Category Archives: West Kennington

Mother Kelly’s Taproom Vauxhall

Like Cottons, Mother Kelly’s is another independent retailer-turned-chain who recently arrived in West Kennington (they were already in Bethnal Green, Homerton, Stoke Newington and Portlandia).

Mother Kelly's outdoor seating - kenningtonrunoff.com

In fact the Vauxhall branch is their biggest, with a bottle shop on Albert Embankment, outside seating facing Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (above), and a massive tap room with 33 different beers on tap under the railway arch in between:

Mother Kelly's interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Great news for lovers of craft beers like us, but it’s not cheap. The first we heard of Mother Kelly’s coming to Vauxhall was this tweet:

Craft beer for people who live in towerblocks designed by Versace, you might think. But the beers were great and the atmosphere was welcoming so we’ll be back.

Here’s the bottle shop:

Mother Kelly's IPAs and others - kenningtonrunoff.com Mother Kelly's pale ales and others - kenningtonrunoff.com

They also sell Mother Kelly’s merch:

Mother Kelly's merch - kenningtonrunoff.com

When we were there, their food offering was meat boards (£10), veg boards (£7.50), cheese boards (£9.50), chocolate boards (£6.50), olives and bread, and sandwiches, but they also host food trucks.

Mother Kelly’s, 76 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP

+44 (0) 20 7091 9779

 

Cottons Vauxhall

Cottons started as a long-running and popular Caribbean restaurant in Camden. Now the Cottons chain is in all four corners of London, with branches in Notting Hill, Shoreditch and West Kennington – they’ve taken over the riverside site at St George Wharf that was previously occupied by the Moroccan restaurant Souk River Lounge.

Cottons exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

It’s hard to imbue St George Wharf with character but Cottons have given it a fair shot with this colourful wall mural:

Cottons wall mural - kenningtonrunoff.com

The centre piece of the restaurant is the bar, with many different rums on offer:

Cottons bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

This seafood platter with rice & peas, plantain and jerk sauce was top notch, as you’d hope for £18.50. In true Kennington Runoff tradition, we enjoyed it so much we tucked in before taking the photo:

Cottons seafood platter - kenningtonrunoff.com

Less successful was this order of vegetable coconut rundown for £12 – basically just some veg in an over-flavoured sauce. They should really add a vegetarian jerk option to the menu.

Cottons Vegetable Coconut Runover - kenningtonrunoff.com

We went along on a Friday night and they were playing the greatest hits of dancehall too loudly for our middle-aged tastes, but the restaurant certainly has a party atmosphere you won’t find elsewhere in the area, except perhaps on Walworth Road late at night.

Cottons interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

They do a daily happy hour on cocktails (£6), wine and beer (Carib for £3.50 a bottle) from 5pm-9pm and a bottomless brunch from 11am-5pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday which we plan to try soon.

Cottons Vauxhall. Unit 12 Flagstaff House, St George Wharf, Vauxhall, London SW8 2LE

T: 0207 091 0793

two of Kennington’s finest institutions are under threat

Read more about the threat to Bonnington Cafe and sign a petition here.

Read more about the threat to the Cinema Museum and sign a petition here.

Both of these institutions are magical, unique and irreplaceable. The area will be much worse off without them.

See our original piece about the Bonnington Cafe here.

Bonnington Square Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com

See our original piece about the Cinema Museum here.

The bar and shop at the Cinema Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com

Counter Termini – the best pizza in Kennington and beyond

Sadly Counter Termini and Counter both closed down shortly after the opening of Termini.

There’s a bit of a dearth of Italian restaurants in Kennington at the moment. First of all Sirena’s shut down, apparently because the office it was based in wanted something healthier and more modern. Then Amici closed for an extended refurbishment that doesn’t seem to be progressing. Even Pizza Express was briefly closed due to flooding. Well, there’s a new restaurant in town and to say it’s the best Italian in the area really doesn’t do it justice – Counter Termini serve some of the best pizza we’ve had.

Counter Termini interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

The premises used to be Back Counter, on the other side of the railway arch from Counter itself. The interior hasn’t changed much, except for the introduction of a wood-fired pizza oven.

Counter Termini pizza oven - kenningtonrunoff.com

As well as pizza, they serve antipasti, salads and drinks every day from 11.30am to late. We went along to one of their ‘sneak preview’ nights. They’re now in ‘soft launch’ mode, and they’re offering 2-4-1 on all pizzas until June 30th (except when there’s an ICC match at the Oval). If you book, quote ‘Friends & Family’.

