Who does not love eating great asian-inspired food and drinking cocktails on a rooftop terrace in the sunshine? Add music and great vibes from a cool crowd and you have a relaxing holiday vibe without leaving the country.
So where is this paradise where an imaginative small plates menu makes the mouth water and you can enjoy top notch cocktails all under a tenner? Well, here's a hint. We ordered the Peckham Passion, a fruity cocktail which was immensely refreshing on the sunny evening we visited last week.
Yup - TOLA Peckham is a fabulous low-key and intimate venue in South London where a few steps from the bustling streets takes you into an uber-cool industrial-esque interior with a mix of booths, benches and high bar stools.
It's known as a late night bar and music venue and at weekends the dance floor comes to life with an in-house music programme showcasing the best of London's sound system culture and underground dance music.
But I was there with my foodie hat on, ready to try out the rooftop asian-inspired food concept, Ling Ling's based on a constantly evolving menu. (GIFTED, AD)
My husband and two of my adult children were very quick to volunteer to join me in tasting a variety of small plates.
We started with a refreshing cold dish, chilli bean beansprouts with just enough heat to be interesting. We moved onto "mum's spring rolls" with shredded cabbage and house tonkatsu. Cue moans of delight as four sets of chopsticks dived into the dish. The spring rolls were crispy without even a hint of greasiness and the tonkastu sauce proved the perfect addition to crunchy cabbage. Both these dishes are suitable for vegetarians.
When I first read about TOLA's collab with Ling Ling's I was intrigued by the mention of mushrooms and waffle served with a chive and ginger mayo. (suitable for vegetarians)
It actually managed to exceed expectation and my expectations were pretty high. The juices from the beautifully seasoned pile of mushrooms seeped into the fried potato waffles creating a flavour experience I'd love to recreate at home. The dish disappeared in seconds.
I was particularly looking forward to "Dad's crispy duck" served with pickles and house hoi sin and it did not disappoint. Without stodgy pancakes the flavour of the duck really came through with the crispy pickles and salad providing the perfect vehicle for the truly delicious hoi sin dressing.
My children, aged 20 and 22, adored Ling Ling's fried chicken which came with bright yellow pickled mooli adding the perfect tart crunch and chilli mayo I could have eaten with a spoon. Alongside this came a portion of salt and pepper chips with mayo which can be served as a vegetarian or vegan option.
By this point most of us were flagging but we still had Ling Ling's *not* carbonara - miso gingery noodles served warm with aubergine, puffed corn, chilli crips and herbs (vegetarian).
Luckily my husband is a trooper and after we had all sampled it (I loved the crunchiness of the puffed corn set against the soft noodles) he devoured the rest himself.
We set off for home, happy and sated leaving a pile of empty plates and resounding praise for the talented chef.
Although TOLA is a permanent fixture, Lin Ling's is not and you only have about three weeks to experience the foodie fabulousness of the small plate experience. Head to the website to book online.
Disclaimer: We were invited to dine at Ling Ling's at TOLA PECKHAM free for the purpose of this honest review.