Tag Archives: Lambeth

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 8 – Sirena’s

Positives: Imagine eating creamy ravioli while watching Back To The Future – that’s what it’s like visiting Sirena’s. There’s a dessert trolley and a great atmosphere. It will cheer you up and fill you up.

Sirena's tortellini with spinach, ricotta and courgette - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: You have to be in the right mood to eat your lunch in 1989. In the basement of an office building. With a dessert trolley. And they’re only open on weekdays.

Sweets from the trolley, Sirena's - kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: 5 out of 5

Address: Southbank House, Black Prince Road, SE1 7SJ

Website (also from 1989)

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 7.

Sirena's interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Supper Club Frenzy

It’s a supper club bonanza in Kennington this week, with two separate pop-up dinner events taking place mere streets away from each other in North West Kennington.

On Thursday August 27th, The Ragged Canteen are hosting their inaugural dinner event, at an extremely reasonable price of three courses for £15 (tickets here). Expect robust, imaginative vegetarian fare, and some ‘small surprises’. We’re not in on the secret of what the unexpected element of the evening might be – as long as it’s not an appearance from local resident Peter Stringfellow, who we saw being turned away rather incongruously from the Tea House Theatre on Sunday (it was a rainy afternoon and there wasn’t space for his Bugaboo alongside all the others). If you book, you’ll be sure of a table at The Ragged Canteen.

Beaconsfield, home of The Ragged Canteen

Beaconsfield, home of The Ragged Canteen

On August 28th and 29th, Roots and Shoots are bringing back their Magpie Kitchen, with a menu that’s an interesting cocktail of Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean influences. The Roots and Shoots garden should be looking particularly verdant after Kennington’s recent deluges, too.

Roots & Shoots

Roots and Shoots

Brunswick House have also been hosting their own supper clubs in recent months, but they are rather more elite affairs. For restaurant staff, they run the Sinning on Sundays dinners, with entrance strictly restricted to trade only, and at the other end of the spectrum was this summer’s Brunswick House Ball (dress code: Black Tie with a Napoleonic Twist), for those who like their supper clubs with a hefty side order of Georgian grandeur.

Brunswick House restaurant - kenningtonrunoff.com

Brunswick House restaurant

The Top Ten Best Lunch Spots in Kennington – no. 10 – Imperial War Museum café

Positives: The food, by Peyton & Byrne, is unusually good for a museum cafeteria. You can sit outside in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth park when the weather is fine.

outside tables at the Imperial War Museum, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: Hordes of tourists, especially during school holidays. Often a lengthy queue at lunchtime.

Imperial War Museum cafeteria - kenningtonrunoff.com

Hygiene rating: doesn’t seem to have one yet

Address: Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ

Website

Come back next Sunday to see what’s at no. 9.

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.

Café at Jamyang Buddhist Centre

There are three Buddhist Centres in Kennington (see also the Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan Buddhist Centre and the Diamond Way Buddhist Centre in the former Beaufoy Institute), but only one of them is worth visiting if you have no interest in Buddhism, yoga or meditation – that’s Jamyang, for its excellent Courtyard Café.

The counter at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com

All the food is vegetarian, much of it is vegan, and it’s delicious. They always have a selection of salads and cakes as you can see above. Their quiche is our favourite main but they’d run out last time we visited so we had bulghur wheat served with spinach, caper and artichoke for £4.80, or £6.80 with salads:

Bulghur wheat served with spinach, caper and artichoke sauce at Jamyang Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com

Most of their products are organic, and they serve local sourdough bread from the Kennington Bakery.

Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

The building is an old courthouse dating from 1869, in its later days used as a maximum security court for special remands, including IRA terrorists, the Kray twins, and members of the gang who seized the Iranian Embassy. Despite that, when the sun is shining, Kennington has nowhere more peaceful to eat your lunch than the Jamyang courtyard:

The Courtyard Cafe at Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

and certainly nowhere else with a giant gold statue of Buddha surrounded by plants:

Golden Buddha in the courtyard of Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

Glastonbury Festival are increasingly looking to Kennington for inspiration when booking their acts. When the Foo Fighters pulled out as headliner, they booked Florence & The Machine, clearly remembering the time Florence Welch stepped up to the plate at short notice at South London Pacific. Likewise, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama “played” Glastonbury this year, but he appeared at Jamyang way back in 1999, when he blessed and inaugurated a new shrine.

Jamyang’s cafe is open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm (we wish they’d open on the weekend too). They have free wi-fi and takeaway available. Get there early for the quiche.

Address: Jamyang Buddhist Centre, The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Road, London, SE11 4NA.

Lambeth Palace Gardens

We finally visited Lambeth Palace Gardens for the North Lambeth Parish Mega-Fete.

This is a garden so big (over ten acres) that you can barely see from one end to the other!

