Wonderful cafe which provides a welcome respite from the South Lambeth Road gloom. Tiny daily menu features two mains, two desserts and a couple of smoothies, and the food today was delicious.
Friendly service and great chilled out vibes... this place is fab!
Very fairly priced veggy/vegan restaurant with a daily changing menu. When I went with a friend, it wasn't a very inspired set of dishes (tasty, but quite bland in flavour and texture). Nonetheless, it was a filling meal for not much money - and a cheap corkage always goes down well.
I feel a review of the venue is going to be as useful as it gets (because the food will always be different - check the website ahead of time). It's been doing everything that seems to be 'in' nowadays, such as mis-matched crockery and furniture along with bare or stripped back wood. There is a large space, with room for walk-ups, but you can get a table mid-week with pretty much only a few hours' notice. A very nice, unpretentious place, next to a gorgeous community garden. One for a light summer's evening, to be sure.
The cafe is incredibly charming however the service is not good at all, we waited 30 minutes to be asked if we were ready to order which wasn't exactly a huge decision as there are only 4 items on the menu, and then 45 minutes for our starter which was served vaguely cold and oily. We then were served the main which had all the qualities of the good vegetarian meal but somehow it didn't all add up, fine but nothing to write home about. The cafe is a mix between the quirkily endearing and the inept. Your name is put on the table which is a nice touch, however it was a shame that no one came to welcome us in at the door which left as standing awkwardly among other diners for a good 5 minutes. I can appreciate that this restaurant is not a professional establishment but rather a collective of young chefs attempting to make their name which I really do respect but realistically it wasn't brilliant. I would probably come here another day when a different chef is running the kitchen but for the moment I will give it a miss.
Our first time at the Bonnington Cafe' with family and friends for dinner on Saturday 18 January. The place is Bohemian, very cosy and lovely. We found out that different chefs cook every night. Our chef tonight was Margarete. We previously phoned her to book a table the day before and were
lucky enough to be accepted considering the short notice. We brought our own wine. Food was excellent and made with fresh produce. We adults started with a soup, followed by cous-cous with aubergines and our daughter had a vegetarian burger. We ordered apple strudel and a portion of chocolate cake as dessert. Food was delicious. We loved the place and will be back!
This ex squat is a co-operativey run veggie and vegan cafe with a different chef taking their turn each night. The interior is cosy and shabbily chic, with fairy lights, a piano, mismatched furniture, candles and flowers on each table and a fire in the winter. The small upstairs room is used for various classes and community events, or can be hired for birthdays etc. The noticeboard by the loo is crammed full of flyers for every goodly boho activity group/class you can think of.
There's a choice from at least two different items for each course, and at about a tenner for 3 courses I have absolutely no complaints about the food. It is plentiful, simple, wholesome and yummy. Last time I went I had a very savoury mushroom and chestnut stroganoff with rice and several salads, and my friend had a comforting cheese and spinach souffle. The time before I think I had lentil shepherd's pie.
It's BYO with no corkage charge, and there is a shop in Vauxhall station and a supermarket across the road from the station should you arrive empty handed.
This is a lovely chilled place to enjoy a meal out, and anyone you take here will think that you are cool. If they don't, you probably shouldn't be friends/go out with them any more because they have no soul.
One of the most unique restaurants in London. It is based in Bonnington Square which is one of the few remaining Victorian squares in Vauxhall (saved from redevelopers by squatters in the 60s). Check out bonningtonsquaregarden.o… and vivavauxhall.org for a brief intro to the area.
The restaurant itself is one of the buildings which was squatted and was then turned into a communal vegetarian cafe. It operates on a rotating cook system which lends a unique sense of surprise to it. The food is first of all cheap (roughly 10 quid for three courses, BYO and non alcoholic drinks are cheap), wholesome (vegetarian or vegan) and eco (if possible from surrounding areas and carbon offset etc.).
