2 Crispin Place, Spitalfields, London, England, E1 6DW, United Kingdom

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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.

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User comments

  • Amol Parnaik

    I had to do some work on Monday and finished around 1. With no rush to go home, I had lunch at Canteen just by Liverpool street station. The restaurant is located in a pedestrianised area full of trendy shops and trendy people. The windows are large and bright, and as it is under covering, you can sit 'outside' far more often then usual. This all creates an inviting atmosphere to hang out and have a long brunch. I ordered the lamb and pearl barley stew, some mash on the side and a sponge pudding. This was all with a glass of house red. The stew came piping hot, a little too hot to eat, but that was understandable. Once cooler, it was very good, with the addition of some salt and pepper. Canteen bragged about how it used local ingredients and care over its cooking, and I could see this, not only in the stew, but how they but the rest of the menu together also. The mash was fine, as to be expected for £3. The sponge pudding looked a little processed. Don't get me wrong, it was still tasty; however it lacked the care shown in the stew. It did, however, come with real custard. Great! That's what I like to see. Overall, I really enjoyed this lunch, all for £25. It was very hearty and filling and I would happily go back there again. It gave the impression that you could have wine and cheese there only, which to my knowledge, is pretty rare. I need to do some hunting for such places. That and a proper pie and mash place

  • Alex Chambers

    Personally I felt this was a fairly flawed venture. The idea of Wagamamaing British food is certainly a good one, but on both visits the food has been rather poor. A Macaroni Cheese was like napalm- so hot the pasta had effectively melted into the cheese, yet somehow totally failing to acheive a decent crust. I genuinely wonder how they managed that one. On another visit a really wonderful pork chop had been converted into shoe leather thanks to hideous overcooking. It's a real shame as the menu reads well and the wine list is actually rather reasonable - just turn the heat down guys.