Walking down from Vauxhall Tube Station to the Bonnington Cafe you might think twice before you see it when rounding the corner onto Vauxhall Grove, as the Catholic Truth Society on your left looks like a building out of the worst mind-bending horror film you've seen. But trust me and believe in yourself and that demons don't exist enough to keep on going to Bonnington Cafe, after all you're almost there and you don't want to walk past the horror film spot until you've had one or two glasses of BYOB.
Tucked between the terrace houses in Bonnington Square is the Bonnington Cafe. A community-run vegetarian restaurant that's been serving food to the people of Vauxhall for nearly 30 years, the cafe makes you feel right at home with a relaxed atmosphere, pictures of the neighbourhood through the decades on the walls, and a variety of different locals coming together to eat. The cafe is open 7 days a week so you could pop in for lunch from 12.00-2.00pm or dinner from 6.30-10.30pm (although no-one's stopping you from doing both with its more than reasonable pricing!). A few other things to be aware of are, you should text or email the chef who's cooking on the day you want to visit in order to book a table in advance, the cafe is cash only so come prepared and as said it's bring your own booze/soft drinks.
I found the Bonnington Cafe while trying to find a place to eat for before me and Dan went to the pre-release screening of Belle (excellent film!). I'm so glad we tried it that day, I've been back several times since with friends and the food never disappoints.
My favourite thing about Bonnington Cafe is that the chefs change everyday, you might go there everyday for a week and not have the same chef twice! And everyone has a different type of cuisine, for example, I went recently with my university friend come ex-pat in Dubai, Louise, and her sister when she was over in the UK and we had some sort of Greek medley starter, African style stew and chocolate brownie for dessert. So you see even with one chef you can have different styles of cooking. It won't be for everyone but as a surprise lover I think it's great to book a table not knowing what type of food you're going to be served and trying to guess from the Chef's name. Alternatively, if you hate surprises, you could text and ask the chef what they're serving in advance but I do not condone this behaviour.
In this post I'm focusing on what me and Dan ate the very first time we went for dinner here. We had mains and desserts as we were in a bit of a rush to get to the screening.
In one of the rare occasions where we didn't split our mains, Dan had blackbean and roasted butternut squash chilli with rice, cous cous and salad, while I had goats cheese pie also with cous cous and salad. Both meals were very homely, tasty and filling. I loved the goats cheese pie, with it's cheesy tomato sauce wrapped around baby potatoes, courgette and sweet cherry tomatoes, and a huge slab of puff pastry on top. It was delicious and now I'm hungry again. The blackbean and butternut chilli was good and spicy, although with the rice, cous cous and squash there were too many carbs, something I never thought I'd say.
For pudding we went back to our normal sharing routine. First up was the mango, passionfruit and raspberry Eton mess. I could go on about how pretty, creamy, fruity and ultimately gorgeous this dessert was but I'll summarise it in one word; Heaven.
And as our second dessert we tried the raw chocolate and avocado mouse which was almost a cheesecake with it's date and hazelnut crumb. I go through phases of liking and hugely disliking chocolate and the first spoonful was good and creamy but the second was not so good. I also wasn't a huge fan of the date crumb but there you go that's the fun of the Bonnington Cafe it's always a surprise what you get!
Don't forget to keep schtum on your way out to respect the cafe's neighbours, otherwise the neighbourhood foxes, or demons, will come for you.