This is the Verdura pizza with cherry tomato, aubergine, artichokes, yellow courgette, ricotta, aged balsamic – fresh, flavoursome, and so good we started eating it before taking the photo. Normally it costs £9:

Pizza Verdura with cherry tomato, aubergine, artichokes, yellow courgette, ricotta, aged balsamic at Counter Termini - kenningtonrunoff.com

Equally great was the Tonno pizza with tomato, tuna, red onions, capers, oregano (you can probably guess why part of it isn’t in the photo – yum yum). Normally £11:

Pizza Tonno with tomato, tuna, red onions, capers, oregano at Counter Termini - kenningtonrunoff.com

They’re also rightly proud of Mahrez’ Greek Salad:

Mahrez's Greek salad at Counter Termini - kenningtonrunoff.com

They do takeaway, and they’re about to launch delivery services via Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

Counter Termini is a great addition to West Kennington and indeed to London.

Address: Arch 50, South Lambeth Road, London, SW8 1SR

T – 020 3693 9600

The Kennington Lunch Revolution

It has been all change on the Kennington lunch scene recently.

The Hangout is a new cafe next to Papa John’s. The interior is lovely and the exterior will come into its own once the Northern Line Extension works at Kennington Green are finished. The chef and the proprietor were arguing throughout our visit, perhaps about our burnt toast and uninspired vegetarian brunch. We’ll give it another try once they’ve had a chance to get over their teething problems.

The Hangout exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

burnt cheese toastie at The Hangout

burnt cheese toastie at The Hangout

vegetarian brunch at The Hangout

vegetarian brunch at The Hangout

Vergies is now Cafe 303 but otherwise seems unchanged. A nice, light cafe, good for unusual sandwiches.

Cafe 303 - kenningtonrunoff.com

Livewire Kitchen is a relatively new arrival in Vox Studios in West Kennington with good fresh lunch options, and generous portions of salads and tortilla.

Livewire Kitchen counter - kenningtonrunoff.com Livewire Kitchen fridge - kenningtonrunoff.com Livewire Kitchen mix of salads and tortino with salad - kenningtonrunoff.com

The only down side is the feeling that you’re eating your lunch in someone else’s work canteen.

Livewire Kitchen tables - kenningtonrunoff.com

Little Lisbon is a greasy spoon with added Portugese options like octopus salad, and very friendly service.

Little Lisbon - kenningtonrunoff.com

Louie Louie is a very exciting addition to the Walworth Road – more of that soon.

All this means that Sally White hasn’t been quite as busy as it used to be since reopening, but the advantage of that is you can often get a seat, and the brownies remain flawless as ever.

Sally White shopfront - kenningtonrunoff.com Sally White cakes and savouries on marble - kenningtonrunoff.com

New year, new Counter

Sadly Counter closed down in June 2017. Let’s hope they reopen.

Counter have stepped up their food game, with the recruitment of a pedigree new chef – Mahrez Loukal, ex of Quaglino’s  and Chez Bruce, has come in as Head Chef and frou-froued up the menu with a touch of Gallic class. The brasserie staples (burger, steak, veal chop) are still there, now rubbing shoulders with wild sea trout & Granny Smith apple tartare  (pictured), tartiflette and pigeon.

Wild sea trout and Granny Smith apple tartar, chives, creme fraiche at Counter - kenningtonrunoff.com

Our other choice of starter was the decidedly un-French duck tacos, which Chef Mahrez has yet to banish from West Kennington:

Pulled Gressingham duck tacos, cucumber, sweet and sour sauce at Counter - kenningtonrunoff.com

The honey glazed wild salmon fillet, grilled artichokes & dandelion leaves (pictured) was the highlight. No clues on the menu as to whether the dandelions were provenance Pleasure Gardens, but we are hoping that’s the translation of its ‘Seasonal’ claim.

Honey glazed wild salmon fillet, grilled artichokes, dandelion leaves at Counter - kenningtonrunoff.com

For those of you who are in the throes of Veganuary, there’s the Quinoa Hot Pot:

Quinoa hot pot at Counter - kenningtonrunoff.com

If you haven’t been back to Counter since the excitement of its opening months, now would be a great time to return for brunch, lunch or dinner.

London SW8 1SP

020 3693 9600

opening hours:
Monday to Thursday    7am-12:30am
Friday    7am-1:30am
Saturday    9am-1:30am
Sunday    9am-12:30am

Tiffany Bar – Korean Bistro and karaoke bar

There are so many interesting, little known establishments in Kennington and we’re still discovering new ones. Did you know the rather unpromising looking Tiffany Bar on the West end of Kennington Lane is a karaoke bar and rather good Korean restaurant? Or at least it was when we scheduled this post, but now it’s under new ownership, with a new name, Jihwaja, although still doing Korean food and karaoke, and it’s opening tomorrow.

