We popped into Bens’ Canteen on St John’s Hill after work this week to see what all the fuss is about. This local, South London hangout has been getting lots of great reviews and we thought we would like to get our sticky beaks in on the action.
The space is relaxed and surprisingly on trend for the area. Wandsworth has never really been known for breaking moulds or setting styles, so the addition of the relaxed corner canteen to St John’s Hill with its assorted furniture, stylish props and credible dishes, drinks list and coffees is a pleasant surprise. This is a proper local, we wish there were more like it; it certainly has the right spirit with lots to keep you coming back again and again – there is a relaxed community feel, this week they had events on for Pancake Day, Chinese New Year and Valentines and that was just what we saw up on the black board.
Owner Ben (previously a self confessed ‘least coolest employee of Vice Mag’) always had dreams of having his own restaurant, with much of his time spent in pubs and restaurants he loved the idea of creating a hang out space, ‘from a selfish point of view, creating a space near where I lived which served good coffee, did a great brunch and was a fun hang out place in the evening, similar to a pub but without Sky Sports on loop and tap after tap of beer’.
The menu is most defiantly comfort food – there are small plates, large plates, burgers, hot dogs, salads and more. This is the type of place you know you can flop into on the way hope when you just can’t be bothered to DIY. They have the best of intentions – to always be improving. The menu is in constant evolution and there are aspirations and plans to open another Canteen within the next 12 months and more after that.
We ate: Quite a mix to get an overall feel for the food offer including – Mushroom and Peach Burger with Sweet Potato Fries that we really enjoyed, what a great juicy and fresh alternative, we also consumed Fish Tacos that were tasty, crispy and decent along with fried pickles – a little greasy for our tasting (but then we knew this wasn’t our sort of side) and a side of spicy sweet corn which was fresh and crisp but lacked anything spicy at all. Our cocktails were delightful but lacking continuity, they tasted and looked vastly different when ordered from different people (and yes it was meant to be the same cocktail). Overall we did very much enjoy our meal here, we would go back and for a local joint it does certainly exceed expectation.
Open for Brunch, lunch and dinner this makes for a super, low key, modern day water hole.
Entertaining: Casual and local. Meet buddies for a beer after work, roll out of bed on the weekends.
Cost, we were lucky enough to be invited but I would expect to pay around £25-30 pp for a good feeding.
http://benscanteen.com/ 020 7228 3260. / 140 St John’s Hill, Battersea, SW11 1SL
Check opening and kitchen service times here: http://benscanteen.com/opening-times/