Tag Archives: Vauxhall

Kennington Bakery

Butcher, baker, candlestick maker? Kennington has them all, and now we have a baker of organic sourdough breads as well – Kennington Bakery.

Kennington Bakery contact details

John will bake your choice of loaf to order then leave it for collection in the afternoons from various locations around Kennington. They’re also stocked by Italo Deli, Sally White and the Kennington Coffee Shop.

His full range of breads is here, and will expand over time. As you can tell from his descriptions, John really knows his bread, and if you can describe it, the chances are he’ll be able to bake it for you flawlessly.

Our favourites so far are the Saratoga, a “San Francisco-style” sourdough:

Kennington Bakery Saratoga - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Agincourt, “An open crumb white loaf similar to a French Pain au Levain. But better.”:

Kennington Bakery Agincourt with organic stoneground flours, wheat leaven and Cornish sea salt - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Blenheim is great too for fans of caraway, and for those avoiding wheat, some of his breads are 100% rye.

John is primarily a baker of bread but he also did some mean hot cross buns earlier in the year:

hot cross bun from Kennington Bakery - kenningtonrunoff.com

Oh, and we like their flier, clearly inspired by Peter Saville’s work for Factory Records:

Kennington Bakery image of bread

This morning (Saturday) you can meet John and sample his wears on a stall outside Sally White. This was his stall at the Kennington Village Fete:

Kennington Bakery at the Kennington Village Fete - kenningtonrunoff.com

 

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 1 – Brunswick House

Brunswick House restaurant - kenningtonrunoff.com

Positives: It’s the one Kennington restaurant we want to go back to time and time again. It always feels like a treat, partly because of the crazy (and crazily expensive) reclaimed goods and antiques all around, but also because the cooking is so creative and the ingredients are so fresh.

Salsify, cauliflower and olive at Brunswick House - kenningtonrunoff.com

Salsify, cauliflower and olive at Brunswick House – kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: Not withstanding the presence of Aesop hand-wash, the toilets belong in an architectural reclaim shop rather than a high end restaurant. (Brunswick House’s Jackson Boxer informs us the toilets have recently been refurbished.) It’s not cheap, but they do an express menu at lunchtime and from 6-7pm which is £16 for two courses or £19 for three. We have a lingering fear that an antique chandelier is going to fall onto our heads. But it’s worth it.

Hygiene rating: 3 out of 5

Address: Brunswick House, 30 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2LG

Website.

more fetes

The Harleyford Road Community Garden Open Afternoon is on Sunday 14th June from 2pm-5pm with teas, music and plants for sale. For more on the magical place that is the Harleyford Road Community Garden, see our piece here.

Harleyford Road Community Garden

Harleyford Road Community Garden

The Friends of Vauxhall Park’s Summer Fair is on Sunday June 21st from 2pm-5pm, with donkey rides, motorised go karts, a rodeo bull, teas and delicious homemade cakes, hot food, ice creams from a vintage ice cream van, not just one bouncy castle but also a giant inflatable slide, Punch and Judy, Crazy Golf, musical entertainments including Valentinos Jazz Band, football training by Chelsea Football Club, giant tea cups, a dog show, and dried lavender and lavender oil for sale, harvested from the park. More info here.

Vauxhall Park Lavender fields

Vauxhall Park Lavender fields

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

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.

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 7 – Bonnington Cafe

Positives: It’s cheap and BYOB. All the food is vegetarian and freshly cooked that day. The atmosphere is invariably great. There is often live music. It’s situated just off Bonnington Square, the most unique and vibrant of London’s residential squares, which, like Bonnington Cafe, has its roots in the squatting movement. There’s nowhere else like it.

Negatives: The quality of the food depends on which of the many volunteer chefs is cooking that night, and the service can be somewhat emotional, but it’s all part of the fun of the place. It’s cash only and you should call the chef to book a table – the rota is on their website.

Hygiene rating: 4 out of 5

Address: 11 Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 1TD

Bonnington Square Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com

Come back next Sunday to find out the number six.

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 10 – Dirty Burger

Positives: One of the best, juiciest beef burgers in London. It lives up to its name, and it tastes better than it looks:

Dirty Burger burger - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: The short menu doesn’t have much to offer the mushroom-hating vegetarian. Plus they gave us a discount card when they launched, and now look at it with incomprehension every time we present it. Oh, and it’s in the middle of a gyratory – albeit a gyratory that’s earmarked for improvement, and is becoming something of a hotspot for foodies.

Hygiene rating: 5 out of 5

Address: Arch 54, 6 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1SS

Come back next Sunday to find out the number nine.

brunch at Counter Brasserie

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

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.

Duchy Arms brunch – best in Kennington?

Yes, the Duchy Arms do brunch on Saturdays (they say from 12 but actually seems to be more like 12.30pm to 3pm) and so have become a contender for the Tommyfield’s title of best breakfast/brunch in Kennington.

This is their scrambled masala eggs, spinach, chili jam and sour cream. Very tasty and perfect for brunch, if a bit much for breakfast:

Duchy Arms scrambled masala eggs, spinach, chili jam and sour cream - kenningtonrunoff.com

They also do more traditional options like eggs Benedict:

Duchy Arms Eggs Benedict - kenningtonrunoff.com

Their inaugural brunch menu is here, although it does change.

The food is really top notch at the Duchy Arms, and the pub doesn’t have the slight odour that the Tommyfield has (yet). All-in-all we just about prefer the Tommyfield’s breakfast menu but they’re both very good indeed.