Tag Archives: Kennington Road

The Tankard

This pub used to be the Grand Union, and before that it was Bar Room Bar, but is now under new ownership – The Draft House – and has reverted to its original 1825 name of The Tankard – bravo.

The Tankard exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

It was always a great site – at the junction of Brook Drive and Kennington Road, the other side of Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park from The Three Stags, which is invariably busy. Bar Room Bar’s stock-in-trade was opening late night on weekends (rather unusual up this end of Kennington), and the later it got, the dodgier the crowd got. But its greatest asset has always been its terrace, once used as a viewing platform for the curious to observe patients in the grounds of the original “Bedlam” next door, now the Imperial War Museum. And, in common with every other old pub in Kennington, Charlie Chaplin and his dad used to hang out there.

So what have Draft House done with it? Well, for one they’ve built roofing on the terrace – great for a summer’s day, even if rain is threatened:

The Tankard roof terrace - kenningtonrunoff.com

Downstairs the layout is the same but there’s lots of pale wood and bright red paint:

The Tankard main room - kenningtonrunoff.com

They have a big selection of craft beer in bottles and on tap, the latter of which can be bought in paddles (a little flat when we tried their three bitters – teething troubles no doubt – they’d only just opened after a super quick refurb):

Beer paddle at The Tankard - kenningtonrunoff.com

And for the teetotallers they do Brewdog’s Nanny State:

Brewdog Nanny State at The Tankard - kenningtonrunoff.com

We’d described the food as “comfort gastro”, heavy on grease, salt and beige colouring. This was beer battered cod and chips (you can see the salt):

Beer battered cod, fat chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce at The Tankard - kenningtonrunoff.com

This was buffalo cauliflower (go easy on the Frank’s hot sauce):

Buffalo cauliflower and Frank's Hot Sauce at The Tankard - kenningtonrunoff.com

Chicken schnitzel – no complaints here:

Chicken schnitzel, buttered new potatoes and rocket salad at The Tankard - kenningtonrunoff.com

They do a good veggie burger with smoked cheddar:

Veggie burger, smoked cheddar and fries at The Tankard - kenningtonrunoff.com

We’d like to see them add a few more green items to their menu, but they do do veggie scotch eggs, moist on the inside:

Veggie scotch eggs at The Tankard - kenningtonrunoff.com

As you can see from the above, the pub was packed and noisy when we were there, so we’re optimistic that The Tankard and The Draft House will be in Kennington for a long time to come.

where have we gone?

We’ve been blogging less recently but we will be back, and meanwhile we remain active on Twitter and Instagram.

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Also check this out for some great photos of Kennington in bygone eras. This is 317 Kennington Road (where Barnard Marcus is now, and not 317 Kennington Lane as the archive says) in 1966. What was Barron & Shepherd? A Google search suggests it might have been a timber yard.

Malborough House, 317 Kennington Road from the London Photo Archive

Kennington Tandoori weekend breakfast & brunch

The Kennington brunch revolution continues! As of the weekend just gone, Kennington’s finest Indian restaurant Kennington Tandoori is serving breakfast and brunch from 9am to 4pm every Saturday and Sunday.

Kennington Tandoori breakfast & brunch flier

Naturally we were there on the inaugural day to see where the KT ranks in the league of Kennington brunches, and the answer could be straight in at number one. If we compare it to our previous favourite The Tommyfield, the food is as good – maybe better – and the menu is longer and more adventurous. It’s a “white linen” brunch which feels very civilised, and the room smells nicer than the Tommyfield.

KT offer three items under “fruits, grains and seeds” – granola with yoghurt, passion fruit coulis, plum compote and honey for £7.95, Madagascan vanilla porridge with mixed berries and a side of honey, also for £7.95, and these moist, flawless blueberry pancakes with caramelised bananas and maple syrup for £8.95:

Kennington Tandoori homemade blueberry pancake with caramelised bananas, blueberry, maple syrup - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Indian influence shows through more in the mains, which range in price from a paneer salad for £7.95, up to black truffle folded eggs with wild mushrooms on sour dough for £14.95. More unusual options include The KT Octopus Temptation (we weren’t tempted) and Lamb Shank Nihari (we were very tempted but managed to resist for now). They also offer Eggs Florentine and Royale, a beefburger, and this avocado and sourdough toast with poached egg, feta cheese and KT tomato salsa for £10.95:

Kennington Tandoori avocado and sourdough toast with poached egg, feta cheese and KT tomato salsa - kenningtonunoff.com

Full menu here, which says “We’ve loads of ideas for future brunches. Why not tell us yours?” via their Facebook or Twitter. As KT are renowned for their love of feedback, there is just one thing we’d change – they should serve what is surely the ultimate Indian breakfast drink – mango lassi.

Kennington Tandoori is at 313 Kennington Rd, London SE11 4QE.

Vanilla Black Coffee & Books

When Kennington Bookshop closed down, we campaigned for Daunt Books to take over the site, at 306-308 Kennington Road, SE11 4LD. We even polled the people of Kennington and they unanimously supported this (except for four contrarians who we suspect are estate agents from Clapham). Daunt Books, on the other hand, completely ignored us.

