Category Archives: North Kennington

It’s competition time! Win a super limited edition vinyl album by The Maccabees

The Maccabees’ no. 1 album Marks To Prove It is a tribute to North Kennington (or, as The Maccabees rather quaintly still call it, Elephant & Castle). The album was recorded at the band’s own Elephant Studios, the videos are set in North Kennington, and the cover features a photo of the Michael Faraday Memorial.

We’ve managed to lay our hands on an extremely limited edition vinyl copy of the album. Not only is the vinyl blue like the Elephant & Castle shopping centre but, in a tribute to the wind turbines at the top of the Strata building, the sticker has been placed so as to make the A side completely unplayable!

Maccabees limited edition vinyl - kenningtonrunoff.com

To win this unique item which has North Kennington written all over it, just tell us why the Strata’s turbines don’t turn anymore. Leave a comment below or email kenningtonrunoff@gmali.com or tweet us.

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.

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 3 – The Lobster Pot

Positives: Everyone should go to The Lobster Pot at least once. The lobster is sensational, and so is the nautical-themed decor:

A fish through the porthole of The Lobster Pot - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: Last year’s winner has slipped to no. 3 this year because it’s not the kind of restaurants we feel drawn to time and time again – it’s pricey (mains start at £20.50), and you do have to be in the right mood. Also, the use of inverted commas in this advert:

The Lobster Pot advert - Kennington tube - kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: 5 out of 5

Address: 3 Kennington Lane, London SE11 4RG

last year's no. 1

Come back next Sunday to find out the number 2.

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 4 – Marcel & Sons

Positives: It’s Mauritian – how many other Mauritian restaurants/tea rooms/showrooms are there around? The two founders are very friendly and put a lot of love and care into their Mauritian comfort food cooking, which is as tasty as that description sounds. It’s BYOB and cheap. There are more and more food places moving into Artworks but Marcel & Sons were trailblazers who are steadily getting more popular as word gets around. Plus you can pick up some artisan jewellery and a t-shirt while you’re there. See here for more info.

Randy and Andy from Marcel & Sons - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: Marcel & Sons is not so much a restaurant as a canteen in a shipping container where you eat surrounded by boutique products, so don’t go expecting formal dining. They close around 9pm, and at the time of writing they don’t open on Mondays, although they plan to start doing so soon to try out new dishes.

Hygiene rating: 4 out of 5

Address: 17b The Artworks, Elephant Road, London SE17 1LB

Come back next Sunday to find out the number 3.

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:

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 9 – Aobaba

Positives: Great, affordable, fast Vietnamese street food, bánh mì, bubble tea and Vietnamese beers.

Aobaba food - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: It’s a bit of a sterile environment, being one side of an oriental supermarket on Walworth Road. Not recommended for dates.

Hygiene rating: 4 out of 5

Address: 128-132 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JL

Aobaba - kenningtonrunoff.com

Come back next Sunday to find out the number eight.

Requiem for the Subways

Requiem for the Subways

Sadly, the campaign to save the subways under the north roundabout in North Kennington is all over bar the singing. The 104 year old subways will be filled with concrete from April 9th.

Tomorrow, Good Friday, is your chance to say goodbye. Meet in the centre of the roundabout at 7pm. From sunset, there will be a free choral performance of a specially written composition by Danyal Dhondy, with one section being performed in each of the seven subways.

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

our North and East Kennington predictions for 2015

North Kennington (formerly known as Elephant & Castle) will be a messy snarl up from some time very soon for at least a year because of two massive Transport For London projects: the reconfiguration of the North roundabout, and the installation of the new cycle superhighway on St George’s Road. The number of cranes is expected to increase too, and associated construction beneath them, as Lend Lease commence work on the portion at the top of Walworth Road, including a 31 storey tower.

Ministry of Sound will get what they want in terms of planning approval, because they love to fight hard and win.

What will become of the shopping centre? Whatever it is, let’s hope it manages to keep the downtown Bogotá/magical realism vibe that makes it so vibrant at present. Likewise the Coronet and the bowling alley – North Kennington needs these!

The good news is the new Castle Leisure Centre will open in the heart of North Kennington with its two lovely pools (one of them 25m long), sports hall, gym, crèche, café, and a wooden ceiling for those doing back stroke to admire.

The Castle Leisure Centre

The Castle Leisure Centre

There will continue to be havens of green space in the area, including a new Mobile Gardeners event and gardening space opening on New Kent Road called Grow Elephant.

The modernist Perronet House (between St George’s Road and London Road on the North roundabout) will join Metro Central Heights in being listed. See this article about one of the top floor flats.

Like The Duchy Arms, North Kennington’s Marcel & Sons will cease to be a best-kept secret and become a destination eatery.

As for East Kennington, Walworth Road could become a foodie haven if some of the establishments would just sort out their Food Standards ratings.