When it comes to brunch, Australians certainly know how to do it well, so it’s no surprise that an increasing number of London cafes and restaurants have begun to look down under for ideas and inspiration.
Ben’s Canteen was created by…wait for it…Ben (big shock there, right?!) to satisfy those who want a pub vibe in a non-pub setting. Taking inspiration from the Australian brunch scene and also from his friends at Vice, Ben launched Ben’s Canteen in 2011. The first branch of the eatery was launched in Clapham Junction but the business has grown quickly and a second branch was recently launched in Earlsfield.
Up until last year, I only ever passed Clapham Junction on the train to Waterloo but I must say I’m glad I rectified that situation as the area has a fantastic restaurant selection and I’m not surprised that Ben’s Canteen chose to launch here.
The restaurant is a bit of a walk from Clapham Junction station (ten minutes) which is great on a sunny day but might not be quite so much fun when it’s raining however the surrounding area is quite lovely so it certainly wasn’t a problem for me.
The first thing you notice when you set foot in the restaurant is the eye catching neon heart. It’s quite stunning and I intentionally chose the biggest table beneath it so that I could gaze at it as I ate.
I must confess that after googling Ben’s Canteen in advance of my visit, I quickly formed the impression that the cafe was one of those greasy hangover brunch kinds of place, but the menu has since been updated and it’s actually far from it.
Below are a few of the dishes we tried on our visit to the restaurant. Please excuse the amount of food you are about to see, when we visit restaurants we try to sample and review as many dishes as possible so that you, are beloved readers know what to select when you visit. Pictured below is the Aussie Iced coffee, Buttermilk fried chicken on toast, smashed avo and pink kraut on toast, pancakes and the ice cream sandwich.
The visual presentation of the food was absolutely spot on. My jaw dropped repeatedly as each dish arrived and if you are looking for an impressive, Instagrammable brunch then this is the place for you.
Ok, the food might look good on Instagram but what about the taste, I hear you ask. Well, I’m happy to report that Ben’s Canteen more than passed its other big test.
The pink kraut provided a great alternative to the usual avocado on toast and I don’t think I have ever had such a perfectly poached egg – firm but yet full of yolk – a bruncher’s dream. The buttermilk chicken was perfect too – really tender and crispy – but the real star of the show were the pancakes. I gave them ten out of ten for looks and taste. I actually didn’t think the meringue would work but the whole thing was just perfect.
After all that food, you probably wouldn’t think it was possible but I somehow managed to leave enough space for an ice cream sandwich. I can highly recommend the Malty if you still have enough room!
Overall, I was hugely impressed with Ben’s Canteen. The location is great and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who feels like giving themselves a foodie treat!
If you like to see more of our fabulous Food columnist Juti, then please click here to view her website, The Belle of Brunch.
If you’d like more information on restaurants in London then please click here.