Canteen

Restaurants, British Spitalfields
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 2 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
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This best-of-British mini-chain serves a broad and enticing menu of well-cooked national treasures in a stylish but pared-back setting.

In some ways, it’s a surprise that Canteen’s bold-and-British mini-chain has only expanded to four outlets since this original opened in 2006. Its locations are perfect for day-trippers or lunching office workers (the others are at the South Bank, Canary Wharf and Baker Street), the welcome is warm, cooking is reliable, and the venues themselves are accessibly minimalist and stylish.

The open kitchen sends out a Land’s End to John O’Groats selection of classic dishes – arbroath smokie with poached egg, welsh rarebit, lancashire cheese tart with chicory, pie and mash. Canteen was one of the first places to trumpet locality and sustainability on its menus, a commendable stance that continues today: eggs and chicken are free-range, fish is from non-endangered species, farms and breeds are name-checked. And – perhaps due to the chain’s limited size – results are reasonably good.

The pie fillings change every day and come with a scoop of perfectly creamy mash and flavourful gravy; daily roasts are as good as you’ll find in the best gastropubs. There’s also afternoon tea, plus a small list of trad bar snacks (scotch eggs, fish finger sandwiches) to go with the democratic wines, simple cocktails and British beers.

 

Posted:

Venue name: Canteen
Contact:
Address: 2 Crispin Place
London
E1 6DW
Cross street: off Brushfield Street
Opening hours: Meals served 8am-11pm Mon-Fri; 9am-11pm Sat; 9am-10pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Liverpool Street
Price: Main courses £8-£14.50. Set meal (3-7pm, Mon-Sat) £12.50 2 courses
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Average User Rating

2.6 / 5

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  • 4 star:1
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  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|6
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Jenny E
tastemaker

We'd heard good things about Canteen and though our first visit left us underwhelmed, the location, eating area space and ease of access (having a buggy) enticed us into giving it a second try but this time for breakfast.


Seeing as we were the first through the doors when it opened at 9am, it was incredibly disappointing to see a Deliveroo driver leaving with an order 30 minutes after we had ordered our food. But the wait wasn't the worst. Our dishes arrived but the food had only a hint of warmth to them before becoming completely cold halfway through eating.


I had ordered the Canteen English breakfast and asked for no beans. Usually restaurateurs will offer something in its place but not here. I either got a bonus mushroom or two is the norm but either way, I thought it was poor service not to offer considering the breakfast was a whopping £11.


My husband had avocado and poached eggs and commented that the avocado was really cold like it had just come out of the fridge. This may well have been the case but I would've expected them to try to make it more room temperature especially considering how long it took to serve the dishes.


The waitress didn't emit any warmth or friendliness and the service was basic throughout.


All in all, Canteen has a great location and plenty of tables but i'm hardly surprised that the place is near-empty most of the time considering the excessive price and poor service. I don't think we'll be giving it another chance. 

Sarah G
Tastemaker

Popped in for a quick bite before a trip to the BFI. Was glad I'd booked as it was mobbed!

Menu is limited but that was part of the attraction today. We were seated on a table right out iPad the edge & out of eyeline of the rest of the restaurant. That might be nice & private but it also, I believe led to lack of service.

I had to physically get up to attract the waitress to take our order, no one checked on us during the meal & then I had to go & get someone to bring us the bill.

Our food - I had a steak my friend lamb, was nice enough, though I was underwhelmed by my side of 'roasted butternut squash' which was pretty insipid & showed little sign of being roasted, & my friends kale, a named element of the dish was non existent.

A main with a glass of wine came to £30 which was way too much imo, so I would go elsewhere next time, given the choice at south bank. Meh!

Luisa G
Tastemaker

Well below average food. Uncomfortable seats. Terribly rude and uninterested staff. Very expensive for what you actually get. Would rather go to a greasy spoon and get breakfast for a fiver, which will be quadruple the size and served by someone who actually wants to be at work...

Carmen
Staff Writer

Expensive restaurant for the canteen style food offered on the menu but good option if you are around Southbank and want to avoid dining in one of the many chain restaurant around this area. Food is good. Go for the fish & chips. No burger on the menu. Cheesecake delicious. Good place to crash last minutes with friends .

spuddi

i read a great review of the canteen "great british food" cookbook on a blog I read by wellywoman