But no matter, because today something better opened on the site – Vanilla Black Coffee & Books (no relation to Vanilla Black the vegetarian restaurant near Chancery Lane).

Vanilla Black counter - kenningtonrunoff.om

As well as Allpress coffee and some swanky looking teas, they serve a variety of cookies, croissants, cakes and muffins including some dairy and gluten free options, and some delicious Portugese-style blueberry custard tarts.

Their breakfast options range from £3.50 to £4.20 and include rolls, croissants, porridge, yoghurts, sourdough toasts, and Scottish smoked salmon and cream cheese.

We went for lunch and, in customary Kennington Runoff style, started eating before we remembered to photograph our food, which was a hearty portion of spinach and feta filo pastry quiche with a mixture of salads for £8 (veggies beware – one of the salads contained bacon).

Vanilla Black spinach and feta quiche and salads - kenningtonrunoff.om

They also do a beetroot quiche which is really good. We’re convinced it contains plums although they don’t mention that. And they serve toasted sandwiches and a soup of the day, plus some delicious freshly blended juices.

We said the downstairs would be a surprise – and the surprise is that it’s decorated like someone’s living room, probably in Chiswick, complete with a roaring gas fire.

Vanilla Black downstairs - kenningtonrunoff.om

It’s the kind of place you could spend hours, and there’s now a toilet downstairs to help with that (also decorated like someone’s house).

As for the books, they have a small selection of new ones, including some for children, but with less of a literary emphasis than Kennington Bookshop (Game of Thrones, Dan Brown, Dawn French….):

Vanilla Black new books - kenningtonrunoff.om

They have a much bigger second hand section:

Vanilla Black second hand books - kenningtonrunoff.om

The second hand section continues downstairs where there are sections on cookery, art and photography.

You can order books from them and if you’re lucky they will get them the next day. email info@vbkennington.co.uk

They sell some very nice wrapping paper. If they could add tasteful greetings cards then we could start doing what we did with Kennington Bookshop and buying all our gifts from there (December 2015 edit – they are now selling Christmas cards). But this is already better than Kennington Bookshop, who never served blueberry custard tarts, and better than we’d dared hope.

Their opening hours as of November 2015 are Tuesday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday 10am to 4pm (closed on Mondays).

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


Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 4.

Three Stags Pizzeria

Since our last visit to The Three Stags, they have converted their upstairs room into an open kitchen dining room with wood fired pizza oven:

Wood fired pizza oven at The Three Stags - kenningtonrunoff.com

The pizza was delicious – the best we’ve had in Kennington. They only do one size – twelve inches – and they make their own dough which is proved for two days “resulting in the most delicious light easy to digest base”. We had buffalo mozzarella and tomato which tasted wonderfully fresh although not cheap at £14.50:

Buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato pizza at The Three Stags - kenningtonrunoff.com

There’s table service and the staff were particularly friendly and helpful. They’ve gone to a bit of trouble with the decor as well, with London-themed wallpaper by Timorous Beasties:

decor at The Three Stags - kenningtonrunoff.com

As befits a pub so close to the Imperial War Museum, they have war memorabilia around their stairs:

Careless Talk Costs Lives sign at The Three Stags - kenningtonrunoff.com

They serve food Monday to Friday 12- 4 and 6 -10, Saturday 12-5 and 6 – 10, Sunday 12-4 and 6-9 and they’re open till midnight except on Sundays (11pm). It’s a good summer pub thanks to all their outside seating, big windows upstairs and the adjacent Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park.

Here’s our original piece about The Three Stags if you’d like to learn more about their environmental credentials, their beekeeping or their Charlie Chaplin links.

The Three Stags - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 8 – Doost Persian Grill & Vodka Bar

Positives: Persian food is really nice and distinct from other cuisines. Doost do it well, with a menu that offers a lot of explanation of the dishes. It’s also a vodka bar (these were widespread in Iran before the revolution). And they have a very cheery sign outside:

Doost sign - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: It’s fairly pricey for Kennington, with mains ranging from £10 to £19.90. And, while the restaurant is classy, the website is not.

Hygiene rating: 5 out of 5

Address: 305 Kennington Road, London SE11 4QE

Doost Persian Grill & Vodka Bar

Come back next Sunday to find out the number seven.

KENNINGTON NEEDS YOU to save Kennington Bookshop

It’s official – the “NEW SHOP LEASE” sign is up – Kennington Bookshop will be no more from Sunday May 31st 2015.

Kennington Bookshop with new shop lease sign up - kenningtonrunoff.com

Although it’s been a successful venture for eight years, the couple who run it have come to the end of their lease and are moving on, with talk of setting up a new bookshop somewhere out of London. They are winding down the new stock and plan to take the second hand stuff with them.

Whoever takes on the site will have big boots to fill, as the Guardian notes: “it quickly became a fixture in the local community, famed for its customer service and bright, peaceful feel. The range is eclectic and individual; carefully chosen books are laid out on antique tables, with Georgian-style bookcases holding all the major categories of fiction and non-fiction.”