Given the rotating cook system you can have a different experience each night. The food is generally very good (but it has to be judged in the context; local restaurant and very very cheap) and the atmosphere is unique and bohemian chilled. A great experience.
This place is a gem - it has the absolute virtue of being in a unique corner of London that you could walk past for years and never know existed.
The menu is different every time you go, as are the cook and you basically get the choice of one or two dishes per course - a three course meal is incredibly cheap and you can take your own wine or beer so overall it's a win-win situation
The Bonnington Cafe, on a dark side street in Vauxhall, is one of my favourite places in London - so much so that I have held my birthday party there for the past two years.
Lit by fairy lights with higgledy-piggledy décor, the café/restaurant is all that's left of what was once a thriving squatters community. It retains a hippy home-spun feel reflected in the way its run by a collective of chefs who take turns, or audition in others, to cook each evening. As such, the quality varies from night to night but it's always strictly vegan or vegetarian, and there are two options for each course.
Rich chocolate tart to rival a French patisserie, admirably experimental but cardboard-like mung-bean pancakes, and a deliciously complex veggie chilli are some of the assorted offerings I've tried. Despite some disappointments, the fairy light bohemian atmosphere always wins me back, and at £10 for three courses or £6.50 for a main and £2.50 for a starter/dessert, it's hard to complain.
In addition it has that covetable trait of being BYO with no corkage fee. The Bonnington takes you away from London for the evening. It's intimate, friendly and welcoming to all.
I love The Bonnington Cafe! Open at lunch time and then again in the evening, this vegetarian and vegen cafe has a different chef every night of the week. It is run by a collective of chefs and you can a user group meeting (held every 1st of the month) if you want to have a go. The vibe is bohemian with a warm and community feel. The candle lit tables and fairy lights add a lovely touch and I felt instantly comfortable. On top of this it's incredible value food with a 3 course meal for £10, and you can also bring your own bottle without corkage charge.
It's important to book a place before you go, and also check out which chefs are cooking when, as their meals and cooking styles vary hugely. You can also see what else is on as they often hold special events or music nights. When I went I had chick peas, root vegetables and saffron stew on cous cous followed by white chocolate, orange and saffron fondant (this lady loved her saffron). The food was wholesome and scrummy and instantly I was persuaded to return.
I've heard from others that the food hasn't been so great when they've been (which is why it's a good idea to see if the menu is your thing on the night you want to go) but unless you can't handle a meal without a bit of meat, I recommend this place vegetarian or not.
I first found Bonnington about 2 years ago, while living in Oval.
It's one of the best vegetarian lunch, dinner and coffee places in London, and perhaps that I"m not a vegetarian will qualify that a bit...?
The food is perfectly made with local produce, and the rotating cooks help to keep things different. The latest meal I had here was a Mexican burrito- delicious and cheesy. I've found it's a great place to take friends/coworkers who have additive allergies or are just a bit fussy- the ingredients are basic and the chef of the day can actually tell you what's in what.
Warning: this place is packed after 6pm on later week and weekend nights.
In a quest to find a cheap but delicious place for dinner in an easy location for me and 2 of my sisters, we stumbled across The Bonnington Cafe in Vauxhall, once a squat, now a cooperatively run vegetarian cafe.
Although it is very close to the station, The Bonnington Cafe is nestled down a semi-tropical (it has palm trees?!) residential road. The restaurant offers a different chef and a different vegetarian or vegan menu each night. On Tuesday, the food on offer was a sweet potato soup to start, tri-colour lasagne or red veggie curry for main and blueberry and apple crumble or orange and almond tart for desert. The food was seriously tasty but I would recommend going a bit later (8:30ish) when the atmosphere picks up as more people come in to sample the veggie delights.
Although the food was good and the decor was shabilly cosy, the lighting could've done with some work - but at only £3 for starters and deserts, £7 for mains and BYOB policy with no corkage, I'm willing to let it slide as this place really is hearty grub on a budget.
