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Bonnington Café

Restaurants, British Vauxhall
4 out of 5 stars
(18user reviews)
 (© Rob Greig)
© Rob Greig
 (© Rob Greig)
© Rob Greig
 (© Rob Greig)
© Rob Greig
 (© Rob Greig)
© Rob Greig
 (© Rob Greig)
© Rob Greig
 (© Rob Greig)
© Rob Greig
 (© Rob Greig)
© Rob Greig

Time Out says

This cooperatively run vegetarian and vegan restaurant was initially set up back in the '80s to serve the local community – many of whom were squatting nearby. Today it retains the community feel, with a collective of cooks keeping the pans hot. The clientele tends to comprise locals and regulars, too. 

Menus are dictated by the chef, and usually by that chef's homeland. Expect, then, dishes influenced by Japan, Italy, France, America and Portugal, all with a vegetarian or vegan bent. And if you really like what you were served on a given day? You can check online who did the cooking and make a beeline for their next shift. 

It's also worth noting that Bonnington Café is BYO, and cash-only. 

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Address: 11
Vauxhall Grove
Transport: Tube/Rail: Vauxhall
Opening hours: Daily noon-2pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
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Users say (18)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:13
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
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It is often a headache to find a restaurant in London with qualitative, homemade, reasonably priced and casual cuisine. This is all ticked at the Bonnington Café, which is located in a residential area, preserved from the fervour of Vauxhall’s main street.

Its particularity? The Bonnington Café is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant run on a cooperative model. Opened in the early 80s, it was originally a squat that offered cheap meals to the local community. Today, even though it is no longer a squat, it has not lost its friendly atmosphere. Chefs from around the world run the place, cooking and maintaining the place in turn.

I enjoy coming in this cosy and warm house, where sometimes a musician comes to play piano. With only two choices of starters, dishes and desserts, this place is the happiness of the undecided type of people. The dishes are at a very reasonable and fixed price, and you can bring your own bottle. Be careful, however, with very few tables, you must book directly with the chef, by phone or by email. And do not forget your wallet, as the house only accepts cash.


Met a friend here for dinner last night. Decent food but not worth a trip out of the way. The service is also terrible, as a friend warned me before I went.

The menu is limited and you don't know what it will be until you arrive. You can only make reservations through text or email, not phone. Cash only ::eye roll::

I got the puy lentil shepherd pie, with side salad, as did my friend. The portion size for £8 was decent but we both agreed it was just fine- nothing spectacular. Like someone else cited in a review, home cooking. I've had MUCH better vegan/veg food elsewhere.

It's a very tight space and was much too warm for all the bodies packed in the space. Ventilation was seriously needed.


This is without a doubt one of my favourite restaurants in London and one that has the potential to make you a full-fledged vegetarian! Located in the beautiful Bonnington Square in Vauxhall, the area has such a unique history that makes the restaurant even more treasurable. In the late 70s, the council had planned to demolish the entire Square to build a new school. This was luckily blocked legally by a local shopkeeper, but in that time the vacant buildings were all inhabited by squatters. Together the squatter community founded a squat Café to provide affordable meals for others and to this day, Bonnington Café remains a co-operatively run vegetarian and vegan restaurant.

A group of member cooks run the Café 7 days a week with someone different cooking each day and as the premises are unlicensed, it’s bring your own booze without corkage! You can expect an array of menus as each cook has their own style, e.g. the dishes (100% vegan) below from my last visit hail from India, Thailand and the Mediterranean…

Spicy Dhal Curry Soup with Kale Chips

Thai Bean Cakes with Green Curry Sauce, Rice & Salad

Roasted Aubergine with Fava Beans, Cheesy Cashew Topping, Roasted Potato Cubes & Salad

Lemon & Ginger Tofu Cheesecake

The restaurant itself is full of Bohemian character with an unmissable ceiling and it’s especially gorgeous by candlelight! Its cash only and the best way to book a table is to text the chef! This restaurant should be added to all of your bucket lists, its great value home cooked goodness. Also, if you fancy yourself as quite the cook, you can register your interest to cook at the Café!

