Tag Archives: Walworth

Walworth Garden Farm

You probably know about Vauxhall City Farm, on Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. You may know about the newish Oasis Farm Waterloo, something of a work in progress on Carlisle Lane (Sadiq Khan visited there the other day). But did you know there’s rather a lovely Garden Farm just yards from Kennington tube?

Walworth Garden Farm entrance - kenningtonrunoff.com

Walworth Garden Farm is a charity and social enterprise which has been going for nearly 30 years (presumably they used to be based in Walworth).

Walworth Garden Farm exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

They have very frequent events and courses, about gardening, beekeeping, herbal medicine and such like, or you can just pop in if the gate on Manor Place is open (that’s what we did).

It’s a real oasis, and very lush:

Walworth Garden Farm tree - kenningtonrunoff.com

Walworth Garden Farm bench and bed - kenningtonrunoff.com

This bench is rather lovely:

Walworth Garden Farm butterfly bench - kenningtonrunoff.com

They also have some sizeable greenhouses:

Walworth Garden Farm greenhouse - kenningtonrunoff.com

Address: 206 Braganza St, London SE17 3BN.

Orbit Beers brewery

Kennington is well known for its gin distillery but did you know we also have a small but increasingly popular brewery? Orbit Beers was founded in 2014 under a railway arch in East Kennington with the slogan of Hi-Fidelity Brewing (and we can now answer Nick Hornby’s question about what the main character of his book High Fidelity would be doing following the closure of his record shop – he’d have started a craft brewery).

Orbit open their doors to the public on the third Saturday of each month in winter, so that means this coming Saturday. We went along last month to have a look.

Orbit Brewery beer sign - kenningtonrunoff.com

If you went to the beer hall at Kernel Brewery when they used to serve beer on  tap on a Saturday then, well, this is a little smaller scale, with just one table.

Orbit Brewery exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Orbit have outgrown the space, hence all the boxes below, and they’re hoping to expand into the arch next door.

Orbit Brewery interior - kenningtonrunoff.com

When we visited, they weren’t serving anything on tap, but were offering their full range of bottled beers at £2.50 each or less if you buy bulk.

Orbit Brewery counter - kenningtonrunoff.com

We took two bottles home to taste. The Orbit Peel session blonde ale looks like this and has a bit more of a real ale edge to it than a Hoegaarden or Blue Moon:

Orbit Beers Peel session blonde ale - kenningtonrunoff.com

Orbit’s most unusual beer is probably their Altbier, a style popular in Düsseldorf that tastes somewhere between and an ale and a lager:

Orbit Beers Neu Altbier - kenningtonrunoff.com

If you head down to the brewery on Saturday and the table is taken, you can always head around the corner to The Beehive for a pint of Doom Bar.

Alternatively, several Orbit Beers are available from Oddbins on Kennington Road, and if you want to try it on tap, one of their beers is a permanent fixture at the Old Red Lion.

Address: Railway Arches 225 & 228, Fielding Street, London, SE17 3HD.

Oli Food Centre and Turkish Corek bread

We are huge fans of the Kennington Baker and occasionally buy a loaf from The Old Post Office Bakery who have a stall on Saturdays at Oval Farmers Market. But neither of those fine establishments will sell you much for less than £2. What about if you’ve only got 50p to spend?

Well, you need to get yourself along to Oli Food Centre, a Turkish shop at 332-334 Walworth Road, London SE17 2NA.

Oli Food Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

Head to the back of the store and next to the entrance to the kitchens you will find the corek bread for, yes, just 50p a loaf. That’s it on the middle shelf:

Oli Food Centre - Corek bread shelving - kenningtonrunoff.com

It’s a white loaf covered in sesame seeds and something fearsomely addictive – possibly black caraway seeds, or crack cocaine. It really is extraordinarily tasty and extraordinarily good value for money.

