VAUXHALL | SW8
Bonnington Café is truly a hidden gem. A co-operatively run vegetarian and vegan restaurant tucked away in the backstreets of Vauxhall, you'll find it next to another London Cheap Eats favourite, Italo Deli. Operating since the early 80's, they've always had the local community at their heart.
The co-op nature of the enterprise means there's a different chef on each day (full timetable on the website). The cooks are from all across the world, and the daily menus reflect this; whenever I've been it's been full of interesting ideas and generous portions.
The prices always stay the same, with starters and desserts at £3, and main courses at £8 (or £5.50 at lunch - bargain!). What's more, it's BYOB with no corkage, and there is often someone tinkling away on a piano whilst you dine. You can also make a reservation - just send a text to the chef cooking on your desired day - all their phone numbers are on the website.
On my most recent visit, I enjoyed a comforting plate of yellow peas, lentils, and coriander, served with a savoury pancake from Eastern European Ela. But you'll probably never have the same thing twice, and that's all part of the fun. Note: cash only.
Words and photography | Matt Hickman