Located in Forest Hill station’s forecourt, it is easy to overlook this surprising little café, where the staff are anything but Lazy!
First impressions on entering this family run café are of a warm, friendly place to eat, featuring a menu with something for everyone. The large range of breakfast options has an international flavour with Mediterranean and American combinations to complement the standard European fare. There is also an equally varied list of lunch options ranging from chicken dishes to pasta, fish and burgers. These can be washed down with a glass of wine from Italy, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia or Chile. It’s the wide range of different meals available that makes the Lazy Chef special.
I met with Serkan, one of three brothers, the others being Sidar and Serdar who have worked together for 20 years and have run the Lazy Chef for two years — alongside their uncle Ercan, who does the cooking.
My first question was obvious: Why the name when it’s very clear this is not a lazy establishment!? Serkan explained that the name is fun, a laugh and something different to catch the eye. Continuing, Serkan said 90-percent of his customers are locals who visit regularly.
Serkan takes pride in making them feel welcome. He wants the Lazy Chef to feel like a warm sanctuary where you can enjoy excellent coffee and tasty food.
Serkan and his family are Kurdish and come from Turkey, though Serkan has now lived in Devonshire Road for 23 years and loves working in Forest Hill. Before the Lazy Chef, Serkan and his brothers owned kebab shops including one in Dartmouth Road. Asked if he had any plans for the Lazy Chef, Serkan said he would like to expand the café and be able to serve more customers. Given the location, this would be difficult. I wondered whether Serkan and his brothers might want to move to a larger premise elsewhere, but he was adamant he had no intention of leaving Forest Hill.
If you fancy a good cup of tea or coffee and a tasty bite to eat, the Lazy Chef may be the place for you. And if you do visit, try the Gorlette — savoury Turkish flatbreads which are home-made by Serkan’s mum!