South Lowdown

With signs of spring in the air this morning, there is no better reason to get up, get out and explore somewhere different. With last year's discovery of Blenheim Grove (Quality Street - October 2010), I encourage anyone who hasn't got any plans this weekend to head southwards over the river and visit the South London Gallery.

One of my favourite gallery spaces in London for many years, SLG opened its freshly painted doors last summer after the completion of a two million pound building project that tweaked, extended and polished the original former lecture theatre and library. The incorporation of the neighbouring townhouse not only adds to the unique character of the space, it has also given the opportunity for the gallery to offer an Artist Residency - housed in the Matsudaira Wing, the programme promotes an in-house residency with accommodation, studio and exhibition space all in the same building on the upper floors. Although unrelated to visual art, the real triumph is the gallery's cafe, No. 67, that has fine tuned the art of simple and delicious food, housed on the ground floor of the old townhouse.

The Matsudaira Wing

Unrivalled by any gallery café in London that are unified by their pretence, expense or both, I guarantee this will be worth the extra miles. From the freshly baked sourdough bread to the venison and white bean stew, not forgetting the selection of pastries that pile high on the bar counter, the atmosphere and particularly the service was so good I had to go back the next day. Whether you sit old-school in the front room, decorated in dark hues with limited edition prints on the walls from the gallery's bookshop, or sit in the rear looking out into the courtyard garden in a white-cube-meets-Richard-Wright space, you, and your wallet, will leave full on art and culture. Have a great weekend everyone!