Ben's Canteen has been on my to-do list for a while now. For months, it's name has been popping up randomly whether it's my Twitter feed showing a constant barrage of people going there or colleagues at work mentioning it. When my best friend demanded that we go, who was I to refuse?
Now, although the name makes it sound like a truckers stop, it is anything but. With locations in Earlsfield and Battersea, they appear to cater only for us South-West Londoners but I recommend people stepping away from their postcodes in order to try it out.
We decided to try the Earlsfield one situated on a corner of the never ending Garratt Lane. Inside is quirky yet classy, with stripped wooden floors, long cushioned benches, a ton of mirrors and some pretty cool wall features. It has an intimate feel to it, without being at all suffocating or cramped - perfect for date night (kind of needing Tinder to pull through right now...).
Food wise, there's something for everyone. Steaks, salads, fish, pasta... "nothing out of the ordinary" you'd think, right? Wrong. The nachos come with a pestle and mortar to smash up your own guacamole, the fish & chips manages to be guilt free and just wait until you see the doughnuts for dessert. There is also an extensive drinks menu and they always have offers on such as 2-4-1 Tuesdays, a free espresso martini, bottomless booze brunches... awaiting payday really isn't necessary at Ben's Canteen.
Here's a little snippet of what you can expect:
Cajun Prawn & Baby Gem Lettuce Sliders. These are served on a mountain of guacamole and sour cream to give the whole thing a Mexican feel. Use a knife and fork or pick them up, wrap them up, and do your best not to get it all down you. Guess which option I went for?
Spring Shoot Super Food Salad with Chicken. It's nice to find a salad that can actually fill you up. This plate is piled high with quinoa, beans, lentils, asparagus, broccoli and chicken. You could choose to have it with smoked salmon instead or just plain. Either way, it'll always come topped off with some nice edible flowers which is all that matters really.
'Healthier' Fish & Chips. I could not fault this. I tried. But I couldn't. The hake was cooked perfectly and the polenta made a great alternative to your standard potato chips. With a side of avocado and tomato, this felt like an indulgent meal but had the added bonus of not actually being one.
Doctor's DIY Doughnuts. These are the sole reason my friend wanted to come here so it would've been criminal for her not to have them. Served up are a bowl of mini doughnuts and 3 syringes of gooey deliciousness for you to inject into the doughnuts at your hearts content. The custard one was definitely a winner between us but you could also play around with chocolate sauce and strawberry jam. If you're having a family meal and want the kids to shut up, just order these. It'll keep them occupied for a while at least!
If you're not convinced by the above then go to Ben's Canteen and try it for yourself. The service here is not to be sniffed at and if nothing else, you'll just want to stay and chat to the staff here. We had a young waitress who answered a gazillion questions and was incredibly helpful, and the waiter who took our orders definitely adds to the character of the place. I will absolutely be making this a regular spot, especially as my friend organised her entire birthday night here before we even left the place. In fact I might work my way through the menu by the end of the year. Game. On.