There’s no shortage of great spaces and creative places in London. The Tate, National Portrait Gallery, Victoria and Albert, etc etc. Though be sure to add the South London Gallery to that list.
And not just because of the quality of the chocolate milkshakes available at the adjacent cafe.
Exhibit a) Jeremy Deller’s ‘Sacrilege‘; a to scale replica of Stonehenge, as a jumping castle that’s been touring parks of London.
No. 67 hugs the front and side of the gallery which sits proudly in a refurbished Victorian terrace. Out in the courtyard there are spots to park yourself under dappled sun.
And out the back there are seats both in and overlooking the garden. There are also plenty of perches at the long centre table (which must also double as one of the best locations for a party hire in London… I can think of a few other people who might join me in scouting it for book celebrations early next year).
There is always a great delight in finding a cafe that serves brunch until 3.30 pm on a weekend. Particularly when it involves a ‘full Spanglish’ of two eggs (fried or scrambled), chargrilled chorizo and morcilla, beans, roast mushroom and toast.
Those of us who aren’t sure if they want a milkshake or a glass of pale blushing booze with their food might want to consider the waffles, bacon and bourbon syrup.
No. 67 is the product of Hamish Pritchard and Nick Hurdman and to me it’s at lunch that it really comes into its own (though they do also serve dinner four nights a week and on Wednesday evenings the gallery is open until 9pm). The gazpacho is a bargain ( £4.75), textured like burlap with a vivid kick of garlic.
This is a meal that was built for sunny days, with a glass of salmon pink Chateau Saint Esteve de Neri (£4.75) to your right and to your left, a shared portion of blistered welsh rarebit (because to not order rarebit when it’s on a menu, is a crime).
When the adjacent art is as whimsical and delightful as Aleksandra Mir’s Triumph (a gilded installation of 2,529 no longer needed and donated trophys) then the only thing that’s needed to cap the experience is a slice of cake and some coffee.
Not all of us are lucky enough to have their very own cultural concierge on speed dial, who encourages us further afield to see and do great things in our adopted cities.
But in the spirit of sharing I now say to you; head south. See a great exhibition (Triumph is showing until September 14). Have a chocolate milk shake. Nurse a glass of wine. Sit in the courtyard and try to talk about art without sounding like a sap. But mostly, just have a great day out. We certainly did.