Tag Archives: Artworks

The Athenian – Greek street food

The Athenian shop front - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Athenian is a popular recent arrival at The Artworks, serving delicious Greek street food – i.e. souvlaki, which are pita bread wraps – and more than making up for the loss of My Big Fat Greek Restaurant (which used to be where Mamuśka! is now).

The Athenian counter - kenningtonrunoff.com

The founders are Efthymios and Neofytos, two Londoners born and raised in Athens and Cyprus. They’re really friendly and the food is great.

The veggie option comes with talagani cheese, which they describe as being like halloumi but with a more refined texture and minty undertone. It did indeed melt in the mouth in a way that halloumi doesn’t.

The Athenian halloumi wrap - kenningtonrunoff.com

The most exciting meat option is wild boar sausage,

The Athenian wild boar sausage wrap - kenningtonrunoff.com.

They also sell Greek confectionery and Loux drinks, which they say are like Fanta but better:

Greek confectionary at The Athenian - kenningtonrunoff.com Loux drinks at The Athenian - kenningtonrunoff.com

Unlike a lot of Artworks food outlets, they’re open every day 11.30am to 10.30pm, and they’re expanding at a rate of knots with five other sites including Vauxhall Street Food Garden.

Address: Unit 16, The Artworks, Elephant Rd, London SE17 1AY

Phone: 07445 876716

The Frenchie Bistro

Newish French restaurant The Frenchie Bistro is now vying with Marcel & Sons for the title of our favourite Artworks restaurant.

The Frenchie Bistro exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

It has by far the nicest interior of any Artworks restaurant, making it somewhere you can go for a night out with friends or a date as opposed to just a snack or a working lunch:

The Frenchie Bistro interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Founders Romain and Nadia “pride themselves on their fresh ingredients and home-made products. All their food is prepped on site and served ‘a la minute’ with no waste.” The menu is short, although it has already expanded since our visit. At the time of writing, the plats are duck confit burger (£8), raclette monsieur toastie (£6), and deep fried duck legs (£5), while the grill options are 30 day aged côte de boeuf with bearnaise sauce (£20), and we had the duck breast (£10) which wasn’t the tenderest we’ve ever tasted, but it was close:

The Frenchie Bistro duck breast - kenningtonrunoff.om

This is the toastie (vegetarians may not be regular visitors to The Frenchie Bistro, nor indeed to France). If it looks a little burnt then it was, but it tasted great all the same:

The Frenchie Bistro raclette monsieur toastie - kenningtonrunoff.om

This was the salad, for only £3:

The Frenchie Bistro salad - kenningtonrunoff.om

The duck fat chips (£3) were awesome:

The Frenchie Bistro chips in duck fat - kenningtonrunoff.om

They also have a selection of cheeses and seem to have acquired an alcohol license since our visit, offering La Chouffe beer from Belgium for £5 or bottles of wine for £16.

The Frenchie Bistro chef & kitchen - kenningtonrunoff.om

They’re open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 10pm [update: as of Nov 2015 their new opening hours are Tue-Thu 6pm-10pm / Fri  6pm-11pm / Sat 10am-11pm.] at Unit 8, The Artworks, Elephant Road, London SE17 1AY. They don’t take bookings and there aren’t many tables, but if they’re full there are plenty of other Artworks options.

The Artworks food courtyard

The Artworks box park has switched its focus to food outlets – a great move in an area that was previously lacking in lunch options, despite having plenty of office workers. Elephant Shack is no more, but our favourites Marcel & Sons have moved next door into Elephant Shack’s old premises, and are joined by a number of newish arrivals.

This week is due to be another mild one so a good time to visit while it’s still warm enough to eat outside at lunchtime.

