A rather belated search for a venue suitable for a Mother’s Day dinner (near and quiet for the benefit of tottering oldies; cool and in South London for the youth) resulted in a visit to the Stockwell Continental on South Lambeth Road. It had also been recommended in a review by novelist Will Self which lent an additional air of exciting uncertainty (for the oldies) to the proceedings.
The Continental inhabits a long thin space which used to belong to a venerable Portuguese restaurant called Rebato. In those days, Rebato had divided itself into two rooms and its clientele into two groups; loud and cheerful snacking in the front; hushed serious eating in the back.
The Continental (from the same impressive stable as the Anchor and Hope at Waterloo and Lambeth’s Canton Arms) has turned the two rooms into one and unleashed a massively long bar down one side with a magnificent yellow pizza oven (reminiscent of the oven at the River Café) at the back. The whole space looks cool, slightly New Yorkish in flavour, user-friendly, with unpretentious tables and a terrifically friendly staff. There was a bit of background music, but as the increasingly deaf mother in question, I could just about hear everything my children were saying.
As we edge away from Europe, I imagine that the notion of The Continent will begin to seem newly exotic. But for now, the Continental serves up a decent short Sunday menu of still familiar food: salumi, pizza, pasta and roasts.
We had a great plate of Burrata, perfectly poised at the point of collapse, swirled with a very good grassy basil oil accompanied by their own in-house sourdough bread. This was followed by an intensely rich and comforting beef lasagne and a plate of herb-stuffed porchetta and roast spuds with a simple sharp rocket salad pork, all of which were eminently shareable. With this we drank a pretty good Sicilian white. Puddings were excellent homemade ice creams: toasted hazelnut and coffee and grappa – the final bill just under £60 for three of us.
So all in all, it was a great place for Mother’s day with the feeling that it’d also do very well for Sunday lunch, a week day supper or just a cup of coffee at elevenses. Well done, Will Self… By Edan Ambrose
Stockwell Continental, 169 South Lambeth Road London SW18 1XW, 0203 019 0757