Category Archives: culture

Pop Art Sushi and sushi in Kennington

Kennington has three sushi restaurants we can think of. SW9 Sushi at 62 Brixton Road is a reasonable neighbourhood Japanese. The Sushi Chef at 1 Kennington Lane (in between Toulouse Lautrec and The Lobster Pot and owned by the same people) mainly does catering for events but you can get individual portions as takeaway and it’s always likely to be fresh. But the strangest and most enjoyable of the three is Pop Art Sushi at the bottom of St George Wharf, facing the Vauxhall Gyratory.

Pop Art Sushi exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Why strange? There rarely seems to be anyone in there – we were the only diners throughout our visit. But the sushi and the service are really good, as are the 194 reviews on TripAdvisor which make it the 114th ranked restaurant out of 18,000 in London. What’s more, it doubles up as a pop art gallery, the Amstel Art Gallery (named after its founder so not to be confused with the beer). They say they were the first art gallery in Vauxhall back in 2011. They sell prints by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein alongside some original pieces by people we’d never heard of.

Roy Lichtenstein print

Roy Lichtenstein print

Imagine if Planet Hollywood did sushi, and pop art. You’ll never have seen a restaurant interior quite like it:

Pop Art Sushi interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Back to the food. It’s fresh, flavoursome, and affordable. The avocado nigiri (£7.19) were flawless:

avocado nigiri

The sweet potato croquettes were a little on the dry side but only cost £4.19:

sweet potato croquettes

Japan is not renowned for its deserts but these mochis – spice mango rice ice cream balls – were fun:

Mochi - spicy mango rice ice cream balls

Or if you want something more familiar, they do pancakes:

pancakes

We really would recommend paying a visit soon, and we want this unique restaurant to stay open so tell your friends how good it is.

Address: Pop Art Sushi, 8 Wandsworth Road, Unit 7 St. George Wharf, London SW8 2JW.

Finishing Touch bookshop and barber shop

Finishing Touch exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

The day before the Kennington Bookshop was reborn as Vanilla Black Coffee and Books, another bookshop also opened just up the road. Finishing Touch, which flung wide its doors to the public on 1st November with a Day of the Dead celebration, is a bookshop, gallery and project space based in an old barbershop on Kennington Lane.

Finishing Touch launch event - kenningtonrunoff.com

the opening event at Finishing Touch

It will remain until February 2016, at which point, presumably, the person who bought the property will start converting it into something less exciting. The barbershop which preceded it operated at the extreme end of ‘by appointment only’ (we never saw a single client in there for well over five years), but this new incarnation is playing host to the very welcoming Open Barbers, hairdressing for all genders and sexualities.

Finishing Touch hairdressing chair - kenningtonrunoff.com

Finishing Touch will programme a series of events, screenings, exhibitions and performances, inviting artists to work with them in the spirit of the ‘salon’.

Finishing Touch publications on display - kenningtonrunoff.com

Run by the team behind Luminous Books, it supplies a well-curated selection of art and theory books and is perfect for a highbrow gift or two.

Finishing Touch books - kenningtonrunoff.com

They even sell tasteful marbled paper to wrap it all in. Oh, and tote bags of course.

Finishing Touch tote bags and wrapping paper - kenningtonrunoff.com

As a pop-up opening hours may change from week to week. You are advised to check their Facebook page for up to date opening times.

Address: 147 Kennington Lane, London SE11 4HQ

hello@finishingtouchshop.org.uk

openbarbers@gmail.com (Greygory – 07712090553 Felix – 07920832320)

Finishing Touch The Thing - kenningtonrunoff.com

Newport Street Gallery

Those of you who follow us closely on Twitter will know that our invite to the opening of Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery (NSG) got lost in the post despite months of blatant solicitation. Nonetheless, we picked ourselves up and dragged ourselves along on the first day it was open to the public.

Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

NSG is a great building – lighter and more inviting than the Saatchi Gallery to which it has been compared (both having been built by rich people to show their huge collections of contemporary art).

Newport Street Gallery staircase - kenningtonrunoff.om

Well done to Damien who has certainly not skimped on this, and architects Caruso St John who were also behind the revamp of Tate Britain. The Guardian recently published an interesting article about the building and NSG’s issues with community outreach.

people at John Hoyland's Power Stations at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.om

The first exhibition is Power Stations by the late John Hoyland, whose huge, colourful but foreboding canvasses suit the space so well that it’s hard to imagine how smaller works will fare.

John Hoyland's Power Stations at Newport Street Gallery under skylights - kenningtonrunoff.om

If you don’t like Hoyland’s stuff then you have a long wait for something else – this exhibition runs until April of next year.

John Hoyland's Power Stations at Newport Street Gallery with sloping roof - kenningtonrunoff.om

Damien’s involvement in NSG is relatively inconspicuous until you enter the shop where there are eye-wateringly expensive skulls and jewellery galore. Newport Street Gallery’s shop is not the much-needed replacement for Kennington Bookshop as a place to buy a present a tenner – more like ten grand.