As one of my sisters said, 'It's almost like going out and having your mum cook you dinner'. So try it out, give it some support, and enjoy!
A chef cooperative, each night a different person cooks. If you go to their website, most of the chefs have written a short note on themselves and what they like to cook. The food is vegetarian/vegan, sometimes raw, always delicious and nourishing.
You can BYO, and is a perfect place to sit and have a chatter whilst working your way through the short menu.
Tends to be a choice of two starters £3 each/ two mains £7 each/ 2 desserts £3.
You can call and ask what the menu will be. It mostly seems to be made from what was good at the market on the day.
I am not vegetarian and I still love coming here, whether I am on my own, on a date, with a friend or a group.
This place is a fantastic little find - The Bonnington Café is a co-operatively run vegetarian & vegan restaurant in the Bonnington Square Community Centre in Vauxhall. This is certainly a best-kept secret for many (so much so, I wasn't sure I'd find a review on here, but that's Qype for ya - it's got a wide reach!!)
Bonnington's as it's affectionately known by locals, is tucked away amidst the beautiful community gardens of the square.
The Café has been open since the early 80's when it was started as a squat Café to provide a good cheap meal for the local community (and maintaining those credentials to help feed those of us who work locally and who are on a budget!).
No single person runs the Café and they don't have one single chef. Bonnington's is maintained by an active collective of member cooks who also contribute to the overall running of the venue. Whoever is taking the helm that particular day provide excellent vegetarian home-cooking at great prices in a laid back and friendly bohemian atmosphere. The chairs and tables are all shapes and sizes, but all very comfortable! The window seat is my fave place for group lunches and is given extra character (and comfort!) with lots of colourful scatter cushions which add a really warm, homely feel.
The menu is different every day (I've only been for luncheons, but the same applies in the evening and with no alcohol license it's BYO only) Each cook brings their own style, character and background to the Café's veggie fare and on anyday you can be served anything from Mexican to Traditional British fare.
Go along to Bonningtons with an open mind and expect food from anywhere in the world and you won't be disappointed! My experience was that you choose from a communal chalk board which has a couple of choices of starters and mains and one dessert. Great for someone whose normally overwhelmed by the choice on a restaurant's menu!
If you're interested in cooking at the Café, the cafe users group meetings are held on the 1st of every month at 6pm and anyone who'd like to have a go at running their own restaurant for a day/evening are very welcome!
Very unusual vegan cafe as the food is cooked by a different chef every day and the menu therefore is very small. However, as soon as I walked in, the smell was inviting and really home cooked, it was like walking round to a friend's house.
As the previous reviewer has said, it's very pot luck with a different menu each day and all the tables and chairs are mis matched, which to me, just added to the homely feel and part of it's charm.
We had a lovely lunch of warming lentil soup and a delicious Thai curry with brown rice, potato salad and some baby leaf green salad. I was pretty full at the end but we managed to share some apple crumble between us.
If you're around the Vauxhall area and like veggie food it's well worth making a trip over there for and on the day I went the food was easily comparable to (more famous & more expensive) The Gate veggie restaurant in Hammersmith (apparently one of Gwyneth Paltrow's favourite places to eat.
The soup was good but I wouldn't recommend the gray cake.
(Day indicated because someone different cooks every day of the week.)
Where else in the world can you sample 'vegan chorizo' than at the Bonnington Cafe? Seriously cute hidden gem, wholesome, honest and hopefully the bohemian vibe wasn't spoilt too much by the Minnie Mouse ears my pals and I were sporting (hen do - with a difference).
Leave your pretention at the door and don't expect to be dazzled by the food but if you're looking for a cosy, original, cheap place to have a veggie dinner with pals, accompanied with lashings of BYO drinks, this is your place.
Beware -the facilities are up three flights of stairs which might be a problem for some.