Corek bread - kenningtonrunoff.com

Oli Food Centre sells all kinds of weird and wonderful products you won’t see elsewhere, including about 57 varieties of halloumi. We once bought a six pack of glasses emblazoned with the logo of BJK, then panicked in case this turned out to be an objectionable political party. Panic over – it’s a football team.

Oli Food Centre is open 24 hours – where else can you buy amazing bread at 4am, for 50p?

The Beehive

Once upon a time, we lived in East Kennington, and The Beehive was our local. We recently went back for the first time in years and it was every bit as special as we remembered it.

The Beehive exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

Why so long in between visits? It’s the kind of place you have to seek out, being tucked away down a side street, but plenty of people do seek it out, and let’s be honest, there isn’t too much competition in terms of decent pubs in in East or North Kennington.

The atmosphere is calm but not sedate – it’s the perfect pub for a Saturday afternoon pint.

The Beehive bar - kenningtonrunoff.com.JPG

They have a wide selection of single malt whiskies, but they could do better on the real ale front, especially as the Orbit Brewery is just yards away. They also serve a huge selection of burgers and some other pub classics, although we can’t comment on the quality of the food right now as we last tried it around the turn of the millennium. Food served Wed/Thu/Fri 17:30-22:00, Sat 13:00-21:00 and Sun 12:00-20:00.

The interior is tastefully decorated, including this image of the now-demolished Heygate Estate, or is it Aylesbury? How quickly we forget!

The Beehive local art - kenningtonrunoff.com.JPG

There’s a beer garden in a classic East Kennington setting:

The Beehive beer garden - kenningtonrunoff.com.JPG

Like a lot of East Kennington, The Beehive has a rich history – read more about it on their website. Last year the Walworth Society were involved in a successful bid to have it declared an asset of community value, and rightly so.

Address: 60 Carter St, London SE17 3EW (not to be confused with the Beehive at the junction of Durham Street and Harleyford Road).

G Baldwin & Co. (AKA Baldwin’s)

G Baldwin & Co. – better known as Baldwin’s – is London’s oldest herbalist store and one of the city’s most interesting and welcoming shops.

G Baldwin & Co shopfront - kenningtonrunoff.com

The Baldwin’s website says “We have come a long way since George Baldwin first opened his doors on 77 Walworth Road, South East London in 1844”, but that’s not true in the geographical sense – they’ve just moved a few yards down the road to 171-173 Walworth Road, as well as building a successful mail order business and website. The current owners are the Dagnell family, who took over in the early 1900s!

The old Baldwin's

The old Baldwin’s

To step into the right side of the store – the apothecary and herbalist – is to step back in time.

G Baldwin & Co Tonic & Nerve Mixture sign - kenningtonrunoff.com G Baldwin & Co apothecary glass shelves - kenningtonrunoff.comG Baldwin & Co apothecary jars - kenningtonrunoff.com

It’s always busy, with all kinds of people coming into to discuss their ailments.

G Baldwin & Co apothecary counter - kenningtonrunoff.com

The left side of the store is a standard health food shop, albeit well stocked and with very well informed staff:

G Baldwin & Co health foods shelving - kenningtonrunoff.com

They also offer all kinds of demonstrations and work shops, from occasional free hand massages to soap making, and they always have a recipe up on their blackboard. But even if you’re not into any of that, it’s still fun to visit Baldwin’s.

The top ten restaurants in Kennington – those that didn’t quite make it

Mamuśka slipped out of our top ten this year as we have had occasional stodgy dishes there, but those dishes may well have been authentically Polish, and if you’ve never been, you really should go for the experience and the atmosphere.

Mamuska - kenningtonrunoff.com

Emanuel also has a great atmosphere and feels authentically Peruvian – maybe a a bit too authentic at times.

We’re reasonably regular visitors to Amici, at the junction of Windmill Row and Kennington Lane, which is a decent, friendly Italian. They have outdoor seating in the courtyard which is great when the weather’s good. To us Amici represents the old Kennington where the likes of the Duchy Arms, Brunswick House and Doost (from the same owners as Amici) represent the new, but long may it last.

