Monday, 31 August 2009

Canteen - Southbank

I think the first Canteen opened at the re-vamped Spitalfields market (more about that in another post). This branch is behind Royal Festival Hall and is slap bang in the middle of some of the most fantastic modernist architecture in London. Opinions are divided, but I think all the concrete and clean lines are brilliant and with all the great stuff that is now going on at the Southbank complex, including great places to eat and drink, I defy anyone to say this precint doesn't rock. I have lots of places I like to go around here - Concrete at the Hayward Gallery, the bar at the NFI, the funky Southbank Centre shop on Festival Terrace, Foyles bookshop...but one place I seem to be returning to regularly is Canteen. In the last few weeks I have been there for breakfast, lunch, dinner and post drinking snack and I have to say it is at the first and last of these that Canteen excels. The look of the place (sort of wood veneer Danish meets public library reading room) suits breakfast, the coffee is pretty good and the bacon, fried eggs and bubble & squeak hits the spot. For the post booze carb fest they are spot on - sandwiches with fish fingers and tartar sauce or sausage and onion marmalade are the stand outs. Lunch and dinner are OK but not brilliant - fish and chips, gammon and coleslaw, roast chicken, steak and chips, you get the picture - simple comfort food dishes done well but feeling a bit production line. However I am prepared to forgive Canteen a lot because I just like the place and I would love there to be more places like this. So if you happen to be on an early morning sight-see on the Southbank or you have been to the NFI or the National Theatre or boozing at the popular Brazilian bar and you fancy something to soak up the beers then I can highly recommend the sausage sandwich.

Canteen on Urbanspoon


  1. Hi Rob,
    I may have to disagree with you on the location of the first Canteen being in Spitalfields. I have a vague recollection of a small one opening first somewhere in Fitzrovia in 98/99. My friend Mark then worked on the design of the larger version in the newly revamped Spitalfields.
    The blogs are great - keep it up. Makes me want to be back in London enjoying the FW's with you.xx s

  2. I stand corrected - thanks Sam! Any suggestions as to other areas/places that you think I should cover would be much appreciated. x