When It Comes to Takeaway, Peckham Cellars’ Luke West-Whylie Is Ordering All the Bao and Tacos
To-Go Takes is Resy’s regular feature wherein we quiz the folks behind some of our favourite restaurants about all things related to takeout.
In this edition, we speak to Luke West-Whylie, a co-founder and co-owner of beloved SE15 wine bar, Peckham Cellars, currently open for indoor and outdoor dining, plus national wine takeaway and delivery. Below, he shares some of his favourite takeaway tips, tricks, cocktails, and regular stops.
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Restaurant: Peckham Cellars
Name + Title: Luke West-Whylie, Co-founder & Co-owner
You’re doing some brilliant wine deliveries via your online shop. What’s your favourite bottle on the list at the moment?
This changes all of the time! Really depends on what mood I’m in or what the occasion is. If I’m reaching for white wine, I’d be popping a bottle of Domaine Mosse Chenin Blanc. It’s just so wonderful, great texture, and an all-round brilliant wine. We had it on by the glass at Peckham Cellars a few weeks back, and I fell for it all over again. If I’m looking for a red, I’m going either for La Bruja de Rozas — old vine Garnacha, floral, light, very pretty — or Formica Rossa which is new to us. It’s Sangiovese but not like any I’ve tasted before, and has a watermelon note which is incredibly unusual and smashable in equal measures.
If I’m feeling fancy I’m going to have a bottle of Erdreich Schmitt, which is a skin-contact blend of four different varietals from the Rheinhessen in Germany. This is one of those wines that makes your palate come instantly alive, ripe mango and tropical notes straight away. It’s insanely delicious and one of my wines of 2020.
The Peckham Cellars team all grew up in the area. Where are you getting takeaway from and what are you ordering?
Takeaway is a real mix here. We eat a lot of Mamma Dough during meetings — their pizzas are amazing and the right mix between sloppy and crispy. Also, we eat a lot of Taco Queen and Mr Bao. One positive during lockdown is that all of these places started doing takeaway and haven’t stopped, which is great. If it’s Mamma Dough, I’m going for ‘The Devil’; it’s spicy, meaty and restorative, just how you want a pizza to be. Taco Queen, I’m just getting everything — I honestly wish this wasn’t the truth — but if I had to round it down, I’d be doing wings, fish and pork tacos, and a kimchi mulita. Mr Bao’s fried chicken is the first thing ordered every time. I refuse to share it, so quite often it’s two portions. Pork dumplings, shiitake mushroom bao, and the original pork belly ‘Mr Bao.’ La Chingada for tacos and Koi Ramen are also very high up the list.
Best tip to spruce up your takeaway?
Add your own sauce! Henry, our chef here at Cellars has been working on hot sauces, chile oils, and ketchups for a Christmas hamper we’re putting together. I’ve been adding them to everything at the moment. Also, Kewpie mayo with everything is another safe bet.
Aside from Peckham Cellars, what’s your favourite place for cocktails to go?
My favourite place for cocktails is definitely Swift in Soho and now in Shoreditch, although I haven’t had the chance to visit that one yet. Great drinks, lovely people. I can’t go to Soho without stopping there at least once. I can’t get enough of that Irish coffee, no matter how many times I have it — they have an online shop now for deliveries now. They have the most dangerous whiskey list in all of London, I would say.
What single restaurant dish would you walk miles for?
Now this was by far the hardest question! I actually had to sleep on it. I’ve rounded it down to four and I can’t choose — The Crumpet by Tom Brown at Cornerstone. It’s changed a few times, but I’ve had it twice, and both times I was blown away. The soup dumplings at Leong’s Legend in Chinatown. My partner and I actually walked from Peckham a couple of weeks back to get them, and they banged so hard.
The Four Legs cheeseburger — I mean, it’s a cheeseburger, but it’s the best cheeseburger you’ll ever eat. It was next level. The whole menu banged, but the cheeseburger is ingrained in my mind. Finally, Pete’s Fish Factory in Margate, one of those where the food was linked to the time and place. It was my partner and I’s first trip post lockdown. When we arrived, it was pissing down with rain and everywhere was shut. We ended up getting Pete’s and eating it standing up on the beachfront, getting lashed with rain and it was delicious. Crispy, battery joy!
Tell me a little about the BAME in Hospitality Raffle you’ve got on the online shop?
We wanted to do something to help, you know. The summer was hard, reading the news, going to the protests, reading about the topic. As a Black business owner, I feel some responsibility to do something. The BAME in Hospitality raffle was our way of trying to raise a bit of money. Six incredible wines, £5 a ticket. You can’t go wrong.
There was a sigh of relief when restaurants reopened. What was your first meal back?
Helen, Ben (Peckham Cellars co-owners) and I did a little crawl when we were allowed out again. Started at Forza Wine, where we aimed to have “just a snack” and ended up having almost the whole menu. I can’t remember exactly what it was — probably all the wine we had — but there was some kind of braised rabbit leg on the menu and it was so delicious, the memory of it pierced through my hangover the next day.
Then we went on to Levan for Parmesan fries and wine. The little outside bit of Levan is so nice, so we sat there and got to enjoy a few glasses and a couple of snacks. Then on to dinner at Peckham Bazaar, I think by far our favourite restaurant in London. John just gets food, it’s always next level, never anything that doesn’t belong on the plate, and so beautifully presented. A great dinner there and lots of Greek wine. It was a great night out, capped with my first “real” hangover in four months.
Peckham Cellars is open for indoor and outdoor dining for dinner Thursday-Friday, plus Saturday lunch. Order wine takeaway and delivery here.