A local’s shopping guide to Bellenden Road, Peckham

In which SE15 resident Emma McCarthy offers up an extract from her new book Shop London

Much of Peckham’s appeal lies in geography, with two opposing streets running parallel and offering a very different perspective of South London life.

There’s the rough-and-tumble of Rye Lane, with its dance-til-dawn pool halls and late night chicken shops. Then there’s the genteel, leafy micro-suburb of Bellenden Road.

The latter kick-started the area’s increasing influence and affluence with just three businesses: the Petitou café, the former fashion emporium Fenton Walsh and the still-going-strong Review bookshop. Now it’s got a fair few more for city adventurers to visit.

General Store

‘A cut far above your average corner shop.’ Photo: Kim Lightbody

A cut far above your average corner shop, this delicatessen caters to the area’s quinoa-and-kale-munching classes with its supply of fresh, seasonal produce and fancy store cupboard essentials or foodie gifts. Locally and London sourced fodder includes sourdough loaves from Brixton’s BreadBread Bakery and artisanal Mexican cheese from Old Kent Road’s Gringa Dairy. 174 Bellenden Road, SE15 4BW, 020 7642 2129. More info here.


Evie Wyld’s friendly independent bookshop. Photo: Kim Lightbody

Opened by two Peckham locals in 2005 and now run by prize-winning novelist Evie Wyld, this friendly, independent bookshop prides itself on cherry-picking every title in the shop, which has a strong skew towards contemporary fiction and a section reserved for signed first editions. It also hosts the annual Peckham Literary Festival. 131 Bellenden Road, SE15 4QY, 0207 639 7400. More info here.


Luxury labels and local designers. Photo: Kim Lightbody

Leaving behind a thirty-year teaching career, owner Sally took a leap of faith and opened Bias in 2012. The result is a shop which includes the sorts of luxury labels you’d expect to find in a high-end Chelsea haunt (Baum und Pferdgarten, Bellerose, MiH), coupled with a dedication to local designers and Peckham-produced ethical homeware. 143 Bellenden Road, SE15 4DH, 020 7732 3747. More info here.


Well-established vintage fashion boutique. Photo: Kim Lightbody

Since taking over this well-established vintage fashion boutique in 2014, Savile Row-trained eco-fashion designer Jemima Norton has been busy supplementing its second-hand stock with new pieces from independent local designers. Look out for the bright geometric jackets by Koro Kimono and the store’s own line of made-in-Peckham accessories and repro retro clobber. 186 Bellenden Road, SE15 4BW, 020 3784 0020. More info here.


A place for chocolate-lovers. Photo: Kim Lightbody

Ask anyone in South London where to get a sugar fix and the answer is always the same: Melange. As if straight out of the pages of Joanne Harris’s Chocolat, Parisienne owner and self-taught chocolatier Isabelle Alaya set up shop in 2008 and has been giving Peckham’s chocolate-lovers a place to indulge their sweet tooth ever since.

As well as offering a host of workshops – from chocolate painting to wine pairing – Melange specialises in hand layered slabs of dark, milk and white chocolate with unique flavour combinations such as ginger and lime and raspberry and rosemary. Stop short of gorging yourself on the sample trays to save room for the café’s signature hot chocolates, voted the best in London by the capital’s most meticulous chocoholics. Try the delicious coconut milk option, whether you’re vegan or not. 2 Maxted Road, SE15 4LL, 07722 650 711. More info here.

This piece is an edited extract from Emma McCarthy’s Shop London: An Insider’s Guide To Shopping Like A Local, available for £9.99 here.

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