Jihwaja shopfront newly installed - kenningtonrunoff.com

Anyway, in case you want to read about what Tiffany was like…

Tiffany Bar Korean Bistro exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

The very friendly owner is a big fan of the Audrey Hepburn film Breakfast At Tiffany’s, hence the name, and an interior decoration theme that is almost as incongruous as Pop Art Sushi’s.

Tiffany Bar Korean Bistro Breakfast at Tiffany's print - kenningtonrunoff.com

If you ask nicely and they’re not too busy they will seat you in a private karaoke room for dinner, even if you’re not planning to sing.

Tiffany Bar Korean Bistro karaoke and dining room - kenningtonrunoff.com

Naturally we ordered a Korean pale lager called Hite, and a sweet drink (if only we could remember what that was).

Tiffany Bar Korean Bistro exterior drinks inc. Hite beer - kenningtonrunoff.com

The vegetable kimchi was really good and spicy.

Tiffany Bar Korean Bistro vegetable kimchi - kenningtonrunoff.com

The seafood noodle soup was so rich we struggled to finish it.

Tiffany Bar Korean Bistro seafood noodle soup - kenningtonrunoff.com

We mentioned Pop Art Sushi above and there are some similarities with Tiffany Bar – both are in West Kennington, undiscovered, rather odd as concepts, but with really superior food. Give them a try. (It’s too late to try Tiffany Bar – it has closed)

Address: 353 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5QY

The Old Dairy at Vauxhall City Farm

We think we may have identified the most child-friendly corner of Greater Kennington, with the opening of the new extension to Vauxhall City Farm, and its star attraction, The Old Dairy Cafe.

Vauxhall City Farm extension - kenningtonrunoff.com

A slick building with clean, minimal lines, it is at odds with the crafty, homespun aesthetic of the original farm buildings, which started life as a squat, and a neat visual metaphor for the area it sits in. It’s been busy on both occasions that we have visited, but there is plenty of seating both inside and out, with picnic tables around the duck pond for finer days.

The Old Dairy Dining Room - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Old Dairy dresser - kenningtonrunoff.com

They offer superior sandwiches and cakes – including gluten and dairy free options – and simple, homespun food, with a soup, salad, quiche, open sandwich and hot dish of the day in smaller and larger portion sizes, mostly vegetarian. We ordered the white bean “risotto” with asparagus, spinach and onion broth, and understood why quotation marks had been inserted once it arrived without a grain in sight. The leek and feta tart with olives and capers, and sun-dried tomato Spanish omelette were more satisfying and accurately described.

White bean risotto with aspargus, spinach and onion broth at The Old Dairy - kenningtonrunoff.comLeek & feta puff pastry tart with olives and capers at The Old Dairy - kenningtonrunoff.com

The cake stand:

The Old Dairy cake stand - kenningtonrunoff.com.JPG

For their core customer, they also provide a wide variety of Ella’s Kitchen products, a hot kids’ meal of the day (again in smaller and larger portion sizes), as well as a selection of mini sandwiches for smaller hands, and a pile of the iconic Ikea Antelop highchairs stacked in one corner, all in immaculate condition. There is a children’s play area in one corner of the cafe, and when we visited during their ‘Spring Spectacular’ there was a charming and well-attended story and rhyme time with an animal theme, complete with props. Watch out Tea House Theatre, pay attention NCT groups, there’s a new destination in Kennington’s own Nappy Valley.

Souk River Lounge

Souk River Lounge has now closed and been replaced by Cottons.

Did you know there’s a rather good North African restaurant in West Kennington?

Souk River Lounge is the most recent opening of a chain of three restaurants. It’s in St George Wharf, between the Riverside pub and the appallingly named Steax & The City, and, as its name suggests, it faces the river. There’s plenty of outdoor seating for when the weather is good, or for smoking shisha:

Souk River Lounge exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

We were reminded of our visit to Pop Art Sushi (also in St George Wharf) in that we were pretty much the only people in there for a late lunch. We believe it’s more of an after-work hangout, especially on Friday nights when they have belly dancing and apparently get very busy (they’re open every day from 10am to midnight except Sundays when they close at 11pm).

Moroccan cuisine has become rather unfashionable of late, perhaps because it was fashionable in the late nineties when Momo opened, but it can be great and Souk do it well. This soup with warm pitta was delicious for just £3.95, as was the Moroccan classic chicken tagine for £10.95.

soup at Souk River Lounge - kenningtonrunoff.com

The interior is quite something:

Souk River Lounge seating - kenningtonrunoff.com

So is the bar:

bar at Souk River Lounge - kenningtonrunoff.com

It’s worth ordering the fresh mint tea for the pot alone:

fresh mint tea at Souk River Lounge - kenningtonrunoff.com

Address: 12 Flagstaff House, 9 St George Wharf, London SW8 2LE.