Tag Archives: Lambeth Palace Road

The Garden Cafe

Watch out Brunswick House, steady on Louie Louie, there’s a new contender for the title of Best Restaurant in Kennington – The Garden Cafe at the redesigned, refurbished Garden Museum.

Let’s start with the negative – the Garden Museum have only gone and destroyed their beautiful garden! This was the best feature of the old museum – an oasis of calm and quiet featuring a 36 year old knot garden, and the grave of local, ahem, hero William Bligh. What has replaced it is a courtyard that’s nice enough but not an oasis. We’re so annoyed we might actually start paying attention to planning applications.

The Garden Museum courtyard - kenningtonrunoff.com

The old Garden Museum had a real community feel to it, whereas the new one feels more like a corporate events space. And it costs £10 to get in to the museum, so you’d have to be really interested in gardening (the cafe is free to enter).

gravestone chic

gravestone chic

But it might be worth it because the food in the new-look cafe is so good, and the space isn’t bad either – nice and light, with the courtyard along one side.

The Garden Museum cafe interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

The food is fresh, modern, seasonal and full of flavour, with a constantly changing menu.

This was a melt-in-the-mouth chicken leg, with rainbow chard and borlotti beans:

Chicken leg, rainbow chard and borlotti beans at the Garden Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com

The menu is fairly short and there aren’t as many vegetarian or vegan options as we’d like (unlike the old cafe which was all veggie), but this farro, courgettes, aubergine and mint was good:

Farro, courgettes, aubergine and mint at The Garden Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com

On a subsequent visit we had this starter of pigeon, cooked rare and not as tender as we’d hoped, with radicchio and elderberries for £8.50:

Pigeon, radicchio and elderberries at The Garden Cafe Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com

But this beef shin lasagne more than made up for it – an awesome, mouth watering dish for £14:

Beef shin lasagne at The Garden Cafe Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com

Likewise this pappardelle with courgettes and parmesan, a bargain at £10:

Pappardelle, courgettes and parmesan at The Garden Cafe Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com

Kennington’s leading restaurant critic Jay Rayner got there first of course, so read his review for more details including where the chefs came from (very good restaurants).

As Jay points out, the only snag with the Garden Cafe is the opening hours:
Monday to Friday 8am–5pm
Saturday 9am–3.30pm
Sunday 9am–5pm

But normally they only serve meals at lunchtime, 12pm–3pm daily, or 12pm–2pm on Saturdays, and booking is recommended.

Over the summer both the Café and Museum are doing late openings on Tuesday evenings and they’re serving meals from 6pm–9.30pm.

Address: The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB.

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 3 – the Garden Museum Café

[Update Nov 2015: The Garden Museum and cafe are closed for the rest of 2015 and the whole of 2016 for redevelopment]

The garden of The Garden Museum - kenningtonrunoff.com

Positives: It’s a special setting whether you eat inside the deconsecrated church which is now The Garden Museum, or outside in their knot garden (above), near the grave of William Bligh. The seasonal veggie food is generally delicious, as are the cakes.

The grave of William Bligh, The Garden Museum garden (formerly St Mary's) - kenningtonrunoff.com

William Bligh, who hoped to be remembered for the bread fruit tree, not for being the target of a mutiny

Negatives: We had a disappointing aubergine dish recently. They operate a reduced menu on the weekends. Their opening hours are subject to change due to events  – check before you travel.

Garden Museum Cafe aubergine dish - kenningtonrunoff.com

aubergine dish which looked better than it tasted – should have gone for the quiche

Hygiene rating: 3 out of 5

The Garden Cafe cakes

The Garden Cafe cakes

Address: The Garden Museum, St Mary’s, 5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB

The Garden Cafe quiche

The Garden Cafe quiche

Website

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 2.