Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Ben's Canteen

Ben's Canteen, yes that famous place on St John's Hill, Clapham/Battersea,/Wandsworth,  (but let's not get into that argument right now), has opened it's second resturant. SW17 is the location. 422 Garratt Lane to be precise. 

I followed the twitter feed of @benscanteen with great interest, looking out for updates. 
As I knew it would it popular. I could, in fact,  almost envisage a queue the length of Garratt Lane. The transformation of the old 'Willie Gunn' pub was eagerly awaited. 

Having moved to Earlsfield in July 2011, we've seen nothing but an empty pub on the corner for far too long now. On Thursday 15th the doors opened of Ben's Canteen SW17 opened for the very first time. I heard lots of good things about it, along with lots of mouth watering pictures, therefore I wanted to try it out for myself.

I went to BC, St Johns Hill, back along for brunch with a friend, and thoroughly enjoyed it. But I have to say that was ages ago, and I can't quite remember it. Cue Wednesday night, I'd already mentioned to The Boy I'd like to visit Ben's Canteen, but when I saw this tweet.. 

  I'd made up my mind. Already.
Choices, choices.. But I knew what I wanted!

'A Passion Fruit Margarita, please'.
Our twist on the classic blend of Mexican Tequila, orange liquer and fresh lime juice shaken up with a little bit of tropical paradise. Say 'Hola' to our new favourite cocktail! (£8.00)

Okay so it has to be said.. this is probably my new favourite drink and after falling for it over Twitter! Perhaps  somewhat shallow, but I wasn't  disappointed.
Also I should probably inform you from 5-7pm every day it's happy hour with 2 for 1 on cocktails. AND this applies all night long on Tuesdays.

 So after originally planning to stay for a drink or two, I decided the food sounded too good to resist. You can check out the menu here.


We chose.. D.I.Y Guacamole with tortilla chips. (£6.00), Tacos - Red Pepper, Avocado, Cactus Leaves and JalapeƱos (£5.00) and Sweet Potato chips (£3.50).

So, D.I.Y- that's do it yourself right? Yes.. 'Smash your avocado in a pestle and mortar and add salsa, salt and hot sauce'. I did exactly as the menu had instructed me.

I love nachos, or tortilla chips with salsa, guacamole.. So for me I just had to order this dish. Something like this really stands out on a menu for me, not only is it inventive, but also it shows the ingredients are fresh. Fabulous work on the chefs part I think, even if I did have to make it myself. ;-)

So next up, the tacos. Pretty good too if you ask me. I was rather intrigued by the cactus leaves, but they weren't spiky like your traditional cacti. All three dishes we ordered were both gluten free and vegetarian. It's good to see this on a menu.

Referring back to the menu for dessert we spotted if you post a picture of your food on Instagram you can claim a free dessert. *Yes really*. So that's exactly what I did.. All you have to do is include #BENSCANTEENMENU and show the staff your picture with the hashtag below. Amazing!

 I opted for the Rhubarb and Yoghurt Eton Mess priced (usually) at £4.00. Very reasonable at this price, I felt. You can often pay a couple of pounds more for desserts. However the dessert portion size was quite small. And not very messy, for an Eton Mess. But nevermind I can't complain, it was after all free. And very tasty. 


The Boy opted for the Spiced Apple Cheesecake, which once again wasn't your usually looking cheesecake. However he assured me it was tasty, and I did have a teeny bit to try myself. Sometimes it's nice to do things differently eh?

So overall, we had a lovely evening. I loved the drinks, and food for that matter. Ben's Canteen is rather busy, we sat in the front bar section and managed to get a table easily having walked in at 6.45. However it appeared that rather of lot of people were coming in, and heading back out of the door again. BC takes bookings of an evening, which of course works. But I can't help but imagine how disappointed I would feel to be turned away.

Of course for business, this isn't a bad thing and hopefully those people will come back and try again.  But on observing this I'd recommend booking a table. 

Next time I think I'll be joining that queue for brunch.

You can find Ben's Canteen at:
140 St John’s Hill, Battersea, SW11 1SL | 422 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, SW18 4HW

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