Spike + Earl is an all-day café that has just opened in the former Southwark Town Hall on Peckham Road, Camberwell. The café is a new venture from the owners of The Old Spike Roastery in Peckham Rye and, like its counterpart, is a social enterprise. The business tackles homelessness by training and employing homeless people as well as helping with housing support.
On top of being an excellent, socially conscious business, the food is wonderful. The café’s speciality is the Dutch Crunch Sandwich, which comes in a variety of exciting flavours. However, to call them mere sandwiches is, I feel, a disservice. These are entire meals in themselves. A fish finger sandwich comes filled with crostini, potato and tangy green sauce, while the roast carrot incarnation with beer rarebit and Bombay spiced lentils is up there with the best vegetarian sandwiches I’ve eaten. Also offered are Korean beef (with crispy noodles!), and buttermilk chicken with crispy bacon and Russian salad.
In the evening a selection of small plates are served, among which we particularly enjoyed charred hispi cabbage with brown shrimp and spicy sambal olek, and broccoli with poached egg and lardo. There was also a wonderfully creamy lemon posset topped with poached rhubarb.
Given its roots, coffee unsurprisingly permeates Spike + Earl’s drinks menu. A ‘caffeine negroni’ is a triumph, made with cold pressed coffee, extra dry vermouth and a hint of orange liqueur, and the espresso martini is delicious and not too sweet. In both cases the quality of the coffee really shines through.
Spike + Earl is one of those rare places that can suit any mood, whether it be brunch or a quick lunch, or relaxing evening drinks. I already keen to return, this time to try their breakfast offerings, and would encourage others to do the same.
Spike + Earl, 31 Peckham Rd, Camberwell, London SE5 8UB