Published on February 18th, 2015 | by Rebecca Anne Milford0
Brunch @ Ben’s Canteen, Clapham Junction
Summary: Taken all the best bits from the weekend supplements and rolled them into a ball, only to unfold into one master plan for cafe/restaurant glory
There aren’t many things we’d stand in line for on a Sunday morning. It’s the day of rest after all, and more often than not we’re nursing a slightly sore head from the night before. And yet some things are worth this unnatural state of vertical inertness – Eggs Pig Out and a Banging Bourbon Bloody Mary, to be precise.
Ben’s Canteen is now a staple of the eating and drinking scene in the murky crossover of Battersea/Clapham that is St John’s Hill. Most notably, they have made a name for themselves as being the purveyors of one of the finest brunches you can get in London – served every day, no less, while other heathens relegate this divine meal to only weekends. But still, there are purists in the world, and that is why every Sunday a steady queue can be seen winding its way along the road.
Inside, Ben’s Canteen is warm, friendly and has the kind of club-house environment you want to steal for your kitchen. There’s lots of light wood that gives it a cool Scandi-vibe – floor, white-painted wall, tables (a hotch-potch of styles, and assortment of various chairs tucked under them). Then there are the blackboards urging you to have a good time and damn well treat yourself. Well okay, don’t need to tell us again.
So what is this Eggs Pigs Out malarky then? Brunch is usually notorious for the familiar faces of Benedict, Royale and Florentine. And while these are still on the menu, Ben’s have thrown down the gauntlet for best barnyard combination EVER by introducing pulled pork into the mix. Yep, slow-cooked, juicy and succulent strands of cooked pig lie soaking into fluffy English muffins topped with two perky poached eggs and slathered in creamy hollandaise. Pop a side of bright green avocado on the side and you have a meal of kings – and hey, the guac makes it almost healthy, right?
So, what about that annoying friend that pops in after a twenty mile run and wants something a little healthier? They can stuff their shining face with homemade granola pots, corn fritters with feta, or even the very exotic Shakshuka- this is a mix of peppers and tomatoes, with a little egg-island ready to spill its golden yolk, and pitta fingers for mopping up the good stuff. And if you arrive at that odd time of 3pm and aren’t sure if you’re really digging brunch, help yourself to one of the famous burgers. We scarfed down the crunchy chicken variety – the tenderest, most snowy white chicken encased in crisp gold crumbs, nestled inside a brioche bun. Sooo good.
But hey, this is brunch time (aka treat time) – you can order banana pancakes with salted caramel sauce AND bacon or a Breakfast Burrito. Plus there is of course one thing we’re missing to make this meal truly what it is. Yep, the Bloody Mary – only here you can have a Banging Bloody Mary served with vodka, gin or bourbon (the latter was our favourite). And as if any more excuses for daytime drinking were needed, Ben’s also does a sideline in Hard Shakes – have banana and peanut butter milkshake, or maybe a chocolate variety dairy-dream, with your favourite shot surreptitiously mixed in. Plus, if you find yourself getting cosy and staying a bit longer, we can heartily recommend their standard cocktail menu – a Woodford Old Fashioned had us sitting back and chilling hard.
One more mention should go out to the charming staff. They all look like they should be on a hip new E4 show, and are absolutely lovely. They buzz around the restaurant, cheerfully helping you approach the menu, and there wasn’t a sour face to be seen in the Sunday servers (something we often keep an eye out for).
It’s as if Ben took all the best bits from the weekend supplements – design, food, drink, living – and rolled them all into a ball, only to unfold into one master plan for cafe/restaurant glory. We can only look forward to our next visit, where we’ll be taking in the evening menu, and more cocktails – hey, if we get on the sauce too hard then we know a really good place to recover the next day…
Ben’s Canteen, 140 St John’s Hill, SW11 1SL
Photo Credit: @TheGaztronomeShare This Post