The Artworks food court - kenningtonrunoff.com

We had the £5 half pizza lunch deal at Elephantastic Pizza which was as good as it looks:

Elephantastic Pizza lunch deal - kenningtonrunoff.com

Elephantastic Pizza - kenningtonrunoff.com

Unit 4 Kitchen is from the people behind the Balham Kitchen and they specialise in serving classic British dishes in chapattis. Unlike some of their neighbours, they’re open on Saturdays and Sundays until after lunch:

Unit 4 Kitchen - kenningtonrunoff.com

We’re trying to be vegetarian, else we would have had a biodynamic, organic burger in a toasted brioche bun from Black Acorn, who stay open for dinner on Friday nights:

Black Acorn - kenningtonrunoff.com

We’ve heard great things about Tasty Jerk, the Caribbean take away. Likewise Love Fresh Vietnamese. And we’ve had an evening meal at The Frenchie Bistro which was great – more on that soon.

As well as the food options, there’s The Six Yard Box – a sports bar for people who wouldn’t be seen dead in sports bars. They sell local craft beers including our beloved Kernel. As you can see, it gets very busy when there’s a game on:

crowd at the Six Yard Box - kenningtonrunoff.com

Long Wave Bar & Cafe is the place to hang out and work on your laptop, plus they’re licensed to sell alcohol, unlike many of the food outlets:

Long Wave Bar & Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com Long Wave bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

One of the juicers at Spark juice bar has won an award for his juicing but he needs to spend more time and training the others – we’ve been twice when they haven’t been able to make a juice to order because they don’t know how:

Spark juice bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

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 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.

Marcel & Sons Mauritian tearoom and restaurant

Marcel & Sons is one of the freshest, most exciting restaurant/cafe openings in London, but, so far, one of the most low-key.

Andy Ng and Randy Tsang used to work in advertising (Andy was a creative director at M&C Saatchi), but they quit the rat race to start a Mauritian tea room, restaurant and showroom in Artworks, the shipping container park at the junction of Walworth Road and Elephant Road in North Kennington. Theirs is the dark green entrance in the bottom left:

The Artworks - kenningtonrunoff.com

Such is their aversion to their former trade of advertising that all they’ve done to publicise Marcel & Sons is start a Facebook and an Instagram account. When we went, we were the only customers in there, but the food and the welcome were so great that perhaps word of mouth will be enough to fill their tiny restaurant.

Randy, on the left, is a the fully qualified Cordon Bleu chef, and Andy, on the right, is the front of house:

Randy and Andy from Marcel & Sons - kenningtonrunoff.com

If you’re wondering what the cases and shelves on either side are, that’s the showroom element, but we’ll leave that for another day because right now we want to focus on the wonderful food.

We’d never had Mauritian food before and we were blown away. You’ll recognise elements from Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian and Korean food, and Marcel & Sons’ take on it has some French Cordon Bleu influence with an emphasis on comfort food (they steer clear of certain Mauritian specialities like sea cucumber and octopus). We could see it catching on in a big way.

There are just three main courses on the menu, but they change every day. We had Bol Renversé which is a sweet yet savoury upside down bowl of rice with homemade Mauritian sausage, sweet wine, onion, garlic, choi sum, fried egg, spring onion and coriander. We liked it so much we even tolerated the shitache mushrooms. The packaging is great too:

Bol Renervse box from Marcel & Sons - kenningtonrunoff.com

But the real star dish was Bao Pao – crunchy strips of beef, mazavaroo aioli, pickled cucumber and watercress served in a delicious soft steamed bun:

Bao Pao at Marcel & Sons - kenningtonrunoff.com

The menu was quite meat heavy but they can do a veggie version of Nouik Nain (steamed chayote dumplings).

Drinks wise, the Mauritian speciality is Alouda Vanilla, featuring Madagascar vanilla, sugarcane syrup, basil seeds, agar and milk, and yes, it’s as sweet as it sounds. They don’t serve alcohol but you’re welcome to BYOB, or get a drink from the new Longwave bar which has just opened right outside.

They’re closed on Mondays because the market where they buy their ingredients is closed, but they’re open from 11am to 9pm every other day. Get along there quick before the queue stretches out of the door and they open their twentieth branch in the Westfield food hall.