Mercato Metropolitano

Mercato Metropolitano entrance - kenningtonrunoff.com

Move over Giorgio Locatelli – we went to Mercarto Metropolitano in the former Paperworks and Hotel Elephant sites on Newington Causeway and had the best pasta we’ve had outside Italy- this tortelloni stuffed with pumpkin in butter and sage sauce (not sure why we needed a ciabatta with it but still):

Mercato Metropolitano pasta - kenningtonrunoff.com

Mercarto Metropolitano is huge, 45,000 square feet, with two halls full of food stalls, mostly variants on pizza, pasta and sweet stuff, but recently completed stalls include French and British food. The gelato stall is also excellent, with an array of sophisticated flavours, including a black sesame of which we have heard tell from our North Kennington stringer but which always seems to be in production whenever we visit.

Mercato Metropolitano bar - kenningtonrunoff.comMercarto Metropolitano second food hall - kenningtonrunoff.com

Move over Borough Market – there’s also an Italian food market featuring rows and rows of produce that would not otherwise be available in London.

Mercato Metropolitano jars - kenningtonrunoff.com Mercato Metropolitano cheese - kenningtonrunoff.comMercato Metropolitano meats - kenningtonrunoff.comMercato Metropolitano wines - kenningtonrunoff.com

Many of the prices in the market are as eyewatering as the products are mouthwatering. £5 for a 330ml bottle of Italian craft beer for example, or these organic pastas:

Mercato Metropolitano pasta - kenningtonrunoff.com

There are also bars and street food in the outdoor gravelly area where Paperworks used to be:

Mercato Metropolitano bars - kenningtonrunoff.com

There’s a coffee van and juice bar in front of the market (finally somewhere to get a proper vegetable juice). Above the market there is, apparently, a barbershop, boxing gym and shared working space. There’s also an “urban garden” (i.e. flowers planted in crates):

Mercato Metropolitano outside seating - kenningtonrunoff.com

Mercarto Metropolitano originated in Turin. The Evening Standard report that the owner Andrea Rasca has invested £1.2 million in this London venture which is believable based on its scale, but the initial lease is only for a year so get down there and support – we want this to stay!

They’re open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 11pm.

Mercato Metropolitano,  42 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6DR.

where have we gone?

We’ve been blogging less recently but we will be back, and meanwhile we remain active on Twitter and Instagram.

Do subscribe by email on the right hand side so you don’t have to check back for new content.

Also check this out for some great photos of Kennington in bygone eras. This is 317 Kennington Road (where Barnard Marcus is now, and not 317 Kennington Lane as the archive says) in 1966. What was Barron & Shepherd? A Google search suggests it might have been a timber yard.

Malborough House, 317 Kennington Road from the London Photo Archive

The Feminist Library Summer Benefit

We first visited the Feminist Library earlier this year on what could have been its final weekend in its current building, until they got a last minute reprieve from their landlords Southwark Council. The council are still planning on hiking the rent up by 150%, but have given the Feminist Library a little longer to find new premises, thankfully. With this in mind,  they are organising a Summer Benefit tomorrow – Saturday 2 July – to help raise funds for new premises.

The Feminist Library - shelving - kenningtonrunoff.com

The library is worth a trip, full of boxes of ’80s feminist zines, and quiet corners and beanbags on which to peruse them. Its Summer Benefit promises a choral installation, one-to-one performances in a lift, the launch of the Feminist Library Survival Song and award winning novelist Ali Smith In Conversation, plus stalls, zines, signed copies of books, food, drink, dancing and a photobooth performance. The finale will come from post-punk icons The Raincoats.

The Feminist Library - pamphlets - kenningtonrunoff.com

The party runs from 2pm until 10pm, and although advance tickets have already sold out, there will be a limited number of tickets on the door tomorrow.

The Feminist Library - noticeboard and merch - kenningtonrunoff.com

FEMINIST LIBRARY, 5 Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7XW, 020 7261 0879

 

 

 

The Athenian – Greek street food

The Athenian shop front - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Athenian is a popular recent arrival at The Artworks, serving delicious Greek street food – i.e. souvlaki, which are pita bread wraps – and more than making up for the loss of My Big Fat Greek Restaurant (which used to be where Mamuśka! is now).

The Athenian counter - kenningtonrunoff.com

The founders are Efthymios and Neofytos, two Londoners born and raised in Athens and Cyprus. They’re really friendly and the food is great.

The veggie option comes with talagani cheese, which they describe as being like halloumi but with a more refined texture and minty undertone. It did indeed melt in the mouth in a way that halloumi doesn’t.

The Athenian halloumi wrap - kenningtonrunoff.com

The most exciting meat option is wild boar sausage,

The Athenian wild boar sausage wrap - kenningtonrunoff.com.

They also sell Greek confectionery and Loux drinks, which they say are like Fanta but better:

Greek confectionary at The Athenian - kenningtonrunoff.com Loux drinks at The Athenian - kenningtonrunoff.com

Unlike a lot of Artworks food outlets, they’re open every day 11.30am to 10.30pm, and they’re expanding at a rate of knots with five other sites including Vauxhall Street Food Garden.

