My friend Savi is one of my oldest friend and also my second favourite cook, the first is my mother (sorry Savi). Having lived with Savi during our time at University I used to look forward to her cooking days. While my idea of cooking was a pasta with some tuna, Savi’s was a lot more adventurous. Cooking would be bean burgers from scratch, in fact everything from scratch. After we finished University, Savi and I both moved to London and although we didn’t live together I would always make sure I was free (including cancelling a date once) when Savi invited me to her’s for dinner. Unfortunately real life gets in the way and those dinners are rare, so when Savi mentioned she would be the resident chef at the Bonnington Café on Easter Monday, I was the first to reserve a table.
The Bonnington Café began in the 70s as a communal kitchen serving only vegetarian or vegan food to the many squatters that made up the local neighbourhood. Over the years the Bonnington Café has only changed slightly. The squatters have long gone, and instead a rota of cooks each take a different night to cook, paying a rental to cover the upkeep of the café and keeping any money they make. Would-be cooks can join the rota at the monthly meeting and try and prove they are dedicated cooks. Its become so popular that there is now a waiting list. The décor of the Bonnington can only be described as quaint, with bare-bricked and peach painted walls, mis matched tables and chairs. But thats part of its quirky charm.
To make sure I was totally unbiased I invited my friend Edward with me. Edward has never met or tried Savi’s cooking so I thought he would be the perfect guinea pig. For starters Edward tried the Carrot, coriander and coconut soup while I tried the Hummus and baba ghanoush with bread. My starter was light and refreshing and I could have spent the whole day just eating that, Edward enjoyed his soup but couldn’t really taste the coriander. Our main course we had a choice between a Thai green vegetable curry or a butternut squash & spinach lasagne, as we both wanted to the lasagne we both argued who was going to get it. In the end both of our stubborness one and we both chose the lasagne. The lasagne I have to admit was gorgeous and never would have thought to have add butter nut to lasagne. The only downside was the portions were extremely large and it meant we had no room left in our bellies for dessert, which consisted of chocolate brownie or a rhubarb, apple and stem ginger tart with custard. Which was pretty devastating because Savi’s desserts are gorgeous.
Having said that I’m hoping Savi will make me some chocolate brownie when I see her next. In fact I’m looking forward to when she is the resident cook again at Bonnington. And as for her future I hope she opens up her own little restaurant one day.
The Bonnington Cafe, 11 Vauxhall Grove, London SW8. For details of who is cooking when, and how to book, visit www.bonningtoncafe.co.uk
Pictures courtesy of Khälid Siddiqui.