PLACE OF INTEREST
Dining options continue to proliferate in the rapidly developing Elephant & Castle neighbourhood currently in the mid-phase of a mammoth £2.3 billion pound regeneration project centred around the notoriously maligned roundabout. In one corner of the vast lot now designated Elephant Park once stood the (late, lamented, short-term) Elephant Works, a container village of creative business start-ups and young restaurateurs easing their way into the marketplace. In its shadow is latest arrival Sawyer Street corridor, a passageway of carefully curated, informal international cuisine storefronts, all independent purveyors, many sourced from the local area (former tenants of the adjacent mall or from the East Street Market just down the road).
Already in place is the vegan Ethiopian Beza (with its wry and sweet ace proprietress/chef), Japanese tonkotzu bar Koi Ramen, Caribbean specialist Tasty Jerk and Pan-Asian providers Pot & Rice, with an Ecuadoran and Lebanese on the way. They join coffee house Hej and wine bar maestros Diogenes the Dog, in place since early 2019. Mercato Metropolitano, the mighty and successful food hall launched in 2016 in a temporary home nearby will be moving in to a new space later this year, relaunched as MM Factory. A local pub has also opened onsite, The Tap In.
The surrounding grounds of the new-build flats have plenty of broad green promenades, and attention has been paid to aesthetics, with accents of quirky light installations and plentiful plantings and recreational areas (a strict and focused programme of sustainability has been built in to the development as well). E&C is quickly taking on the contours of a destination spot. Those who may remember this environment as the location of the infamous Heygate estate will be suitably awed.
Of note: further down on Walworth Road, eccentrically situated within a run of more traditional shops, is the modern, bright cafe Louie Louie with its 2-4-1 early evening craft cocktails and rotating guest chef menus. And while in the area, visit the Cinema Museum and avail yourself of this absolute gem, attend one of their film clubs (silent, film noir, etc) or talks with historical luminaries from the film world-indulge and cultivate this irreplaceable London cultural institution. The city’s all the richer for it.