Canteen, as its name implies, provides all-day, simple dining at the unfashionable edge of the City. In the recently refurbished Spitalfield market, the decor is bright, modern and attractive, with the covered market allowing plenty of outside tables. The kitchen is on open view. Service is casual but pleasant enough.
A starter of mackerel and potato salad was tolerable, the mackerel not of any great quality but the potato in the salad cooked properly (11/20). A green leaf salad had good leaves and a very simple dressing (12/20). Main course fish and chips was less good, the fish being rather watery inside the pleasant batter. Chips were reasonable but could have been more crispy, while mushy peas had some taste of peas but not enough to take it out of the chippie league (11/20). A home-made pie of the day with celeriac, cheddar, potato and leek was served piping hot and was again pleasant, but lacked seasoning and was rather bland (11/20).
Lemon cake had some lemon taste but was much too dry, while carrot cake, though better, was rather tasteless (11/20). Bread slices are bought in from the Flour Station and are very good (15/20).
Overall this was a decent enough experience and fairly priced, but very simple food like this is unforgiving of errors, such as the dry lemon cake and the watery fish. The Canteen has some rave reviews in some publications and this is the kind of food I admire, but I would admire it a lot more if the basic cooking technique was tightened up considerably.