Category Archives: North West Kennington

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 2 – The Ragged Canteen at Beaconsfield

The Ragged Kitchen - kenningtonrunoff.com

Positives: There are worse environments in which to have your lunch than a contemporary art gallery located in the great building that is the former Lambeth Ragged School. The Ragged Canteen offer tasty vegetarian soups, sandwiches and meals on weekday lunchtimes, all day brunch on Saturday, and cakes and drinks whenever the gallery is open (11am to 5pm Wednesday to Saturday).

Ragged Canteen French Toast - kenningtonrunoff.com

French Toast at Ragged Canteen Saturday brunch

Also, they’ve recently started to hold occasional fundraising dinners in the evenings.

Beaconsfield Gallery with new, less foreboding glass door

Beaconsfield Gallery with new, more welcoming entrance

Negatives: They’re not open on Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays because Beaconsfield is closed on those days. It gets busy on weekday lunchtimes, especially since Newport Street Gallery has opened up the road, and sometimes they run out of main courses so get there early. They are big fans of polenta – if you don’t like polenta, your options will be limited, but see how good they make it look.

Ragged Canteen spring vegetable polenta cake with cheese and two salads

Ragged Canteen spring vegetable polenta cake with cheese and two salads

Hygiene rating: 4 out of 5

Address: 22 Newport Street, London SE11 6AY

Website

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 1.

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 3 – the Garden Museum Café

[Update Nov 2015: The Garden Museum and cafe are closed for the rest of 2015 and the whole of 2016 for redevelopment]

The garden of The Garden Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com

Positives: It’s a special setting whether you eat inside the deconsecrated church which is now The Garden Museum, or outside in their knot garden (above), near the grave of William Bligh. The seasonal veggie food is generally delicious, as are the cakes.

The grave of William Bligh, The Garden Museum garden (formerly St Mary's) - kenningtonrunoff.com

William Bligh, who hoped to be remembered for the bread fruit tree, not for being the target of a mutiny

Negatives: We had a disappointing aubergine dish recently. They operate a reduced menu on the weekends. Their opening hours are subject to change due to events  – check before you travel.

Garden Museum Cafe aubergine dish - kenningtonrunoff.com

aubergine dish which looked better than it tasted – should have gone for the quiche

Hygiene rating: 3 out of 5

The Garden Cafe cakes

The Garden Cafe cakes

Address: The Garden Museum, St Mary’s, 5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB

The Garden Cafe quiche

The Garden Cafe quiche

Website

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 2.

Ragged Canteen Pop Up Evening Dinners

The Arts Council snatched away Beaconsfield’s funding earlier this year, which, though a sorry day for artists looking to further their creative practice in a former ragged school, has also had a couple of happy by-products. Firstly, Beaconsfield have opened up their windows to the world quite literally, hacking away big holes in their forbidding-looking wall at the front, and replacing them with glass, presumably to entice in new patrons. Secondly, their excellent in-house vegetarian café the Ragged Canteen has started a series of evening events to raise money.

The Ragged Canteen sign and canapes - kenningtonrunoff.com

We attended the first of the Ragged Canteen’s dinners, and it was a charming evening all round. Excellent value at only £15 for three courses, plus canapés and a drink on arrival – and a musical interlude (pictured below). They have increased the price to £17 a head now, but this still seems very reasonable to us.

The Ragged Canteen musical entertainment - kenningtonrunoff.com

Food runs very much according to the Ragged Canteen’s formula of homely vegetarian cooking with a kick to it. The spiced flatbreads (pictured) were the winner of the evening.

The Ragged Canteen flatbread in a bag - kenningtonrunoff.com

The first event sold out, so get in quick before the next, coming up this Thursday, goes the same way – tickets here.

