Tag Archives: Elephant Road

Leños & Carbón Colombian tapas restaurant and bar

Leños & Carbón is a Colombian tapas restaurant and bar, serving “Latin international cuisine”. It recently relocated from north of New Kent Road to Elephant Road, right next to the Elephant & Castle train station entrance, and it could now claim to be the best Latin restaurant in London’s Latin Quarter.

It’s large and generally busy, with a great atmosphere, especially on the weekends (we last went on a Thursday night and were rather surprised to be asked to leave at 10pm – seemingly the Latin American reputation for late dining doesn’t apply on weekdays):

Lenos & Carbon from the entrance - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is the best part of the restaurant, underneath the railway arch, not least because of the dramatic noise when a train goes overhead:

Lenos & Carbon high ceilinged room - kenningtonrunoff.com

There’s also a large terrace that is partially outside. You may have noticed it on your left if you enter the train station through the shopping centre:

Lenos & Carbon outside area - kenningtonrunoff.com

On to the food, not always our favourite aspect of Latin restaurants, but some of it is actually very good at Leños & Carbón, like this starter on the left of patacón con queso – deliciously ripe deep fried green plantain served with Colombian country cheese:

Patacón con queso - deep fried green plantain served with Colombian country cheese at Lenos & Carbon - kenningtonrunoff.com

This cazuela de pescado (fish soup) was also good, if very rich:

Cazuela de pescado (fish soup) at Lenos & Carbon - kenningtonrunoff.com

This main course was typically Colombian (we know because we went along with an actual Colombian person), but not to the taste of these Londoners – Tilapia Frita – red fried tilapia fish served with rice, deep fried green plantain, and salad. When they say “fried”, they don’t mean gently pan fried, they mean deep fried to a rock-like consistency:

Tilapia Frita - red fried tilapia served with rice, deep fried green plantain, and salad at Lenos & Carbon - kenningtonrunoff.com

As for the drinks, if you ask nicely (preferably in Spanish), they might serve you your Club Colombia beer michelada-style, with lime, salt and tabasco smeared around the rim of the glass:

Club Colombia beer at Lenos & Carbon - kenningtonrunoff.com

Leños & Carbón is exactly the kind of place that makes the shopping centre so vibrant. Whatever happens in the future, let’s make sure places like this live on.

Address: 113 Elephant Road, London SE17 1LB.

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


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