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Salon & Levan founder to open new Peckham eatery

This March, following the success of Salon and Levan, founder Nicholas Balfe, partners Mark Gurney and Matt Bushnell will open the doors to Larry's in Peckham.

Taking cues from the corner bars, diners and cafes of New York, Larry's will be open all day, kicking off in the morning with hot coffee and fresh pastries, serving deli-style sandwiches for lunch, and a concise menu of sharing plates for dinner.

As with its next door restaurant, Levan, Larry’s is named for 1970s dance music pioneer and DJ Larry Levan, and will stay open late into the night, playing music from its vintage Celestion Ditton sound system while guests settle in for dinner.

Larry’s will start the day with breakfasts inspired by the Big Apple’s Italian-American and Jewish and delis; there’s lox, potato latkes, sour cream, dill pickle; and Larry’s breakfast, two soft boiled eggs, mortadella, Emmental, focaccia.

As thoughts turn to lunch, the team will be layering up sandwiches on focaccia such as a meatball melt with pickles and aged Gouda, as well as a selection of plates including the Larry’s take on a Waldorf salad with poached pear, walnut, celery and blue cheese dressing; and veal schnitzel with red cabbage remoulade and fermented chilli mayonnaise.

Into the evening, guests can begin with snacks such as potato latkes with smoked cod’s roe, salt beef beignets or ‘nduja soaked focaccia. Next, there are sharing plates inspired by NYC’s diverse dinner scene: devilled crab, brown crab mayo, pickled fennel, bruschetta; XO cabbage with clams and house-made XO chilli sauce; and pig’s head ragu with pappardelle and Szechuan pepper.

For something sweet, there’ll be a daily changing cheesecake, gelatos made in house, as well as Babkas, doughnuts and pies all on rotation.

To drink, Larry’s will eschew a lengthy wine list in favour of a dynamic, lean and constantly changing offering of two wines of each colour (white, red, orange, rosé, and sparkling).

These will take the form of a quality house wine and a guest wine from interesting, low-intervention winemakers; much like a record selector, Gurney’s wine picks will change weekly or even daily, with regions like the Loire and the Languedoc going back to back.

Keeping it simpler still, there will also be two cocktails and just one beer.

Day-to-day life at Larry’s will revolve around a central bench made from Carrara marble, which will be used for pastries and baked goods in the morning, rolling pasta in the afternoon, and communal dining in the evenings.

In true deli style, the menu will be displayed on the three lightboxes positioned above the counter, where guests on the go can order pastries and coffees to take away.

“Larry’s is somewhere we’d expect Larry Levan to go to after playing one of his sets”, said Balfe. “We’ve cherry-picked everything we love about eating in New York, and combined them into the kind of place we would want in our neighbourhood.”

Gurney added, “It’s a naughty little brother: relaxed and informal. It’s the perfect spot for any occasion – a quick lunch, a glass of something natural and a bite to eat, or a leisurely dinner with friends.”

Founded by Balfe in 2012, Salon opened as a pop-up above a cheese shop in Brixton Market, before becoming a permanent fixture after a run of successful events in 2013.

In recent years, Balfe has built the team, introducing Bushnell and Gurney as partners to drive the business side of the restaurant forwards, which saw an interior refurbishment and addition of a neighbouring wine store.?

Together, they opened Levan in November 2019, where it quickly became a much-loved Peckham favourite. Levan was awarded the ‘Most Sustainable Wine List’ award in the Wine List Confidential Awards 2019.