I shouldn't really tell anyone about this cafe, it's too nice to share with its very creative vegetarian menu from a different chef each day. It's never boring and always delicious.

This quirky, laid back cafe has a trippy, hippy vibe. Located just off the delightful leafy sanctuary of Bonnington Square and near an eccentric, lovingly tended community garden. A different chef cooks every day with an ever-changing menu. Bring your own wine. Inexpensive, charming, vegan. Across the road from super little deli where you can pick up your wine.


A London vegan institution with rotating volunteer chefs each night, cheap menus, BYOB and loads of community events. It's a hippy dream come true! Plus you feel like you're chilling in someone's house given it's location, decor and set up.

anything that starts with the word 'Bonnington' is going to be genius - the genuus of people if you leave them alone to get on with it - their neighbourhood, their cafe, their community garden - if you've not been then get down there now - it is a master class in how to live - enjoy

I kind of don't want too many other people to hear about it! But they totally are the best in the area.


If you don't fancy cooking at home but still want some wholesome vegetarian/vegan fair with a good bottle of BYO vino (without the restaurant markup) then go to 'The Caff'. I've been going here for years and regard it as a bit of a national treasure. Meal prices are great and the atmosphere somewhat eclectic with an interesting clientele. Please note that this is a community kitchen run by a cooperative so don't expect fancy presentation and designer loo's. It is what it is and if you go with little/few expectations you will be pleasantly surprised. We need independent places like this so it is good to support such establishments...

A restaurant should make better food than I could make at home. To be as good as I could make at home it is 3 stars, to exceed is 4, this place gets 2. Food really not interesting, not much interesting taste. Also, although I actually lived in the area in 1998 before it became hip, cause it seems I was not sufficiently BoHo or resident my booked table was nought and I was stuck upstairs with less than notable service. Would not return nor recommend.

Great place! Really loved the atmosphere of the cafe, and the food was delicious!!!

Lovely food and atmosphere. Chefs change on a regular basis and the dining room fills up quickly, so be sure to make a reservation. It's always a surprise as to what exactly the food will be, though having been there many times I've enjoyed the food every time! Couldn't recommend this more highly!

Fantastic! Great food (the evening I went, and I'm not a vegetarian), brilliant value, lovely atmosphere, friendly staff and fellow diners. Not the shabby crust-fest I was fearing. Love the philosophy behind it. 1 star is an snobby insult!

On 1 December 2012, food was mediocre in taste and poor in presentation. It was cheap, but nevertheless not good value. With luck you may have a different chef. Staff were friendly, but oblivious to the terrible service they provided. In particular, drinks ordered on arrival were only served after we had finished both starter and main course. Several other tables were served drinks in the interim.

A quirky, out of the ordinary place with a difference - the menu changes daily with the chefs, who often live in the square or nearby. Very reasonable prices and byo with no corkage. The food I've eaten there has varied from excellent to good home cooking. If you're lucky, you might catch an impromtu performance on the piano or a poetry reading too. One star? Come on Time Out!

Love this place! Went with friends who knew the history of the house and had a fantastic meal. There are two veggie options for each course, so no difficult decisions to make. Lovely leisurely atmosphere and we happily chatted and ate all evening. Took our own booze, so very reasonably priced. Booking is highly recommended.

One star for this absolute brilliant inspirational gem of delicious vegan/veggie cooking??? Thanks TimeOut - more room for us! You stick to articles about cutting up cows

totally amazing place... i used to live down the road and miss it terribly now:( the place is hit or miss and depending on your likes and dislikes you will find your perfect cook. the place can be bedlam at times as it gets so busy and loud... my favorite night had a piano player that just added to the marvel of the place. they also have rotating exhibitions and part of a wider community in a really amazing community. another interest is that many of the cooks change their menu every week... so it really can keep you on your toes. lunch is also a good deal and as i worked in one of the local charities it was easy to pop along with work mates. personally id recommend the organic and vegan day but ive really enjoyed other days. experiment and try every night of the week! you wont regret it.

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