The Bonnington Café, near the Oval cricket ground, is something of a South London institution. What makes this vegetarian and vegan restaurant very popular is that it is run by a collective of member chefs.
This means the menu is different every day (I can guarantee the food is good and reliable) and the food comes from all over the world.
For example, this Wednesday’s menu was as follows: roasted sweet potato soup as a starter, West African-inspired rice stir-fry, with cauliflower and baked plantains glazed with tamarind or creamy potato. , beans and herbs for the main course, and banoffee pies and mini chocolate breads with ice cream to finish.
It is open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and serves both lunch and a candlelit dinner. Reservations must be made with the cook in charge on the chosen day.
The cafe is located in the Bonnington Square Community Center in the Vauxhall district and has a low-key, secretive feel to it.
It was started by a group of squatters in the 1980s to provide a square meal to other squatters in the area, and it retains its community spirit today.
It has a definite bohemian vibe, while the food has a delicious, home-made quality. In the past, there have been times when the chef whose turn it is to cook that evening forgot and the cafe didn’t open – however, this is a rare occurrence these days.
The café sometimes hosts live music and spoken poetry, jamming sessions and even cabaret. He has organized a series of herb drawing workshops – the cafe has its own herb garden.
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It has an outdoor area, in the square and surrounding gardens, and is good value for money – usually around £ 17 for a three-course meal or £ 13 for two-course, and operates on a bring-in basis. your own bottle. Thursday is vegan day.
Also, if you’ve ever thought about running your own restaurant or cafe (and haven’t, for at least a minute, let your imagination run wild and dreamed of their own unique place, perhaps with an unusual theme or in a strange place, like a lighthouse, or serving only one dish, like a cake?) – then now is your chance!
If you visit the Bonnington and like what you find, you can sign up to be a cook. You will need to attend a Coffee User Group Meeting, the first of every two months (next is October 1) at 7:00 p.m. There is a waiting list.
It’s the cook’s responsibility to buy, prepare and serve the food, and clean up afterwards, so it’s a great overview of the experience of running your own premises.