Last year I went to Levan in Peckham and had one of the standout meals of 2019. To the point that I became a one woman hype machine, liberally heaping praise and recommending booking a table pronto to anyone who would listen. 

Levan Peckham
Levan during easier times last year

Incidentally, as I talked it up, I had a growing sense of trepidation about returning. As anyone who’s ever read a favourite book or re-watched a much-loved film, only to find the present-day reality sorely lacking can attest, it’s a fact of life that some things can’t possibly measure up to your mind’s hype.  

As the months wore on, I worried it was just a fluke – a particularly accomplished day in the kitchen, or a good meal that my memories had elevated to the position of great. Only one thing would lay the sense of worry to rest… a return visit. 

That was how I found myself on Sunday, sitting at the requisite distance away from the next table, facing my partner and emitting a nervous giggle of relief as we finished our meal. We were heady and replete with that sense of satisfaction that can only come from having partaken in a great meal… one of those powerhouse lineups that leave just a little bit of their magic in you, as if you, not the chef had a hand in creating such delight. 

Levan – The Full Review 

The Food 

Burrata with Butternut Squash and Pine Nuts
Burrata with Butternut Squash and Pine Nuts

Word of warning to the wise: the seasonal menu at Levan changes on an almost daily basis – the chances of you having the same dishes are slim. No matter though, the unwavering talent exuded by the kitchen isn’t going to let you down. 

Of the starters – a burrata with roasted butternut squash, pine nuts and raisins topped with crispy sage leaves – and a beef tartare – hidden under an anchovy crumb and lamb’s lettuce and accompanied by some slow-roasted jerusalem artichokes, the tartare came out tops. Only by a whisper though – the contrast of the mild burrata with the sweetness of the squash and aromatic sage was a worthy contender, but it was the tartare that engendered (no joke) an eye-roll of delight.

Beef tartare at Levan
Beef tartare at Levan

Rather than the ubiquitous cornichons and Worcestershire sauce usually buddying with the tartare, the salty tang of the anchovy crumb was a revelation – an “aha” moment that left my tastebuds and my mind in full agreement that I should eke out the experience of eating said dish for as long as possible. 

We’d both erred with the relatively safe choice of the pork belly as a main. Always a crowd-pleaser, the folks at Levan made this Sunday standard really shine. 

Pork Belly, jus and plum compote with steamed greens
Pork Belly, jus and plum compote with steamed greens

Two chunks of unguent-like belly, complete with deliciously savoury crackling with a plum sauce, jus and steamed greens = success, particularly when paired with the salsa-verde smashed roast potatoes. 

Of it all, only the coffee caramel cake with brandy ice cream and (white) chocolate cremeaux was a bit underwhelming – but as I’m 100% a savoury over sweet person, I could easily chalk that down to personal preference.

Coffee cake with brandy ice cream and chocolate cremeaux
Coffee cake with brandy ice cream and chocolate cremeaux

It was fine, although I would have liked to see more contrast between the flavours which all bordered on the pleasingly sweet but rather unremarkable. Still, I quibble – in a lesser meal, it would have been a highlight and it by no means detracted from the overall experience. 

The Look 

Levan, Peckham

Think neighbourhood bistro – but thanks to the current restrictions – with more space than you’d normally expect. Cosy enough for you to while away an afternoon having a tete a tete over your meal. 

Final Thoughts 

Levan continues to be the one of the most exciting restaurants in London – the perfect marriage of stellar food, friendly service in a relaxed neighbourhood setting. 

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Levan – Practical Information and Map 

Price: ££

Address: 12-16 Blenheim Grove, Peckham, London SE15 4QL

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Levan, Peckham - The Full Review

Summary

A neighbourhood restaurant serving accomplished food in a laid-back Peckham setting. Contemporary European food has never looked so good. 

Overall
5

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