The landlords will be looking for new, experienced tenants, with a strong business plan. How about Daunt Books? With sites in Marylebone, Chelsea, Holland Park, Hampstead, Belsize Park and the City of London, Kennington would be the ideal location for their first venture south of the river.

In many ways Kennington Bookshop felt like a branch of Daunt Books – they have a similarly well thought-through book edit, and even created their own version of that bookshop bag (the Kennington one is just as ubiquitous in Kennington as the Daunt one is elsewhere):

The bookshop occupies a large site across two floors on Kennington Road with plenty of passing trade. Regular customers include Will Self, Sarah Waters, and indeed us (we buy most of our gifts there and order books for next day delivery instead of using Amazon).

Central Kennington, AKA Kennington Village, is just starting to become a real destination thanks to recent arrivals like The Boule-In, Brocket Gallery and Sally White joining stalwarts like Windmill Flowers and Space Station Sixty Five. Now would be a great time for Daunt Books to join them.

If you’d like to see Daunt Books come to Kennington, please email them here or tweet them here. We’ll be giving them our full support.

The Boule-In

We’re starting to think we can make things happen in Kennington just by writing down our wishes and posting them on the internet. When works started at the site of the former ASM Music shop at the junction of Windmill Row and Kennington Road, we asked on Twitter what it was to become and Kennington’s leading celebrity tailor Earl of Bedlam replied “an architect”. We responded “Not a lifestyle boutique then?”. Pure wishful thinking – but here’s how it came true.

Cathy and Peter Bullen are the couple behind Kennington’s most exciting new shop, The Boule-In. Having lived in Provence for a spell, Cathy started selling French antiques and vintage goods from her barn and garden in Bildeston, Suffolk in 2011.

So how did they end up opening their second shop in Kennington? Their artist son Jack studied at Kennington’s own City & Guilds. Cathy and Peter have a flat in South Kennington and were having a coffee in Sally White (where else?) while pondering how to secure permanent premises for Brocket, Jack and his partner Lizzie’s contemporary art gallery which had been temporarily located above The Three Stags. They looked straight in front of them and saw the former music shop being converted, so crossed the road and met the owner who happened to be there supervising the works.

The Boule-In - kenningtonrunoff.com

Our friends at Earl of Bedlam were right – it was supposed to be an architect’s office, but that wasn’t permitted under planning regulations, so Peter and Cathy snapped up the ground floor for The Boule-In, and they’re currently converting the basement for Brocket’s gallery (watch this space for more on that once it has opened).

Back to The Boule-In. Cathy and Peter travel to France regularly and source all their stock over there – mostly vintage collectables, homewares and textiles from France, but some from Italy and beyond.

The Boule-In - more bric-a-brac - kenningtonrunoff.com

The prices are a fraction of what you’d pay at LASSCO, and the Kennington shop has already been so successful that they’ve had to head back to France and restock.

The Boule-In bric-a-brac - kenningtonrunoff.com

They’re open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am till 6pm. If you go on a Saturday you’ll probably find Peter and Cathy themselves there and keen to chat – they are very friendly.

The Boule-In glassware and crockery - kenningtonrunoff.com

As our Central Kennington predictions for 2015 stated, we’re anticipating “The Boule-In Effect” taking hold in Windmill Row and its surrounds, with a number of ever-so-tasteful boutiques opening up in the coming months, diluting the high concentration of estate agents that dominate Kennington Cross. We can’t wait.

The Boule-In St Raphael sign - kenningtonrunoff.com

Job advert - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Three Stags – Kennington’s most ethical and Charlie Chaplin-ish pub

Other Kennington pubs boast Charlie Chaplin connections but The Three Stags trumps them all. It has a Chaplin’s Corner where Charlie’s errant father used to drink – Charlie wrote in his autobiography that this is where he saw his dad for the last time. If you can set its morbid history out of your mind then it’s worth securing the table in Chaplin’s Corner on the right in the photo below – it’s enclosed in dark wood and frosted glass for extra privacy.

The Three Stags bar and Charlie Chaplin Corner - kenningtonrunoff.com

We recently visited for the first time since a refit. It’s a good quality gastropub with table service and a selection of real ales, but what marks it out are its ethics. It was rated as a Three Star Sustainability Champion for the second year running this year, meaning it scored highly for sourcing local, seasonal food, focusing on animal welfare, and engaging with the community and the environment. 

Plus they have 50,000 bees living on their roof, surrounded by pots of herbs such as lavender, thyme, basil, mint and sage, and flowers such as calendula, poppies, nasturtiums, cornflower and sedum. Honey can be purchased for a minimum of £20 per jar, all of which goes to fund a charitable project in Bali. Their queen bee is nicknamed Mae West and their drones are named Barack Obama.

The Three Stags raw honey sign - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Three Stags is located at the junction of Kennington Road and Lambeth Road so it’s ideal for a drink or meal before or after visiting the Imperial War Museum, and good for a Sunday roast in winter.

The Three Stags - kenningtonrunoff.com