Ganapati: South Indian South of the River

When you think of India you think of the Taj Mahal, colourful saris, beautiful elephants and decent curry. It was my boyfriend’s birthday this week, so a group of us ventured to Ganapati in Peckham: a humble and generally blank-canvassed, (in terms of décor) south Indian restaurant.

The website boasts an ever-changing (normally every six weeks) menu with free-range chicken and quirky fare such as guinea fowl, duck, seabass and mussels; some strange ingredients to see on a curry house menu but the point of Ganapati is the fact that it is South Indian cuisine, not the usual Bangladashi/Pakistani fare of tikka masala and naan bread.

The staff are patient as we overlook the menu, then take our order of chenin blanc wine (from the Nashik region of India) and banana/mango lassis – for those wanting clear heads in the morning.

Our starters include poppadoms, chutneys and homemade pickles, masala dosa (pancake stuffed with spicy mashed potato), aubergine bhurta (smoked aubergine salad with chilli, lemon juice and chopped herbs), and the Duck Fry (duck breast pan-fried with chilli, lemon, coriander and shallots) all priced between £4 to £5.

As we chat our main courses arrive, proceeded by a tirade of fork exchanges. I order the Kerala Kozhi curry with boiled rice (free range chicken breast cooked in a traditional roasted coconut and coriander masala) at £9.50.

My boyfriend’s hot Chennai Kozhi curry comes with tomato, ginger, garlic, star anise and chilli and, I’m advised, is very tasty. For vegetarians I can recommend the beetroot and coconut curry cooked with cumin masala and yogurt. The barely warm dahl curry is slightly disappointing, while the real delight is in the form of the Kerala Paratha: flaky bread resembling a Cornish savoury pastry – truly yummy. To finish, we decline the Indian sweets and cardamom cake and happily sip scented masala tea.

The staff at Ganapati are friendly and courteous, and the food is refreshingly different to the usual heavy north Indian delicacies. The restaurant can accommodate small numbers of takeaway orders as they like to ‘oblige those customers .. who cannot make it to eat in’. They also cater for weddings, private dinner parties and work conferences.

38 Holly Grove
Peckham SE15 5DF

Tel: 020 7277 2928

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