Tag Archives: Counter

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

Vintage Vauxhall Market at the Workshop

Tomorrow (Sunday) sees the second monthly Vintage Vauxhall Market at the Workshop on Whitgift Street (entrance on Lambeth High Street), from 10am to 4pm.

The Workshop - kenningtonrunoff.com

It offers “Mid-century, vintage, decorative antiques, retro” and will take place on the second Sunday of every month. We went to the first market and lusted after a number of items including a mirror made of an old red London telephone box, an old Raleigh bike, some beautifully made children’s toys, a new woolly jumper, some old maps, and these prints:

prints at Vauxhall Vintage Market - kenningtonrunoff.com

This stall seems to have been designed with Kate Hoey in mind:

wolf and Jesus at Vauxhall Vintage Market - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Workshop is an impressive venue, full of light:

Vauxhall Vintage Market - kenningtonrunoff.com

If you’re wondering how this market came to be in North West Kennington, there’s a clue on the website of the organisers: “Vintage and Antiques Markets also thanks local Vauxhall residents author and antiques specialist Mark Hill and Philip Reicherstorfer, owner of the restaurant COUNTER. Mark and Philip are keen to see the local communities and businesses of Vauxhall flourish and had the idea that a market could really work in the area, through their contacts at VauxhallOne they got the ball rolling and helped make it happen!” Well done Mark and Philip, the latter of whom you may see manning Counter’s stall supplying tea, cakes and more.

Did you know the Workshop also plays host to the Fire Brigade Museum?

London Fire Brigade Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com lego firewoman at London Fire Brigade Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com

And, from April 26th, The Workshop will provide temporary asylum to the Migration Museum. We trust Kate Hoey will be an early and frequent visitor.

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

great things we have eaten or drunk in Kennington recently

Bao pao with sea bream from Marcel & Sons:

Bao Pao at Marcel & Sons - kenningtonrunoff.com

Poitiers bread with sunflower seeds from the Kennington Bakery:

Poitiers_1094_729_w

Apple and cinnamon stuffed French toast with candied walnuts at Counter (although the service still leaves something to be desired).

Counter entrance - kenningtonrunoff.com

The 70% Ecuador and 82% Madagascar hot chocolate from Vanilla Black Coffee & Books are both great.

Oh, and we aren’t big meat eaters but we were going to order a Christmas turkey from PJ Frankland & Sons butchers (6 Jonathan Street), and were midway through writing a blog specifically about this 31 year old shop when we stumbled across this piece.

PJ Frankland shop front - kenningtonrunoff.com

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.

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 5 – Counter Brasserie

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

Positives: Great food at brunch, lunch and dinner. Friendly service. There’s always a nice buzz in this huge new restaurant right next to Vauxhall station, plus live music and art. And, uniquely for a Kennington restaurant, Counter is almost always open (Monday to Thursday 7am to 12.30am, Friday 7am to 1.30am, Saturday 8am to 1.30am and Sunday 8am to 12.30am).

Counter bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: Their aesthetic is esoteric – they served us coq au vin in an awkward shaped bowl which was worthy of We Want Plates. We’ve had various minor issues with service including the “lunch rapide” taking forever to arrive, but it’s nothing you wouldn’t expect from a busy, large-scale new opening, and we’re confident all this will be resolved before long – they seem like they care a lot.

Hygiene rating: TBC.

Address: Arch 50, 7-11 South Lambeth Place, London SW8 1SP.

exterior of Counter Brasserie at night - kenningtonrunoff.com

Come back next Sunday to find out the number 4.

brunch at Counter Brasserie

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

The Kennington brunch revolution continues as new arrival Counter offer all-day brunch until 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

We made it along recently and were impressed by the quality of the food despite a few teething troubles.

This is banana stuffed French toast, crispy bacon, and maple syrup. Our waiter told us it couldn’t be served without bacon, although he later conceded it could. Plus the bacon wasn’t really crispy after all. But the French toast was great and definitely New York-style in the sense that it was more of a loaf than a slice:

Banana stuffed French toast, crispy bacon, maple syrup - Counter Brasserie - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is buttermilk pancakes, blueberries, creme fraiche and vanilla syrup. Yes we got a bit over-excited and started eating before taking the photos:

Buttermilk pancakes, blueberries, creme fraiche, vanilla syrup - Counter Brasserie - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is habanero scramble, brioche, pumpkin seeds, spring onions and chilli ketchup. Tasty:

Habanero scramble, brioche, pumpkin seeds, spring onions, chilli ketchup - Counter Brasserie - kenningtonrunoff.com

Another small gripe: they claim to serve fresh mint tea but actually serve peppermint teabags which is very different. Message to Counter: fresh mint tea is just fresh mint and hot water – you can do it.