Address: Unit 16, The Artworks, Elephant Rd, London SE17 1AY

Phone: 07445 876716

The Old Dairy at Vauxhall City Farm

We think we may have identified the most child-friendly corner of Greater Kennington, with the opening of the new extension to Vauxhall City Farm, and its star attraction, The Old Dairy Cafe.

Vauxhall City Farm extension - kenningtonrunoff.com

A slick building with clean, minimal lines, it is at odds with the crafty, homespun aesthetic of the original farm buildings, which started life as a squat, and a neat visual metaphor for the area it sits in. It’s been busy on both occasions that we have visited, but there is plenty of seating both inside and out, with picnic tables around the duck pond for finer days.

The Old Dairy Dining Room - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Old Dairy dresser - kenningtonrunoff.com

They offer superior sandwiches and cakes – including gluten and dairy free options – and simple, homespun food, with a soup, salad, quiche, open sandwich and hot dish of the day in smaller and larger portion sizes, mostly vegetarian. We ordered the white bean “risotto” with asparagus, spinach and onion broth, and understood why quotation marks had been inserted once it arrived without a grain in sight. The leek and feta tart with olives and capers, and sun-dried tomato Spanish omelette were more satisfying and accurately described.

White bean risotto with aspargus, spinach and onion broth at The Old Dairy - kenningtonrunoff.comLeek & feta puff pastry tart with olives and capers at The Old Dairy - kenningtonrunoff.com

The cake stand:

The Old Dairy cake stand - kenningtonrunoff.com.JPG

For their core customer, they also provide a wide variety of Ella’s Kitchen products, a hot kids’ meal of the day (again in smaller and larger portion sizes), as well as a selection of mini sandwiches for smaller hands, and a pile of the iconic Ikea Antelop highchairs stacked in one corner, all in immaculate condition. There is a children’s play area in one corner of the cafe, and when we visited during their ‘Spring Spectacular’ there was a charming and well-attended story and rhyme time with an animal theme, complete with props. Watch out Tea House Theatre, pay attention NCT groups, there’s a new destination in Kennington’s own Nappy Valley.

Back to the revamped Oxymoron at the Royal Oak for food by Marcello

When we first wrote about The Royal Oak on Fitzalan Street, it was Kennington’s mystery pub. Now its mysteries have mostly been revealed, but it remains a magical place, with decor and atmosphere quite unlike any other pub we’ve been to.

Oxymoron at Royal Oak, Fitzalan Street exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Marcello is their new Italian chef and since his arrival the pub feels less like a squat and more like the finished article. It’s still highly eccentric, with resident pets and children, and the barman temporarily unable to serve because he’s fixing someone’s bike, but you no longer feel like the flooboards are about to collapse beneath your feet:

Oxymoron at Royal Oak interior - kenningtonrunoff.com.

There’s a lovely beer garden which catches the evening sun:

plants in the garden of Oxymoron at Royal Oak - kenningtonrunoff.com.

If these stacks of animals were at Newport Street Gallery they’d be selling for millions:

Towers of animals at Oxymoron at Royal Oak - kenningtonrunoff.com.

The Dundee Cake is not on the menu sadly, but the wildly diverse clientele did include a large contingent from Dundee, plus some twenty and thirty something hipsters, pillars of the community like the Earl of Bedlam and the queen of the Ragged Canteen, and a few stalwarts who’ve been drinking there for decades.

Oxymoron at the Royal Oak display case - kenningtonrunoff.com

So what is on the menu? They serve food on Fridays, which is burger night with veggie and vegan options, Saturdays, which is fresh pasta night, and Sundays, when we went along. The food has a homemade vibe, with lots of flavour and lots of salt (like the pub and their fliers, come to think of it). They also serve brunch on weekends from 10am-3pm, although we haven’t sampled that yet.

The Oxymoron flier

Starters cost £4. We went for some moist and salty fried courgettes with polenta chips:

Fried courgettes, polenta chips at Oxymoron at Royal Oak - kenningtonrunoff.com.

Mains are £8.45. There were only two options so we had one of each. Chicken breast wrapped in parma ham served with taleggio fondue and braised fennel was creamy and indulgent. And this was a hearty risotto of radicchio & balsamic vinegar, with mature cheddar grated on top:

Risotto - radicchio & balsamic vinegar, with mature cheddar at Oxymoron at Royal Oak - kenningtonrunoff.com.

They have an uninspiring selection of beers on tap including Meantime Pale Ale, but we’ll forgive them as they make a point of serving our favourite Kernel by the bottle.

this is an old photo of the bar, which looks about 10% less chaotic now

this is an old photo of the bar, which looks about 10% less chaotic now

There is so much going on in this pub we almost forgot there was a jazz/blues guitarist playing live. Before the guitarist came on, the music choices included Decades by Joy Division (one of the darkest pieces of music you’ll ever hear, requested by one of the Dundee contingent), and Topknot by Cornershop, which the barman informed us featured M.I.A. before she was famous, or as he called her in the manner of an old friend, Maya.

