So here is another review that is a long, long time overdue. I have been cooking from Sally Butcher’s book, Persia in Peckham (Sunday Times cookbook of the year) for over a year now and it remains one of my favourites. For those of you not familiar, the book contains not only some incredibly exciting recipes, but is packed full of info about the food of Iran and its culture. There’s also a lot of love for Peckham. Although we get a rough deal in some respects, this is still one of the most vibrant and buzzing communities in London.

The shop, Persepolis, is exactly the same as the book in that it is like opening the door on an Aladdin’s cave. You are greeted with bright colours, floor to ceiling excitement, exotic ingredients crammed into every nook and cranny. Intoxicating smells waft across from the huge selection of sweets and baklava in the window display.

I spied smoked sturgeon minding their own business in a quiet corner and Sally’s husband Jamshid explained that this Iranian delicacy is traditionally eaten at New Year, fried or steamed and served with herbed rice (usually dill). Apparently it is delicious but is incredibly salty, so you therefore only need a very small piece.

There are dried fruits, including sour cherries, sour orange peel, figs, limes and seeds, including roasted and salted and black melon seeds. There are exotic teas, along with dried flowers – chamomile flowers, rose buds and ‘green flowers’. Time to start working out what to do with them. You can also buy legumes, lentils, dried herbs (sabzi) and mixes for falafels, pasta for ash-e-reshteh (a kind of soup) and reshteh polo (Iranian noodles).

Food isn’t the only reason to visit Persepolis though, you can find tagines, rugs, hookahs, tea sets, books, ‘I love Peckham’ stickers, shoppers, t-shirts and even greeting cards. Yes, greetings cards, specially commissioned with a unique Peckham stamp.

This is what makes Persepolis special, not only do the owners keep their shelves stocked with the most dizzying array of ingredients, they are a true local shop. Sally is a passionate and active member of the Peckham community, hosting story-telling evenings, promoting local events and artists and even producing a newsletter to keep us up to date on the whole lot. Yes, Peckham has its problems but Sally does what many others don’t and that is highlight the positives. The community is a proud, diverse and vibrant one and Persepolis is right at the heart of it.

28-30 Peckham High Street
SE15 5DT
0207 639 8007

Persepolis is open from 10.35am – 9.59pm (yes really) – 7 days a week.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Wendy September 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Wow. I could spend a month in there. Yet again, I’m a little envious of your London life. Good grief! It feels wrong even writing that but it’s true! 🙂

    Wendys last blog post..Last Call

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    Reply Peter G September 26, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Jeez! This is better than Aladdin’s cave Helen! What a shop! Can’t wait to see your “finally perfected recipe” next week. Look forward to it.

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    Reply Christie@fig&cherry September 26, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Wow, you are so lucky to have this place nearby. I would love to get lost in there!

    I must admit though, I was confused when I saw your title in the feed reader and thought you were reviewing the animated film that’s just been released with the same name (it’s brilliant) and thought you were branching out into film review!

    Christie@fig&cherrys last blog post..Mini caprese salads

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    Reply Y September 27, 2008 at 12:58 am

    What a great store. It has so much personality! 🙂

    Ys last blog post..Daring Bakers Challenge : Lavash Crackers

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    Reply aforkfulofspaghetti September 27, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I got a bit stuck on the pics of those gorgeous sticky pastries… I can eat those things by the bucketload. Probably a good job I don’t live in Peckham!

    aforkfulofspaghettis last blog post..that breakfast at Cafe Paradiso…

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    Reply We Are Never Full September 27, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    wow… i just got envious! but we’ll be in in london to visit my new grandson in a few months so maybe I can take a trip over there to check this amazing store out. great pictures… so colorful. i want a tagine from there!

    We Are Never Fulls last blog post..Top Five of the Month: Crisps/Potato Chips & A Giveaway.

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    Reply Johanna September 28, 2008 at 1:00 am

    looks an amazing shop – and your comments that you could find dried sour cherries there make me feel a fool for not trying to find them in all the wonderful middle eastern shops near me – will be searching there soon!

    Johannas last blog post..Fridge Door Confessions

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    Reply JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen September 28, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    I am so …well…jealous, really. Helen. your posts of late are making me think I need to visit London very soon! There are just such wonderful hidden food gems basically everywhere! This shop looks like an absolute dream come true!

    JennDZ_The LeftoverQueens last blog post..Daring Bakers: Za’atar Spiced Lavash Crackers with Spicy Walnut Dip and Cilantro Chutney

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    Reply Helen September 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Wendy – You make me laugh! I am a little envious of your Scotland life!
    Peter G – Aha! Tempted you have I? I am so happy with the recipe!
    Christie – I had absolutely no idea….
    Y – it certainly does – the people that own it are lovely 🙂
    Spaghetti – Come down and visit – we will go pastry eating together.
    We are never full – Oh please do! It is such a fantastic place. just make sure you have enough time for a chat.
    Johanna – yes, try them in your granola if you like that kind of thing
    Jenn – Oh go on, you know you want to come visit!

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    Reply Nicisme October 2, 2008 at 8:26 am

    You really know how to make a girl jealous don’t you?

    Nicismes last blog post..Jammin’ with British Scones and Clotted Cream!

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    Reply urbanfoodie April 21, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Ooof what a place, I’m already drooling over the thought of sour cherries and all those spices. Thanks for sharing

    urbanfoodies last blog post..Chard and Feta Omelette

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    Reply Andrew November 29, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    A place i have longed to visit… one day I shall make the long trek from out here in the country. Hope to share some of those lovely looking pastries too!

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    Reply Sheetal July 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    haha..The ‘10.35am – 9.59pm’ made me chuckle! just so…British!

    I miss London–and its little hidden treasures…

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