We have a soft spot for Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec and we’re grateful there is live music (mostly jazz) in Kennington every night, but we’re bigger fans of their brunch than their bistro evening menu.

The food at Kennington Tandoori is a cut above your average curry house, and probably marginally better than Gandhi’s (who are also very good and do a great value vegetable thali). KT have nice bright premises with a front that opens onto the street – pleasant in the summer months. But we’ve talked before about their “customer is always wrong” attitude. We had another run in with them this year where we complained, they rather aggressively told us we were wrong, so we provided proof to back up our complaint, which was met with silence. We don’t want to give any more details for fear of being banned. And it’s not just us – see their Tripadvisor page for some real pearls.

Kennington Tandoori - kenningtonrunoff.com

Anyway, we’d love to see all these restaurants burst into the top ten next year, and would welcome suggestions of any we’ve missed.

The Top Ten Best Restaurants in Kennington – no. 9 – Aobaba

Positives: Great, affordable, fast Vietnamese street food, bánh mì, bubble tea and Vietnamese beers.

Aobaba food - kenningtonrunoff.com

Negatives: It’s a bit of a sterile environment, being one side of an oriental supermarket on Walworth Road. Not recommended for dates.

Hygiene rating: 4 out of 5

Address: 128-132 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JL

Aobaba - kenningtonrunoff.com

Come back next Sunday to find out the number eight.

Fashion & Gardens at the Garden Museum?

No, us neither, but it’s worth going to visit the Garden Museum while the Fashion & Gardens exhibition is on (until April 27th) to see floral artist Rebecca Louise Law’s installation called ‘The Flower Garden Display’d’. She has hung over 4,600 flowers from the roof of the museum (a former church), and it’s quite something.

The Flower Garden Display'd by Rebecca Louise Law at The Garden Museum - Kenningtonrunoff.com

Join Rebecca Louise Law under ‘The Flower Garden Display’d’ for a discussion with photographer Rachel Warne about The Beauty of Decay, dying flowers and the afterlife of gardens, on Tuesday at 6.30pm (tickets £10).

The museum is open every day and admission costs £7.50 for adults, but it’s free if you just want to go to the cafe, which is good and vegetarian, and you’ll walk under ‘The Flower Garden Display’d’ on your way through.

On your way out, you can check out The Garden Museum’s expansion plans, which involve re-creating part of Tradescant’s Ark. Tradescant’s Ark was Britain’s first museum open to the public, started by John Tradescant and his son John Junior, who are buried in what is now the garden of the Garden Museum. The original Tradescant’s Ark was in North West Kennington and featured a stuffed dodo, drums from Africa, weapons from Java, and a series of complaints from Walworth.

The top ten best restaurants in Kennington – numbers 4 to 2

4. Aobaba
pros: top quality Vietnamese food and loads of choice – who needs Kingsland Road?
cons: it’s a brightly lit cafeteria on the side of an Oriental supermarket so don’t come here for the ambiance
hygiene rating: 4

3. The Ragged Canteen at Beaconsfield
pros: super tasty vegetarian food and organic Monmouth coffee
cons: it’s not open that often (they serve hot food Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from noon, last orders 2.25pm; at other times it’s drinks and cakes)
hygiene rating: 4

2. Brunswick House
pros: totally unique setting amidst LASSCO’s antiques, plus top quality seasonal food
cons: the staff can be rude, and if you want to buy the chair you’re sitting on, be prepared to remortgage your house first
hygiene rating: 3

the winner will be revealed on Wednesday

Brunswick House

Brunswick House

Kennington Runoff’s top ten restaurants in Kennington

On Sunday we will begin our countdown of the top ten restaurants in Kennington – and we’re looking for your input which we will ignore before compiling the list ourselves.

So don’t hesitate, leave a comment here or email your favourites to kenningtonrunoff@gmail.com

If you’re looking for inspiration, try here.

n.b. Dragon Castle is ineligible for this poll – don’t ask why, but there’s a clue here.

Dragon Castle - kenningtonrunoff.com