Friday 16 May 2008 10.34am
It's slim pickings for a decent meal in the restaurants in and around the Elephant and Castle shopping centre. IMHO the only half-way decent place to eat is La Bodeguita, and even that is not that great, very heavy food and the live Latin music is too loud for a restaurant.
You need to think more laterally about where to eat. Forget the restaurants.
The Nigerian stall outside near the bus stops is good, and I have mentioned before the delicious food at the Ecuadorean kiosk at the New Kent Road
end of the first floor, open for weekend lunches only when they put white plastic tables out. Now I have found another excellent meal: The Palaces bingo!
I often go there to play bingo, but I had never even been into the food service area, expecting warmed over chips, pies and nuggets. Last night I didn't have chance to bring my normal picnic, so I checked out the food, and it is very impressive indeed for a bingo hall canteen.
The mains are mostly Afro-Caribbean favourites like chicken, ribs, rice and peas and plantains, but they are all cooked fresh and very tasty. Best of all there is a home-made fruit crumble (big juicy chunks of apple with a whiff of cinnamon) and, get this, home-made custard.
You will have to join The Palaces to get in -- you can join on the spot these days, no 24 hour wait --. and you have to pay £1 entrance fee. Plus if you don't want to play bingo (although you should) you will have to tolerate the numbers being called. But believe me, you can have a surprisingly good dinner there.
No connection with any of these places, just a local in search of a good feed.