I’ve come across Canteen a few times and it hosts simple classic British food (similar to Wagamama for Japanese food). Food is cheap, especially if you come during Monday to Friday from 12 to 4pm for the classic set menu. It’s £10 for a 3 course meal, including dishes like a full roast and puddings. The roast and pie menu changes on a daily basis, for example the beef roast is only available on Thursday and Sunday. Doesn’t that just sound amazing?
Unfortunately, I was truly disappointed by every single dish at Canteen.
Literally like its name Canteen, the restaurant was arranged like a school canteen with tables closely linked together, each lit by a small lamp to create more cosy setting. I leaned back at some point of my dinner and touched another guy’s back…
Chicken liver pate, piccalilli and toast - £5.50
Pate had very minimal taste and piccalilli had too much pickle. 4 pieces of toast was too many for a small cup of bland tasting pate. I couldn’t bring myself to finish this dish at all..
Pressed ham hock, piccalilli and toast - £6.50
Again, very blend, not much taste to the dish. Hock was salty and dry, though better than my pate dish. At least it was salty rather than completely lack of taste.
Roast - Gressingham duck with fig - £14.50
Another disappointing dish. Potato was dry and definitely not crispy. Cutting it was difficult because the skin had become hard and dry. Duck was very dry and again no taste. Even a normal roast at a pub is capable of producing a roast full of that juicy flavour, how did Canteen fail so badly?! On that note, Canteen was fully booked when we went on Saturday, seriously..?
Pie of the day, beef and tomato - £11.50
Dry dry dry, everything was dry. A great pie needs to be juicy with crispy soft pastry outside. In this case, beef was chewy and pastry was just soft and moist. The mash was okay.
Bread pudding with caramel ice cream - £5.50
I insisted on giving the dessert a try, though my expectation was pretty low at this point. They’ve decided to reinvent the wheel by using caramel ice cream instead of the traditional custard, very risky as custard makes everything taste good. Bread pudding was very soggy with dotted raisins inside. It was bareable if it was without the caramel ice cream. It should’ve said ‘ice’ rather than ‘ice cream’. It had no cream at all. Imagine pure ice with breading pudding….horrible texture. I did taste the caramel flavour though.
Our bill came to about £55 for 2 people, which we felt was overpriced for how disappointing the food was. On my way to Canteen I passed by the food festival along the thames, which hosted street foods like pies, various cakes, burger, curry etc. This made me beat myself up thinking why didn’t I eat along the Thames?
I’d not recommend Canteen to anyone!