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 6 – i’klectik

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

Positives: We love visiting Old Paradise Yard – it’s so peaceful and calm, partly because it’s a little hard to find and not many people know about it yet (it’s on the North side of Archbishop’s Park, yards from St Thomas’s Hospital, at 20 Carlisle Lane). i’klectik is the heart of Old Paradise Yard, with a lovely outside seating area. It’s spacious inside and out.

i'klectik exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is their weekend menu typically, sometimes with two choices of quiche, and their salads are delicious with some of the food grown on site:

i'klectik menu - kenningtonrunoff.com

They have a, yes, eclectic range of events and exhibitions from hard rock record fairs to exhibitions on sexual violence to the launch party of the next Dark Mountain book, for those interested in literature about the possibly imminent breakdown of industrial civilisation. And how many London venues have not one but two pianos?

i'klectik menu and bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

On the weekends you can visit the new Oasis urban farm, also at Old Paradise Yard, and on weekdays you can pop in to Gabriel Fine Art Gallery next door (not that we’ve ever found it open).

Negatives: Their name still makes us cringe. The menu is not extensive, and it is vegetarian which we approve of but might put some people off. If you’re not interested in sexual violence or the breakdown of industrial civilisation, well, you can always just have a slice of quiche and sit outside.

i'klectik veggie rainbow tart

Hygiene rating: not rated yet

Address: Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, London SE1 7LG

Website here but their Facebook page is more up to date

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 5.

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 8 – Sirena’s

Positives: Imagine eating creamy ravioli while watching Back To The Future – that’s what it’s like visiting Sirena’s. There’s a dessert trolley and a great atmosphere. It will cheer you up and fill you up.

Sirena's tortellini with spinach, ricotta and courgette - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: You have to be in the right mood to eat your lunch in 1989. In the basement of an office building. With a dessert trolley. And they’re only open on weekdays.

Sweets from the trolley, Sirena's - kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: 5 out of 5

Address: Southbank House, Black Prince Road, SE1 7SJ

Website (also from 1989)

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 7.

Sirena's interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Supper Club Frenzy

It’s a supper club bonanza in Kennington this week, with two separate pop-up dinner events taking place mere streets away from each other in North West Kennington.

On Thursday August 27th, The Ragged Canteen are hosting their inaugural dinner event, at an extremely reasonable price of three courses for £15 (tickets here). Expect robust, imaginative vegetarian fare, and some ‘small surprises’. We’re not in on the secret of what the unexpected element of the evening might be – as long as it’s not an appearance from local resident Peter Stringfellow, who we saw being turned away rather incongruously from the Tea House Theatre on Sunday (it was a rainy afternoon and there wasn’t space for his Bugaboo alongside all the others). If you book, you’ll be sure of a table at The Ragged Canteen.

Beaconsfield, home of The Ragged Canteen

Beaconsfield, home of The Ragged Canteen

On August 28th and 29th, Roots and Shoots are bringing back their Magpie Kitchen, with a menu that’s an interesting cocktail of Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean influences. The Roots and Shoots garden should be looking particularly verdant after Kennington’s recent deluges, too.

Roots & Shoots

Roots and Shoots

Brunswick House have also been hosting their own supper clubs in recent months, but they are rather more elite affairs. For restaurant staff, they run the Sinning on Sundays dinners, with entrance strictly restricted to trade only, and at the other end of the spectrum was this summer’s Brunswick House Ball (dress code: Black Tie with a Napoleonic Twist), for those who like their supper clubs with a hefty side order of Georgian grandeur.

Brunswick House restaurant - kenningtonrunoff.com

Brunswick House restaurant

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 10 – Imperial War Museum café

Positives: The food, by Peyton & Byrne, is unusually good for a museum cafeteria. You can sit outside in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth park when the weather is fine.

outside tables at the Imperial War Museum, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: Hordes of tourists, especially during school holidays. Often a lengthy queue at lunchtime.

Imperial War Museum cafeteria - kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: doesn’t seem to have one yet

Address: Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ

Website

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 9.

Earl of Bedlam, king and queen of Kennington

London 2015’s answer to Tommy Nutter, fashion house the Earl of Bedlam reside down a little mews off Walnut Tree Walk, having previously occupied a shop in South Kennington:

Earl of Bedlam flier - kenningtonrunoff.com

Tailors to some of Kennington’s slickest suited and booted (including Mark Hill of Antiques Roadshow and Counter Brasserie fame), they also dress musical luminaries from across the spectrum – Nile Rodgers, Simon Le Bon, Goldie, Bez and Roger Daltrey have all been spotted in Earl of Bedlam garms. Nile is such a fan that he had the Earl head down to the studio to give Bedlam t-shirts  to the band and Mark Ronson when he was making the most recent Duran Duran album.