But we’ll forgive them because the food is so tasty and there was live jazz on a Sunday:

live jazz, Counter Brasserie - kenningtonrunoff.com

For more info on Counter see our original piece here.

They serve some of the brunch dishes for breakfast on weekdays. Menus here.

exterior of Counter Brasserie at night - kenningtonrunoff.com

Counter Brasserie

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

Counter is the biggest, most exciting restaurant opening in the Kennington area since Brunswick House. The founder Philip Reicherstorfer, a local resident, has been working on this for three years and was initially looking at the site now occupied by Nando’s, before deciding that a different set of railway arches would be better suited. The entrance to the Counter brasserie is on South Lambeth Place, next to the Sainsbury’s Local that is next to Vauxhall station, in what briefly claimed to be VX1 Gallery (we never found it open).

Counter location - kenningtonrunoff.com

Right now the brasserie is open for soft launch with half price food (you may need to book online to take advantage of this offer, which will last until Tuesday). Their advertising says “Fully open from February 14th” but we went on Friday and it was seamless, with excellent, friendly service and delicious food.

Counter Brasserie and Bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

They describe the food as “New York-style French” but it’s more diverse than that – we had a starter of chili blanco, warm tortillas, and avocado salsa (normally £6.50, currently £3.25) – very tasty.

The main course of sole with brown butter, capers, confit potato and spinach (normally £17, currently £8.50) was one of the most flavoursome, succulent fish dishes we’ve ever had – even better than The Lobster Pot’s skate wing equivalent. Thank-you, head chef Dan Blucert, formerly of The Big Easy in Covent Garden.

Butternut squash hotpot, tomato and ancho chili (normally £14, currently £7) was also full of flavour, although the cornbread dumplings were rather dry.

Counter butternut squash hotpot, tomato, ancho chili, cornbread dumplings - kenningtonrunoff.com

We had a decent desert of New York cheesecake with blueberry compote, and they do their own dark and sophisticated Counter lager, brewed in the Netherlands, plus a wine list that is exclusively American and French, and plenty of cocktails and mocktails.

The clientele was nicely mixed, from Friday night revellers to middle aged gay couples to a family with a toddler. The restaurant is big (175 capacity) but was already looking pleasantly full. Ask to be seated in a booth for extra privacy and comfort. The decor is “Deco meets Disco” and will not be for everyone, but if it’s not for you then Brunswick House and Bonnington Cafe offer polar opposites just yards away.

Counter bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

For the rest of us, Kennington finally has a quality restaurant that’s open just about any time you’d want to go – Monday to Thursday 7am to midnight, Friday 7am to 1am, Saturday 8am to 1am, and Sunday 8am to midnight. They do all day brunch on Saturdays and Sundays till 5pm – more on that soon. Counter already looks like being a great success and will contribute a lot to the revitalisation of West Kennington.

Also, Counter’s premises will soon stretch a mammoth 60 metres back, all the way to the other side of the arches near Dirty Burger on South Lambeth Road – BackCOUNTER will open on February 12th and will be open Thursdays to Sundays at least, plus private hire. It seems aimed at a gay pre-clubbing crowd but it’s still a building site at present.

Here’s an architect’s sketch of the whole premises:

Counter whole thing

our West and North West Kennington predictions for 2015

2015 will put North West Kennington on the map. This is the area south of Westminster Bridge Road and west of Kennington Road, and it is arguably the least visited, least known part of central London, despite some lovely buildings and smaller parks, Lambeth Palace, and Beaconsfield. Plus it’s yards from Parliament and it has the Thames running down one side.

Old Paradise Gardens, North West Kennington

Old Paradise Gardens, North West Kennington

2014 was already a big year for North West Kennington with tonnes of new riverside developments plus the new look Duchy Arms. 2015 will be even bigger thanks to the opening (finally) of Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery. The gallery will feature works from Damien’s collection including artists such as Francis Bacon, Banksy, Tracey Emin, Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas and Pablo Picasso. Entry will be free of charge. More info here.

Newport Street Gallery

Under the leadership of the entrepreneurial Justin Welby, surely this will be the year that Lambeth Palace opens to the public all year round.

West Kennington (previously known as Vauxhall) will also experience another year of change and growth. We are cautiously optimistic about the plans for the gyratory. New housing developments will lead to more scenes of sheikhs looking bemused as clubbers pass them on the way home.

Watch out Russell Norman – Counter – a new restaurant in the arches near Vauxhall station – will open soon and looks set to be a new entry in our Best Restaurants in Kennington list.

Come back tomorrow for our central Kennington predictions for 2015.