soak up the atmosphere from above if you’re lucky enough to get it.

‘Nandine’ means kitchen in Kurdish, which is simple but fitting. For those not familiar, Kurdistan is a region in Western-Asia, and Nandine brings authentic Kurdish flavours and dishes to this small corner of South-East London. I have friends in Camberwell, and we’ve ordered takeaway Nandine before (which was outstanding), so I was excited to eat in. The staff were knowledgeable about the menu and explained that the larger kebabs the menu offers are more like main dishes, and there’s a large selection of smaller plates for sharing to choose from. One kebab and one small plate are recommended per person or two to three small plates per person. There are plenty of meat, vegan and vegetarian options. The drinks menu is mainly cocktails (three of which can be made non-alcoholic) with a couple of beers on offer and a selection of wines.

The menu comprises an incredible selection of traditional Kurdish food, from Aubergine Platters and Mezze Dips to Kurdish Dumplings and Chicken Shish. It’s similar to the Turkish and Middle-Eastern food we know and love, but I was left wondering what flavours I was tasting in some of the plates and flavours of dill, celery and rosewater come through nicely in the dishes. I left this dining experience having tasted flavours in dishes that I’d never come across before.

I ordered the Vegan Kubba Dumplings (Kurdish Rice Dumplings filled with Vegetables), the Aubergine Platter (Smokey Aubergine Qawarma, Baba Ganoush, and an Aubergine Strip Salad), and the Vegan Kifta (Cracked Wheat Dumpling filled with Vegan 7 Spice Meat in a Warm Tomato and Spinach Sauce).

The Dumplings were crispy, salty and fluffy yet stodgy (all in a good way) with a little kick of spice. I’ve never had Dumplings like these, and they were my favourite dish of the evening. The Aubergine Platter came with fluffy, seasoned Bread – the dip trio itself was smokey, and some of the dips were warm, and some were cold, which was a nice contrast when dipping my Bread. The Vegan Kifta was a giant Dumpling in a bowl of Tomatoey Soup – this had a slightly sweet and nutty taste and was a truly unique dish. I’d recommend trying this if you’d like to try something new – they have a meat version of this dish on the menu as well! I’d describe the food as hearty and comforting.

They also have some amazing looking fries, which I saw on most of the tables from above topped with Spices, Fresh Herbs and Pomegranate Seeds. I wish I’d ordered these and will the next time I visit.

Church Street, generally speaking, is a great spot to drink and dine, some of my favourite restaurants in London are along this street and some great pubs too. If you haven’t been to Silk Road, The Camberwell Arms, Falafel & Shawarma or Theo’s Pizza – add them to your hit list now and check out Stormbird (the pub on the corner) while you’re at it. But visit Nandine first.

Website: https://nandine.co.uk

Address: Nandine, 45 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8TR

Written by Lenny Wright

Photography courtesy of Nandine

#southlondon #nandine #kurdishfood #camberwell #kurdish

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