Very overrated vegetarian cafe. The menu only had 2 choices on it. The food was quite forgettable. I appreciate the concept of a daily rotation of chefs. It's got quite an nice hippie ambience though.
I was not that impressed from this place. The food and coffee were nice and everything but there was just something missing. The staff seemed bored and I felt unwelcome from the poorly decorated walls and uncomfortable tables.
I was visiting my friend in London. Since he is vegetarian we decided to try this place. The concept sounded very different We went to this place and were lucky to find a table for two. The food was excellent. It is a cute place tucked away in a quiet neighborhood. Loved the food !! great place...
A local favourite and perenial winner of everyone's 'best kept secret' award in London, the bonnington café is a relaxed, bohemian café/restaurant with zero pretension. Starting life as a communal-run enterprise it has since developed into a homely, laid-back venue where you can bring your own booze and eat healthy food. There's loads of events on - I tried a tango class here a while back which was pretty haphazard but fun. A hippy vibe, the place gets let down by the food a bit - it's really hit and miss. The vegan night is the most popular and prices are rediculously cheap. The opening hours are erratic and make sure you book ahead.
They let me in 10 minutes before closing and served me some great food. Much appreciated that they put their customers first and the food had good energy too.
... at long last!
Friends who live in the neighbourhood have raved about this amazing little place for ages. I have been wanting to go for months, but probably wouldn't even have found it on my own.
I love everything about Bonnington's: it's a community project, it's unpretentious, you bring your own, and it exclusively serves vegetarian food.
I just wish there were more places like this!
Mind you, as a "tourist" to the area I am probably as guilty as the large birthday parties of destroying part of the cafe's appeal.
We went on Friday night. We were nice and early and got a brief chance to soak up some of the unique homely atmosphere. Come 8 o'clock we were surrounded by several large parties, increasing the decipel levels (as a result we were unable to hear the accordeon player whose tunes would have set the perfect backdrop for a relaxed night) and creating a general feeling of unrest with people arriving late, popping out for a smoke, etc.
Not sure how the small staff of one chef with a couple of helpers managed to juggle those crowds and not to run out of food.
I feel stressed cooking Sunday lunch for six - this was a dinner party for more than 50 people!
The menu was limited to two starters, two mains and two deserts. All delicious, albeit of the old-school vegetarian cuisine of overly nutritious and filling food (beans and nuts galore) - perfectly suited to the surroundings, actually.
It is easy to imagine this to have been a squat or massive house share - I particularly appreciated the Chinese whisper which resulted in a spare role of toilet paper to be delivered to the mixed queue.
We were here on a Friday evening. We had the leek tart to start (£3), mediterranean platter and Venetian bake (£7) for mains and choc cake (£3) for dessert. Food was average but understandable since it's co-operatively run. Not really good value for what we had but since there's a different chef every day, we might consider going back. Service was bad towards the end. We've had better vegetarian food for a bit more money.
This is an interesting place. They have a raw food night every two weeks and so as a friend of mine only eats raw, we decided to go there with her. As a normal veggie I found the food bland and it certainly didnt fill me up. My boyf is a meat eater and he also found it very unsatisfying and the portions very pretty small. My friend however who eats raw normally felt it was very nice. The place was quite noisy but very friendly.
Nice little place tucked away in Vauxhall. I forget who was cooking that night but it was Mediterranean themed. We ordered a bunch of stuff and was everything was delicious and very fresh tasting. The staff was lovely.
If you're looking for a relaxed evening dinner with friends, at somewhere with atmosphere, then this is the place to come. As other reviewers have mentioned, cooks alternate on each night. I enjoyed the raw food cooking (esp. the raw cake) which gave me a feeling for the intense, uncooked flavors of this rigorous diet. As it was warm we sat outside in the small outside garden. There is a fee to bring your own booze, and whilst the service was not super fast we totally soaked up the joie de vivre which so characterizes this Vauxhall gem. A meal with three courses costs around £12.
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