Category Archives: top 10 best restaurants in Kennington

Bombshell: The Lobster Pot is closing after 25 years

This is a big loss to Kennington and to London. We’ve never had lobster so good, and we’ve never been to a restaurant quite like it. Back in 2014 we named it the best restaurant in Kennington. Read all our past coverage here.

Lobster Pot interior

Their farewell email says:

“The time has come to an end… It is with great regret that our Sister Restaurant, The Lobster Pot will be closing its doors for the final time on Saturday 19th November 2016.

It has been a pleasure to serve our loyal customers for the past 25 years! If you want to enjoy it one last time, reserve a table by calling (020) 7582 5556, spaces will be limited on a first come, first serve basis.

The Toulouse Lautrec will continue for many years to come… and can cater for those exceptional “Lobster Pot Experiences” in our Private Dining Room on prior arrangement only.

Please email events@btlrestaurant.com for more information.

Hervé Régent
Chef / Proprietor
The Lobster Pot”

Maybe we’ll see you there on or before November 19th (and remember they’re closed on Sundays and Mondays).

So long Hervé, and thanks for all the fish.

Herve

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 1 – Cafe at Jamyang

The Courtyard Cafe at Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

Positives: Any of our top six could lay claim to serving the best lunch in Kennington (in an establishment that doesn’t normally open in the evenings), but what edged it for Cafe at Jamyang is the setting. Where else can you have a delicious vegetarian quiche in a peaceful, green courtyard beneath a giant gold statue of the Pairnirvana Buddha?

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

Negatives: It’s better when the weather is good and you can sit in that courtyard. Sometimes they run out of quiche. Try not to think about the fact that the Buddha may have died of food poisoning (not from a vegetarian quiche though). They’re only open on weekdays.

What, no quiche?

What, no quiche?

Hygiene rating: 5 out of 5

The counter at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com

Address: The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Road, London SE11 4NA

Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

Website

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.

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 4* – Italo Deli

Positives: Bonnington Square is brilliant – a tropical oasis of calm just yards from the Vauxhall gyratory, but with Bohemian party vibes where desired, and a unique recent history rooted in squatting. Italo Deli is at the heart of Bonnington Square. They serve fresh pasta, delicious salads, fruit and veg (some of which is grown by residents of the square), Kennington’s own Rococo Chocolate, and two of our favourite products: Kernel beer and Gelupo gelati.

Italo Deli - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: All their seating is outside so if the weather’s bad, takeout is the way to go. The menu is short so check their Twitter page before heading there to make sure there’s something you want. It’s not the fastest food in Kennington; we once arrived there at 1pm to find them not taking lunch orders for another 15 minutes, but that was a weekend – we suspect they’re more on it on weekdays.

Italo Deli shelves - kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: 3 out of 5

Address: 13 Bonnington Square, London SW8 1TE

Website (much improved)

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 3

* You may be wondering why Italo Deli is no. 4 when we already posted Elephant Shack as no. 4 last week. Well, Elephant Shack have rather inconsiderately “pivoted” and are now making bread for supermarkets or some such, and no longer serving lunch to Kenningtonians. As it happens we already had our top ten selected and Elephant Shack were a last minute addition – a no. 11 if you like – so now we’re back to the original ten.

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 4 – Elephant Shack

We went to visit Elephant Shack again shortly after writing the below, and found it closed. Rumour has it they have pivoted and are now making bread for supermarkets or some such. It’a a shame as they were very good and very popular, but there are lots of good other lunch options at The Artworks which we’ll write about soon.

Positives: They only serve filtered water from a big container, no bottles. They go out of their way to be welcoming and helpful – service is on a par with their jovial Artworks neighbours Marcel & Sons. We’ve only been once, but the spicy lamb flatbread wrap was deliciously piquant.

Elephant Shack - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: A bar that closes at 6pm? Perhaps more of a concern for a Saturday lunch, but it seems a shame all the same (and they’re closed on Sunday). It’s rather tight on space inside – more of a takeaway lunch option.

Hygiene rating: 3 out of 5

Address: Unit 18, The Artworks, Elephant Rd, London SE17 1AY

Website

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 3.

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.

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. 7 – Vauxhall Street Food Garden

Positives: Ingenious use of outside space bringing several new street food options to the area. Sometimes they offer free filter coffee. They’re open weekday day times from 11.30am to 9.30pm, but tomorrow is the start of their last week for the year due to inclement weather. See our original review here – but all the stalls have changed since then. Here were the menus on our recent visit:

Zingle Food - North African cuisine

Zingle Food – North African cuisine

Naughty Roti - Indian inspired burritos

Naughty Roti – Indian inspired burritos

Argentine Steaks & Burgers

Argentine Steaks & Burgers

Chinese food

Chinese food

Burmese food

Burmese food

Negatives: There’s no escaping the fact that this is the outside area of the Lightbox nightclub and not actually a garden by any stretch of the imagination. There aren’t too many veggie options. In fact there aren’t as many stalls as when the “garden” opened last year, and those that are there haven’t taken as much trouble over their appearance.

Vauxhall Street Food Garden entrance - kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: N/A

Address: 6A South Lambeth Place, London SW8 1SP

Facebook page

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 6.

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