Lambeth Palace Gardens - kenningtonrunoff.com

We were promised morris dancing, and we got it:

Morris dancers at North Lambeth Parish Fete - kenningtonrunoff.com

The North Lambeth Parish Fete was Kennington’s best publicised event since The Great Chartist Meeting of 1848. But if you somehow missed it then don’t despair – there’s another chance to visit the garden today, and the first Wednesday of every month – it’s the Lambeth Palace Garden Open Day from midday to 3pm. It’s £4 or free for children. The entrance is on Lambeth Palace Road. More info here.

This is the oldest continuously cultivated garden in London, having been a private garden since the 12th century. The big question is why isn’t this huge, lovely central London garden open to the public every day? Sort it out Archbishop Welby.

wooden chairs in Lambeth Palace Gardens - kenningtonrunoff.comLambeth Palace from the Gardens - kenningtonrunoff.com

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

i’klectik Art Lab & Cafe

Update: i’klectik remains open as an arts and events space with a bar serving drinks and snacks, but they no longer serve meals from the kitchen

At the centre of Old Paradise Yard is i’klectik, an “art lab” and cafe that hosts everything from free jazz to life drawing to visual art shows to DJs, along with tasty vegetarian food. They have a friendly vibe, and a great building, so forgive them their cringeworthy name and get along there.

i'klectik exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

We went along for the weekend veggie brunch, served from 11am-4pm, accompanied by a DJ playing funk classics:

i'klectik DJ - kenningtonrunoff.com

The menu is short but good, and there are plenty of snacks, teas and beers to choose from, as you can see here:

i'klectik menu and bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

This is their root veggie, millet and seeds burger with roasted sweet potatoes and coleslaw. Yes, we got overexcited again and started eating before taking the photo:

i'klectik root veggie and millet and seeds burger with roasted sweet potatoes and coleslaw - kenningtonrunoff.com

It wasn’t on the menu when we visited but this veggie rainbow tart they posted on Twitter looks amazing:

i'klectik veggie rainbow tart

It’s a nice bright space with high ceilings, and a diverse clientele:

i'klectik interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Some of the food is grown on site and you can taste the freshness:

herbs growing in a crate at Old Paradise Yard - kenningtonrunoff.com

They’re open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6pm, unless there’s an event on, in which case they stay open until 10.30pm.

Their website is not up to date so head to their Twitter or Facebook for more info.

Old Paradise Yard is at 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG, on the north side of Archibishop’s Park, yards from St Thomas’s Hospital.

Oxymoron at The Royal Oak, Fitzalan Street – Kennington’s mystery pub

If you Google the Royal Oak Kennington, this pub at the West Kennington end of Kennington Lane will come up top. But there is another Royal Oak, at 78 Fitzalan Street. An earlier Kennington blog wrote about it here. Google suggests this is now a jewellery manufacture and repair business.

Then we saw this intriguing poster:

Royal Oak vintage sale poster - kenningtonrunoff.com

So we went along to what we thought might be a vintage sale in a derelict pub, perhaps squatted. We couldn’t quite believe our eyes.

Oxymoron at Royal Oak, Fitzalan Street exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

In many ways it is a derelict pub – you feel the old wooden floorboards might collapse beneath your feet – but imagine a derelict pub if Tim Burton’s set designer had got hold of it:

Oxymoron at Royal Oak bar during vintage sale - kenningtonrunoff.com

We think we spotted TV’s Mark Hill, who we suspect has a lot to do with the look of Counter. He was trying to purchase various items, only to be told by the female proprietor “Oh no, my husband will never sell that.”

Oxymoron at Royal Oak vintage sale - kenningtonrunoff.com

We got talking to a regular, who informed us the Royal Oak is still a pub, and they had recently started serving food. We asked what kind of food and her description sounded like small plates.

We’ve also managed to track down a Facebook page for Oxymoron at the Royal Oak. From this we have learnt that they opened on Feb 27th, were planning to serve Kernel, and they were serving food on April 13th, They even have a 5 star hygiene rating, reassuringly showing that food standards officers don’t care about creaky floorboards.

If our curiosity needed piquing any further, there were these two reviews:

“Doubt you will find a place like this anywhere in London, ask if the silver fox is there to cook you supper and if you turn up on the right night you may get the chance to see Henry and the Hooray’s play. #hiddengem” – Freddie Scott

“One of the very few undiscovered gems in London. Amazing interior decor like nowhere else. The foods pretty cracking too. Head there, right now!” – Adam Knight

It sounds like the pub we have been waiting for all our lives.

Taking Adam’s advice, we went back to the Royal Oak on a Saturday afternoon. There were about seven people there, who looked like they’d been drinking there for decades. We asked the lady behind the bar if they serve food and she recommended trying The Ship.

Dear Oxymoron at the Royal Oak, please get in touch and tell us when you are serving food and Kernel so we can tell Kennington!

Update, November 2015: They are now serving food regularly on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. More info from Facebook or Twitter.

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.