Category Archives: Central Kennington

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 5 – Sally White

Positives: Sally White has been transformative for central Kennington, which was previously dominated by cafés of rather mixed quality. It’s the meeting point for all of Kennington, including the likes of Florence Welch. Its arrival heralded more than just flawless cakes – The Boule-In opened as a result of a visit there. As well as drinks, cakes and savouries, they sell bread from the Kennington Bakery and a small but great range of delicatessen products.

Sally White - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: It gets very busy at lunchtime, and there aren’t many tables. They need to expand, and we don’t mean into Noho. While the cakes and brownies are a ten out of ten, the savouries are more like a 7.5, and their salads can be a little on the greasy side. Mark, Sally the baker’s partner and front of house, has the nicest manner of anyone you’ll meet in a Kennington shop but see TripAdvisor for some rather extreme views of other staff (we’re used to it now, and anyway, even if they pelted us with Borodino loaves on arrival, we’d still go).

Sally White interior, kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: 4 out of 5

Address: 353 Kennington Road, London SE11 4QE

Website

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 4.

Kennington: Land of Letterpress

Kennington, epicentre of the London letterpress scene, has played host to many a typographic luminary.

Berthold Wolpe, one of the greatest names in type design, lived at Kennington Park Road until his death in 1989 and his Albertus typeface is used in street nameplates throughout our very own borough of Lambeth. Eagle-eyed Kennington Runoff fans may also have spotted it employed in our social media creative identity.

Dr Berthold Wolpe print

In the kind of tidy confluence of Kenningtonians that so delights Kennington Runoff, another SE11-based typographer, designer and letterpress practitioner Alan Kitching has created a print in honour of Berthold Wolpe (pictured above), and also one depicting the streets of Kennington (pictured below). Kitching’s studio on Cleaver Street is handily identified in this print, and they host a letterpress workshop there if you fancy joining the long line of Kennington letterpress creatives.

Alan Kitching and Celia Stothard Kennington print

Can’t make the dates for the typography workshop on Cleaver Street? Never fear, there’s a competitor round the corner at Iliffe Yard in the form of Mr Smith.

The Kennington Lane Press is the final stop on our tour of Kennington: land of the letterpress. They sell their hand-printed greetings cards at the North Lambeth Parish Fete as well as online, and will create bespoke thank you cards for all those local businesses looking for the personal touch when reaching out to thank us for our tireless promotion. Bribes always welcome alongside thank you notes.

Kennington Lane Letter Press stall at North Lambeth Parish Fete

Kennington Lane Press stall at North Lambeth Parish Fete

Kennington Park and its new Flower Garden

It’s all change in Kennington Park at the moment, and this weekend was a big one thanks to the reopening of the flower garden after a £500k makeover. We bring you photos, with apologies to the woman who we inadvertently followed around:

Kennington Park Flower Garden vista - kenningtonrunoff.com

The flower garden originally opened in 1931 and its layout has remained much the same since, including this water feature:

Kennington Park Flower Garden water feature - kenningtonrunoff.com

This new sundial was made from Welsh slate by Sam Flintham, a student of historic stone carving at Kennington’s own City & Guilds:

Kennington Park Flower Garden sundial - kenningtonrunoff.com

Get down there quick while the roses are still in season:

Kennington Park Flower Garden roses - kenningtonrunoff.com

Kennington Park Flower Garden flowers - kenningtonrunoff.com

Elsewhere in the park, the Kennington Park Centre on Bob Marley’s old hang out, St Agnes Place, is newish and features an arts and community centre, a stay and play club, and an adventure playground. Also newish is the exercise equipment just north of the cafe, which is proving very popular.

Finally, one of the big concerns about Northern Line extension works in the park was that Bee Urban, those harvesters of the world’s tastiest honey, would have to be relocated. Well, they have been, and their new site next to the cafe looks mightily impressive:

Bee Urban new site in Kennington Park - kenningtonrunoff.com

Join the Friends of Kennington Park here – they made all this happen.

The top ten restaurants in Kennington – those that didn’t quite make it

Mamuśka slipped out of our top ten this year as we have had occasional stodgy dishes there, but those dishes may well have been authentically Polish, and if you’ve never been, you really should go for the experience and the atmosphere.

Mamuska - kenningtonrunoff.com

Emanuel also has a great atmosphere and feels authentically Peruvian – maybe a a bit too authentic at times.

We’re reasonably regular visitors to Amici, at the junction of Windmill Row and Kennington Lane, which is a decent, friendly Italian. They have outdoor seating in the courtyard which is great when the weather’s good. To us Amici represents the old Kennington where the likes of the Duchy Arms, Brunswick House and Doost (from the same owners as Amici) represent the new, but long may it last.

We have a soft spot for Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec and we’re grateful there is live music (mostly jazz) in Kennington every night, but we’re bigger fans of their brunch than their bistro evening menu.

