Tag Archives: Vauxhall

Po’ Boys – New Orleans pop-up restaurant

A good rule of thumb for pop-up dining experiences – the longer a pop-up runs, the more likely it is to be a professional outfit. We will never forget a visit to a very short-lived pop-up in Bethnal Green that involved drinking Aldi own-brand lemonade from water cooler cups while waiting for our undercooked stew to arrive. Po’ Boys, a journey through New Orleans cuisine set in a hidden steelyard in West Kennington, is running until September, and it shows. The venue – The Yard on Durham Street – has hosted a handful of food events since it opened last year, and while it’s no Creole townhouse, it felt a long way from the fringes of the West Kennington gyratory on a balmy Friday night.

Po Boys bar - kenningtonrunoff.com

Draped with Mardi Gras beads on entrance through a small speak-easy style door, guests are offered a potent New Orleans Hurricane cocktail in the cobbled hackers yard. Dining is at communal tables – Sathnam Sanghera was sat on ours; perhaps you’ll find Will Self trying another local dining option after his saddening time at Dirty Burger?

Po Boys table - kenningtonrunoff.com

When the food came, it was tasty without exception – Jalapeño Poppers pegged up on a steel washing line (above), sticky sweet Dr Pepper-doused ribs, tiny mason jars filled with pickled crawfish, an authentic-tasting gumbo (below), and a very heady Mississippi Mud Pie (further below). All to a soundtrack that stretched from the Kygo remix of Sexual Healing through to Bayou anthem Proud Mary.

Po Boys Wenny's Big Mamma Gumbo - kenningtonrunoff.com

Po Boys Mississippi Mud Pie - kenningtonrunoff.com

Tickets for a few of the dates are already sold out, but there are still plenty left with good availability.

Dates: Friday nights, Saturday nights & Sunday lunches on selected dates to 27th September. Cost: £35 for five courses plus cocktail.

Address: The Yard, 4 Durham Street, SE11 5JA.

The Foundry

Did you know that Kennington is home to a new, RIBA award winning centre for human rights and social justice organisations?

The Foundry is on Oval Way, next to the gasworks:

The Foundry exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

The interior is particularly impressive:

The Foundry stairs - kenningtonrunoff.com The Foundry interior - kenningtonrunoff.com.JPG

Beaconsfield are curating a selection of relevant art in the public spaces of The Foundry over the coming year. The current exhibition is called On The Wire, after the Leonard Cohen song Bird On The Wire, or perhaps the Kennington-based concert promoters of the same name, and runs until Friday.

This was our favourite from it – Mathew Gibson’s Checkpoint, with its echoes of MC Escher:

Mathew Gibson - Checkpoint - kenningtonrunoff.com

Most of the art is for sale, priced between £700 + VAT and £3000 + VAT.

The Foundry is open to the public on weekdays between 9am and 5pm, and is located at 17 Oval Way, SE11 5RR.

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