Newport Street Gallery skulls in the shop - kenningtonrunoff.om

The first day crowd was large and varied, and Beaconsfield, further down Newport Street, was the busiest we’ve ever seen it. We have no doubt NSG’s arrival will spark a new level of boom for the once-neglected area we call North West Kennington, others call Lambeth, and, in a blatant land grab of which we would have been proud, Vauxhall’s developers have decided is called Vauxhall. We’ll see about that:

Correction to Vauxhall sign outside Beaconsfield - kenningtonrunoff.com

The first floor of NSG is taken up by a restaurant named Pharmacy 2, a sequel to Damien’s Notting Hill restaurant that was open from 1998 to 2003. Whatever next – Fat Les reforming to play the opening party? Just as long as we’re invited that’s fine by us – and we mean now, not next year when Pharmacy 2 finally opens to the public. Altogether now: “Where on earth are you from?/We’re from Kennington”.

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

The Foundry

Did you know that Kennington is home to a new, RIBA award winning centre for human rights and social justice organisations?

The Foundry is on Oval Way, next to the gasworks:

The Foundry exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

The interior is particularly impressive:

The Foundry stairs - kenningtonrunoff.com The Foundry interior - kenningtonrunoff.com.JPG

Beaconsfield are curating a selection of relevant art in the public spaces of The Foundry over the coming year. The current exhibition is called On The Wire, after the Leonard Cohen song Bird On The Wire, or perhaps the Kennington-based concert promoters of the same name, and runs until Friday.

This was our favourite from it – Mathew Gibson’s Checkpoint, with its echoes of MC Escher:

Mathew Gibson - Checkpoint - kenningtonrunoff.com

Most of the art is for sale, priced between £700 + VAT and £3000 + VAT.

The Foundry is open to the public on weekdays between 9am and 5pm, and is located at 17 Oval Way, SE11 5RR.

i’klectik Art Lab & Cafe

Update: i’klectik remains open as an arts and events space with a bar serving drinks and snacks, but they no longer serve meals from the kitchen

At the centre of Old Paradise Yard is i’klectik, an “art lab” and cafe that hosts everything from free jazz to life drawing to visual art shows to DJs, along with tasty vegetarian food. They have a friendly vibe, and a great building, so forgive them their cringeworthy name and get along there.

i'klectik exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

We went along for the weekend veggie brunch, served from 11am-4pm, accompanied by a DJ playing funk classics:

i'klectik DJ - kenningtonrunoff.com

The menu is short but good, and there are plenty of snacks, teas and beers to choose from, as you can see here:

i'klectik menu and bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is their root veggie, millet and seeds burger with roasted sweet potatoes and coleslaw. Yes, we got overexcited again and started eating before taking the photo:

i'klectik root veggie and millet and seeds burger with roasted sweet potatoes and coleslaw - kenningtonrunoff.com

It wasn’t on the menu when we visited but this veggie rainbow tart they posted on Twitter looks amazing:

i'klectik veggie rainbow tart

It’s a nice bright space with high ceilings, and a diverse clientele:

i'klectik interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Some of the food is grown on site and you can taste the freshness:

herbs growing in a crate at Old Paradise Yard - kenningtonrunoff.com

They’re open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6pm, unless there’s an event on, in which case they stay open until 10.30pm.

Their website is not up to date so head to their Twitter or Facebook for more info.

Old Paradise Yard is at 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG, on the north side of Archibishop’s Park, yards from St Thomas’s Hospital.

The Maccabees’ new video is set in North Kennington

Indie rock heroes The Maccabees have many ties with North Kennington – some of the band live locally and they rehearse and record in a studio there (formerly owned by The Jesus & Mary Chain).

Now they’ve shot their new video Marks To Prove It in North Kennington – the spectacular view of the North roundabout you can see below is shot from everyone’s favourite modernist Kennington tower block Perronet House. They got there in the nick of time, just before the roundabout was besieged by roadworks:

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

Positions by Eva Stenram at Siobhan Davies Studios

Siobhan Davies Studios on St George’s Road is one of Kennington’s best buildings. It plays host to modern dance, yoga, pilatestherapies, and visual art, and the current art exhibition – Positions by London-based Swedish artist Eva Stenram – is the best one we’ve seen there.

Siobhan Davies Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is Arrangement (after Irving Klaw), featuring reframings of risqué 1950s photos of Bettie Page and other pin up models:

Eva Stenram - Arrangement (after Irving Klaw) at Siobhan Davies Studios - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is part of her Score for a Sequence of Poses, again using pin-up photos as its inspiration:

Eva Stenram - part of Score for a Sequence of Poses at Siobhan Davies Studios - kenningtonrunoff.com

This print is available to buy, unframed, for £60:

Eva Stenram - Elastic at Siobhan Davies Studios - kenningtonrunoff.com

There are also a series of 1960s pin up photographs where Eva has digitally removed everything except one leg – eerie, and worth seeing in person.

Positions is open till March 22nd and admission is free. Eva will be leading a tour of the exhibition a week today, March 12th, from 2pm to 3pm.

Another current exhibition at the Studios addresses the age old question “is it art, or is it mould?”. It’s both! This is Lichen Colony by ceramicists Alison Proctor and Phoebe Cummings:

Photo by Robyn Caberet

Photo by Robyn Caberet