Earl of Bedlam staff, clients, models, friends & family by Jill Furmanovsky for Jocks & Nerds in Bedlam Mews with horses from Vauxhall City Farm, (Mark in the hat front right, Lady C next to him)

Earl of Bedlam staff, clients, models, friends & family photographed by Jill Furmanovsky for Jocks & Nerds in Bedlam Mews, with horses from Vauxhall City Farm (Mark in the hat front right, Lady C next to him)

We are still waiting for our Kennington Runoff-inspired three-piece suit crafted from baby llama wool shorn off the latest arrivals at Vauxhall City Farm, but we are indebted to Lady C and Mark at the Earl of Bedlam nevertheless for their endless supply of local tips and information. More ferociously networked than any other Kenningtonites we can name, they are true pillars of the community. Running  social media for the Duchy Arms when they relaunched, creating limited edition Bastille Day t-shirts for the Boule-In, designing the uniform for Counter staff, hosting jazz gigs, and propping up the bar at the Royal Oak (otherwise it would fall over) – these are all in a day’s work for the Earl of Bedlam, and still they find time to field stalls at both the Kennington Village and North Lambeth Parish fetes.

Earl of Bedlam t-shirts at Kennington Village Fete - kenningtonrunoff.com

Read more about their interesting story here.

Café at Jamyang Buddhist Centre

There are three Buddhist Centres in Kennington (see also the Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan Buddhist Centre and the Diamond Way Buddhist Centre in the former Beaufoy Institute), but only one of them is worth visiting if you have no interest in Buddhism, yoga or meditation – that’s Jamyang, for its excellent Courtyard Café.

The counter at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com

All the food is vegetarian, much of it is vegan, and it’s delicious. They always have a selection of salads and cakes as you can see above. Their quiche is our favourite main but they’d run out last time we visited so we had bulghur wheat served with spinach, caper and artichoke for £4.80, or £6.80 with salads:

Bulghur wheat served with spinach, caper and artichoke sauce at Jamyang Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com

Most of their products are organic, and they serve local sourdough bread from the Kennington Bakery.

Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

The building is an old courthouse dating from 1869, in its later days used as a maximum security court for special remands, including IRA terrorists, the Kray twins, and members of the gang who seized the Iranian Embassy. Despite that, when the sun is shining, Kennington has nowhere more peaceful to eat your lunch than the Jamyang courtyard:

The Courtyard Cafe at Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

and certainly nowhere else with a giant gold statue of Buddha surrounded by plants:

Golden Buddha in the courtyard of Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

Glastonbury Festival are increasingly looking to Kennington for inspiration when booking their acts. When the Foo Fighters pulled out as headliner, they booked Florence & The Machine, clearly remembering the time Florence Welch stepped up to the plate at short notice at South London Pacific. Likewise, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama “played” Glastonbury this year, but he appeared at Jamyang way back in 1999, when he blessed and inaugurated a new shrine.

Jamyang’s cafe is open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm (we wish they’d open on the weekend too). They have free wi-fi and takeaway available. Get there early for the quiche.

Address: Jamyang Buddhist Centre, The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Road, London, SE11 4NA.

Lambeth Palace Gardens

We finally visited Lambeth Palace Gardens for the North Lambeth Parish Mega-Fete.

This is a garden so big (over ten acres) that you can barely see from one end to the other!

Lambeth Palace Gardens - kenningtonrunoff.com

We were promised morris dancing, and we got it:

Morris dancers at North Lambeth Parish Fete - kenningtonrunoff.com

The North Lambeth Parish Fete was Kennington’s best publicised event since The Great Chartist Meeting of 1848. But if you somehow missed it then don’t despair – there’s another chance to visit the garden today, and the first Wednesday of every month – it’s the Lambeth Palace Garden Open Day from midday to 3pm. It’s £4 or free for children. The entrance is on Lambeth Palace Road. More info here.

This is the oldest continuously cultivated garden in London, having been a private garden since the 12th century. The big question is why isn’t this huge, lovely central London garden open to the public every day? Sort it out Archbishop Welby.

wooden chairs in Lambeth Palace Gardens - kenningtonrunoff.comLambeth Palace from the Gardens - kenningtonrunoff.com