The food at Kennington Tandoori is a cut above your average curry house, and probably marginally better than Gandhi’s (who are also very good and do a great value vegetable thali). KT have nice bright premises with a front that opens onto the street – pleasant in the summer months. But we’ve talked before about their “customer is always wrong” attitude. We had another run in with them this year where we complained, they rather aggressively told us we were wrong, so we provided proof to back up our complaint, which was met with silence. We don’t want to give any more details for fear of being banned. And it’s not just us – see their Tripadvisor page for some real pearls.

Kennington Tandoori - kenningtonrunoff.com

Anyway, we’d love to see all these restaurants burst into the top ten next year, and would welcome suggestions of any we’ve missed.

Kennington Bakery

Butcher, baker, candlestick maker? Kennington has them all, and now we have a baker of organic sourdough breads as well – Kennington Bakery.

Kennington Bakery contact details

John will bake your choice of loaf to order then leave it for collection in the afternoons from various locations around Kennington. They’re also stocked by Italo Deli, Sally White and the Kennington Coffee Shop.

His full range of breads is here, and will expand over time. As you can tell from his descriptions, John really knows his bread, and if you can describe it, the chances are he’ll be able to bake it for you flawlessly.

Our favourites so far are the Saratoga, a “San Francisco-style” sourdough:

Kennington Bakery Saratoga - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Agincourt, “An open crumb white loaf similar to a French Pain au Levain. But better.”:

Kennington Bakery Agincourt with organic stoneground flours, wheat leaven and Cornish sea salt - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Blenheim is great too for fans of caraway, and for those avoiding wheat, some of his breads are 100% rye.

John is primarily a baker of bread but he also did some mean hot cross buns earlier in the year:

hot cross bun from Kennington Bakery - kenningtonrunoff.com

Oh, and we like their flier, clearly inspired by Peter Saville’s work for Factory Records:

Kennington Bakery image of bread

This morning (Saturday) you can meet John and sample his wears on a stall outside Sally White. This was his stall at the Kennington Village Fete:

Kennington Bakery at the Kennington Village Fete - kenningtonrunoff.com

 

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 2 – The Duchy Arms

Positives: Some of the best pub food around, cooked by Prince Charles’s former chef. Great, hand cut chips. Get in quick before the hordes discover it.

Negatives: If you’re looking for a light bite, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is their fish pie for two:

Duchy Arms fish pie for two, with handcut chips and spinach - kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: TBC

Address: 63 Sancroft Street, London SE11 5UG

Duchy Arms - kenningtonrunoff.com

Come back next Sunday to find out the number 1.

Fête-mageddon

Fête season is upon us.

Today from noon till 4pm is the mother of all fêtes, the Kennington Village Fête. This takes place in Cleaver Square, or St Anselm’s Church if it’s raining, which it won’t be – the sun always shines on the Kennington Village Fête – the Friends of Durning Library see to that.

Kennington Village Fete flier

We will be there, doing a supermarket sweep past the local honey stand, staring in fascination at the human fruit machine, and keeping a low profile around Kennington Tandoori.

Kennington Village Fete reverse side

Then on Saturday June 27th, the North Lambeth Parish Fête takes place from 12.30pm to 5pm at Lambeth Palace – another opportunity to visit their grounds. We are fully expecting The Archbishop of Canterbury to set up his own human fruit machine.

North Kennington’s beautiful West Square has a fête, AKA a summer afternoon, on July 4th:

A summer afternoon in West Square

If there are any other fêtes we’ve missed (perhaps something in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens?), please leave a comment below or email kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 8 – Doost Persian Grill & Vodka Bar

Positives: Persian food is really nice and distinct from other cuisines. Doost do it well, with a menu that offers a lot of explanation of the dishes. It’s also a vodka bar (these were widespread in Iran before the revolution). And they have a very cheery sign outside:

Doost sign - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: It’s fairly pricey for Kennington, with mains ranging from £10 to £19.90. And, while the restaurant is classy, the website is not.

Hygiene rating: 5 out of 5

Address: 305 Kennington Road, London SE11 4QE

Doost Persian Grill & Vodka Bar

Come back next Sunday to find out the number seven.

poll: what would you like to replace Kennington Bookshop?

Welcome to the first ever Kennington Runoff poll.

what would you like to replace Kennington Bookshop?

View Results

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The question is a simple one and, being realistic, there may be only two possible outcomes. Which would you prefer?

Vote now by clicking above and we’ll pass the results on to Daunt Books and any estate agents we spot eyeing up the site.

Daunt Books

versus

Survey+Reveals+Young+People+Given+Up+Dream+afMVIf_K0qJl

Here’s the new single from Kennington’s own Florence & The Machine


The song is about the time Florence Welch got drunk and had a water fight outside, then inside, her Kennington home so it only seems fair to recall the time Florence got drunk and performed at South London Pacific. Long may Flo continue to get drunk and do interesting things in Kennington.

Her album is is released on June 1st. It’s called How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which is almost certainly a reference to Ovalhouse Theatre’s banner:

Ovalhouse Theatre - kenningtonrunoff.com