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An artist-run café serving seasonal vegetarian food.
In London, a quick lunch can easily taste like disappointment sandwiched between two slices of bread. So it’s refreshing to discover The Ragged Canteen, confidently serving up home-cooked food in the backstreets of Vauxhall.
Living up to its name, The Ragged Canteen is a little rough around the edges, with a church-hall aesthetic, plastic orange chairs, plain walls and trestle tables. But there’s more substance here, as the plastic tablecloths are actually unique prototypes from a previous art exhibition, and disruptive video installations and art pieces hang on the walls.
Run by Beaconsfield Gallery, The Ragged Canteen sits below their large exhibition space and also hosts a small gift shop. The funky outdoor area has plant-filled bathtubs, rickety benches and blankets to keep your knees warm. If the Tate café had a cooler, kooky cousin, this would be it.
The counter was packed with freshly made quiches, salads and cakes, and the vegetarian menu has gluten-free and vegan options that change daily. Creamy avocado and pineapple smoothie was served in a cute milk bottle, with a sustainable paper straw. The courgette tart had crisp, buttery pastry under a generous layer of puréed white bean filling, with pretty courgette roses pressed in between satisfying blobs of melted cheese. Vegan Thai red curry was flecked with aromatic white fennel seeds and packed with chunky tofu, juicy green beans, and tenderstem broccoli, but it needed more confident spices and a squish of lime. The carrot cake was dense and unapologetically slathered in a rich cream cheese frosting.
They’re open every day but Monday, late morning until 5pm, so go for lunch or an early dinner. It’s easy to miss tucked away behind the brick walls of the old Ragged School building, but for a so-called Ragged Canteen, the food is not too shabby at all.
|Cross street:||22 Newport Street|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £35.|
|Do you own this business?|