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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

CANTEEN Restaurant

Canteen = 4 award-winning London restaurants. Great British food = honest food, nationally sourced, skilfully prepared and reasonably priced.

This is how CANTEEN restaurant describes itself, rather modest considering every time I’ve been I have had to wait in line with the rest of its keen fans. It is always full, and seems insanely popular.

I first went to Canteen, Royal Festival Hall branch, about a year ago with a good friend. After the first delightful visit it became one of our regular meet ups after work. The atmosphere suited us perfectly, and the warmth of the food and service was too good for us to resist. Considering the large portions, the prices are reasonable but not cheap, about £20 a head for drink, main, and side plus 12.5% service.

The name, I’m guessing, comes from the canteen-like layout of the restaurant, no fuss tables and chairs ordered neatly in an open plan room. It encourages casual, stress-free dining and is open for food, snacks and drinks all day. The breakfast menu, although I’ve never tried it, looks great.

The food has always been delicious, with maximum taste but also leaves you feeling completely satisfied and healthy. When I went last week I ordered the amazingly large portion of roast chicken and chips with garlic mayonnaise, plus a green side salad. The chicken was succulent with beautifully crispy skin, perhaps it had been cooked in one of those magical rotisserie machines. And the chips were perfectly cooked and cut, dangerously moreish. As a meat lover this is a good restaurant for me with numerous tasty meaty options, from freshly baked pies to roasts and bangers and mash. Canteen can also proudly say that all their meat and poultry comes from farmers who rear traditional breeds and practise good animal husbandry. It is free range and additive free.

This is hearty feel good food, the best of British cooking. Go visit one of their four branches, or buy their cookbook, which recently came out.

Visit the Canteen website here.

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