How long have you lived in south London?
I’ve lived in South London ever since I moved here from Surrey, where I grew up (ignoring a brief spell house sitting in Camden). I chose Camberwell because it felt a bit edgier than Clapham but still close enough to my family that it was easy for them to visit. I love my little corner of South London because it’s unpretentious, perpetually surprising and coincidentally many of my closest friends have ended up here too.
What made you want to move here?
I feel like South London is my home – my safe space – while north of the river is where work happens. Typical weekdays don’t really exist in my line of work, which means that in non-pandemic periods I could be travelling in Europe or the States, or indeed I could be sat at my desk, on deadline, trying to write a review of a fashion show. It’s very varied. My offices have always been in Soho or Mayfair, so crossing the river southwards feels like an escape.
Top south London restaurants?
My favourite restaurant when I want a special dinner or need somewhere to celebrate my birthday is Brunswick House in Vauxhall. The chef and proprietor Jackson Boxer is a friend and he always makes me and the people I love feel incredibly welcome. For a more grassroots experience you can’t beat Hot Stuff, also in Vauxhall. Their curries are the stuff of legend. For pizza, Theo’s in Camberwell is excellent. Fowld’s Cafe just off Addington Square, behind Burgess Park, is situated in an old upholsterer’s and the coffee is really excellent.
Favourite south London pub?
The Sun in Camberwell holds a very special place in my heart because I used to live directly behind it and spent a good few nights of every week in their excellent beer garden getting merry and eating salt and vinegar crisps with my best mates.
Where do you shop in south London yourself?
Sadly the shop I spend the most time in is probably Marks & Spencer on Walworth Road, but I also love the art shop – Cowling & Wilcox – in Camberwell. I love all the antique shops in Crystal Palace. I’ve spent many a happy Saturday afternoon rummaging around in that neck of the woods. I also love the Nunhead Gardener garden centre. Plants always make good gifts.
How has south London changed since you’ve lived here?
Immeasurably, but it’s also barely at all. The Walworth Road is as down and dirty as it’s ever been, and Dulwich is as brilliantly hoity toity as ever, too. Camberwell feels like it’s got more to offer in the way of food which I love, but it’s not lost any of its soul.
I love how Burgess Park has changed during the years that I’ve lived in Camberwell. It’s the place where I run and where I go to sunbathe in the summer. It’s not perfect but it’s my park. I also really love Myatt’s Fields – but mainly for snooping at the mansions which surround it.
How would you describe south London in a nutshell?
Easy going, happy with itself, a breeding ground for diamonds in the rough.
Finally: what’s the thing on our side of the river that everyone should try at least once?
The chilli paneer from Hot Stuff.