As you can probably tell by now Oxymoron is not your average pub, and it might just be our favourite.

Facebook
Twitter
Address: 78 Fitzalan St, London SE11 6QU
Phone: 07515 878976

Jeff Koons Now at Newport Street Gallery

One of the writers of this blog is a philistine who can’t abide modern artists explaining their art but enjoys shiny, colourful, huge, spectacular objects with a novel and amusing concept behind them. Jeff Koons fan? Yep, absolutely, so we were thrilled to hear the second show at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery would be Jeff Koons Now.

The huge, light Newport Street Gallery space provides the perfect setting for Balloon Monkey (Blue):

Balloon Monkey (Blue) from above - Jeff Koons at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

Balloon Monkey (Blue) - Jeff Koons at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

Likewise this giant Play-Doh has Newport Street Gallery written all over it. This is made of aluminium, while Balloon Monkey (Blue) is made of stainless steel:

Play-Doh - Jeff Koons Now at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

The only x-rated pieces are in the final room downstairs, but they’re so x-rated we believe they would be illegal if they were on a popular local blog rather than in an art gallery, so here’s a silver train instead:

Jim Beam JB Turner engine - Jeff Koons - kenningtonrunoff.com

Entry is free and the gallery was buzzing but not excessively full during our weekend visit.

Naturally the gallery shop stocks some Koons expensive tat art:

Jeff Koons inflatable dogs in the Newport Street Gallery shop - kenningtonrunoff.com Jeff Koons plates in the Newport Street Gallery shop - kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

Welcome to Kennington Jeff –  we haven’t been this excited since the two Kevins, Pietersen and Spacey, came to town.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen: SECOND SEX WAR at Gasworks

We rather like visiting Gasworks since their refurb. It’s a lovely building, open on the weekend which suits us, and we’re generally the only visitors.

The current exhibition won’t be to everyone’s taste, and is definitely not suitable for children. SECOND SEX WAR is a solo exhibition by London-based artist Sidsel Meineche Hansen, which “explores the commodity status of 3D bodies in X-rated digital image production, while also reflecting on the artist’s working conditions and relationships”.

The exhibition provides a chance to try an Occulus virtual reality headset, showing a CGI animation called DICKGIRL 3D, or you can watch it on a flat screen TV hung from a “DIY BDSM” structure:

DICKGIRL 3D at Gasworks - kenningtonrunoff.com

There’s also a CGI animation called No Right Way 2 Cum, a feminist ‘cum shot’ video, which features EVA v3.0, a stock 3D model made for computer games and adult entertainment. This was made in response to the British Board of Film Classification’s recent ban on female ejaculation in UK-produced pornography. We don’t want an X certificate on this blog, so here’s a huge clay relief instead, called Cultural Capital Cooperative Object:

Cultural Capital Cooperative Object at Gasworks - kenningtonrunoff.com

We think these laser cut drawing are called iSlave (non-dualistic) and Wannabe Dickgirl:

iSlave (non-dualistic) and Wannabe Dickgirl - kenningtonrunoff.com

During our visit there was something going on in another room at Gasworks marked “participatory” or some such, but we were too scared to enter.

SECOND SEX WAR was commissioned by Gasworks in partnership with Trondheim’s kunstmuseum, which seems appropriate. It runs until May 29th at Gasworks, 155 Vauxhall Street, London SE11 5RH.

Opening times: Wed–Sun 12–6pm or by appointment.

Foam Talent – Shaping the Future of Contemporary Photography – exhibition at Beaconsfield

Foam Talent is the best exhibition we’ve seen at Beaconsfield and on our visit, it was also the busiest we’ve seen the gallery. It’s possible some of those in attendance came looking for Newport Street Gallery and found it closed (they’re currently ‘all mouths on nozzle’ to set up their Jeff Koons exhibition), but they seemed to be enjoying Beaconsfield all the same.

Detail from photo by Tom Callemin

Detail from photo by Belgium’s Tom Callemin

Foam Fotografiemuseum is Amsterdam’s leading photography museum. Every year they do a talent call, receiving entries from all around the world, and this exhibition comprises over 100 photos from their 21 favourite entrants, all aged under 35.

detail of photo by Danila Tkachenko

detail of photo by Russia’s Danila Tkachenko

This is a photo of some bubblegum, believe it or not:

detail from photo by Marton Perlaki

detail from photo by Hungary’s Marton Perlaki

The only Brit in the 21 is Dominic Hawgood, whose photos were inspired by healings and exorcisms in African churches in London (quite likely on or just off the Old Kent Road):

from Under The Influence by Dominic Hawgood

from Under The Influence by Dominic Hawgood

from Under The Influence by Dominic Hawgood

from Under The Influence by Dominic Hawgood

Foam Talent runs until May 22nd 2016, Wednesday–Sunday 11am–5pm, at Beaconsfield, 22 Newport Street, Vauxhall, London, SE11 6AY. Be sure to sample some delicious cake from Ragged Canteen while you’re there.

Apologies to any photographer who didn’t want an iPhone photo of their work online – get in touch if you’d like it taken down.