High ceilings, huge windows, generous portions, and main dishes with change from a tenner in Highbury.
This is a tiny café in Highbury, opened in October 2014 by wedding caterer Paul Warburton and offering seating space for a mere 22 people. The room is surprisingly lovely in a crisp, functional way: high ceilings, huge windows giving a view of the road, white tiles on the walls. And look up at the ceiling to get a view of artfully done lighting.
The menu too is tiny: barely a dozen items, with egg dishes prominent and specials changing daily. Main dishes are sold at prices that seldom creep through the £10 barrier, and portions are generous. What’s more, the food is seriously accomplished. Huevos rancheros, served on a soft tortilla, are a regular on the menu that you should eat at least once: perfectly poached eggs, judiciously spiced beans and salsa. Quiches also make regular appearances, and the one we tried, featuring sweetly caramelised red onion, made something really distinguished out of what can so easily be a fairly humdrum dish.
The superlatives start flying fast and furious for the Franks version of kedgeree. Here the fish and egg are served whole instead of being mixed into the rice. So: a plump hunk of smoked haddock, another perfectly poached egg, carefully spiced rice and a mustardy dressing to add the final poke of zing. This is comfort food as haute cuisine, and you would be hard-pressed to find a better specimen at much more expensive restaurants. If it’s on the menu when you go, order it.
Not everything was so successful. They need more training on the espresso machine, and blueberry crumble cake was dense and dry. Diet Coke was served from a big plastic bottle, and had gone pretty flat from being open too long. But these are small quibbles. Especially when you add in the sweet and attentive service, which makes even strangers (there are lots of locals in evidence) feel welcome.
Franks is open for brunch and lunch, but check their Twitter before heading over. Warburton tweets weekly if the Canteen’s going to be closed on any of their normal opening days while he’s away doing a wedding gig. Very considerate of him. And the sort of thing you'd expect from someone who operates such an exemplary local café.
Review by Richard Ehrlich
|Venue name:||Franks Canteen|
86 Highbury Park
|Opening hours:||Wed-Sun 9am-3pm|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £25|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.6 / 5
- 5 star:20
- 4 star:8
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:1
Brunch remains solid, food is good, given not much else in the area. It's a small local business with a burgeoning catering business attached to the restaurant/ head chef. That can mean a bit of growing pain in event/ business management but the team is genuine and well intentioned.
A visit to Franks is always a welcome treat. A small, but delicious menu offering a great selection of mouth watering treats. Franks boasts a friendly and welcoming staff and the food is always presented to the highest standard.
Brilliant flavourful and hearty dishes in a great neighbourhood Cafe. I'ts come a really long way in a very short time!
Fantastic grub with a great atmosphere! The fantastic ly friendly and talented owner/chef really helps too!!
Love franks ... the food is always on point and staff can't do enough for customers, friendly, welcoming and polite.
Great, relaxed vibe; delicious food in generous portions; great tunes. Franks is a weekly must for brunch.
Love Franks Canteen. Friendly staff, affordable prices, Amazing food ... I challenge anyone to find a better poached egg in London. If its on the menu, get the Huevos Rancheros, or the Kedgeree, or the creamy garlic mushrooms (I could go on!). A well needed and welcome addition to the neighbourhood. Thanks Franks Canteen !
Thank you for the review and feedback. To let your readers know. Staff booked on some barista training. We no longer use bottled cola, cans all the way so nice and fizzy. And our cakes are baked by a third party (due to lack of room on site), this is being reviewed also. Thanks again. Franks Canteen x