6th February 2024 Business

Bonnington Café fully reopens

Trustees of the BCCA are pleased to announce that one of south London’s most iconic restaurants – the community run Bonnington Café in Vauxhall – is fully reopening from Tuesday February 6th onwards. 

Outstanding and affordable vegetarian and vegan food from around the world will once again be available for bookings and walk-ins each Tuesday to Saturday night from 6pm to 10.30pm – and for Sunday brunch between 11am and 3pm. The Café is just a short walk from Vauxhall Station

Cooks in the Café will change nightly – with the present roster including food strongly influenced by Syrian, Moroccan, Pakistani, Polish, Iranian and English cuisine, and with more outstanding cooks being added in the weeks ahead. 

Natalia Boteva, the Bonnington Café’s new organiser, is excited about regrowing the community business. “It’s been a delight to discover local chefs and their amazing food. Now we can’t wait to provide affordable meals for both Vauxhall residents, and also for London’s many vegetarian and vegan food lovers.”

Green oasis

Set in the green oasis of Bonnington Square, the Bonnington Café at SW8 1TD is a Lambeth gem, first opening its doors in 1982 during the neighbourhood’s famous squatting years. In the early 1990s, the Bonnington Centre Community Association (BCCA) purchased the entire building at 11 Vauxhall Grove thanks to a National Lottery grant, and has run the site for the benefit of the whole community ever since. After decades of success, the Café was temporarily closed in late 2021. Since then it has undergone significant renovations – and the local community has devoted considerable effort to restoring the Café to its former glory. 

Today the Café is directly managed by the BCCA – though with the same commitments to affordability, great vibes, and fantastic vegetarian and vegan cooking. The Café is also maintaining its tradition of not being licenced to serve alcohol, with customers instead welcome to BYOB. 

Hind is one of our new cooks on the roster

Diverse cuisines

Since late 2023 the Bonnington Café has been building up its roster of cooks both new and old, in readiness for this week’s full reopening. 

“The community has come together to revive our much missed Café , welcoming new chefs and old, and building on our diverse neighbourhood’s history of local action and self-help,” says Megan Doolittle, the BCCA chair. “The wonderful Café in the Bonnington Centre is alive and well again!”

Among the regular cooks today is Hind Danoun. Hind is from Syria and came to the UK six years ago. As a way of helping her feel she belonged in her new home, she started making her mum’s recipes, going on to found her own catering business called Utopia. 

Vic Conran actually lives in Bonnington Square – so is as local as it gets. Vic was a cook at the Café during its early years – and relishes the chance to cater for a new generation of customers. “It’s great to be back with a fresh start, and have the chance to bring the community imaginative, seasonal and delicious food once again,” she says.

And many long time Bonnington Café customers will surely remember Misiek, one of the original cooks’ collective who continues to dazzle with his Polish-inspired dishes. 

Be sure to check out the full roster of cooks for the weeks ahead, and to book your dinner and brunch slots! https://bonningtoncentre.org/eating-at-bonnington-cafe/

Misiek: one of the original cooks who has returned to the Bonnington Café

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