Canteen (Baker Street, London, UK)

(Update: Canteen was a nice concept, but it didn’t seem to have staying power, their locations slowly closed over the years, until the last location in Spitalfields closed in early 2019)

One of the fine English culinary traditions I embrace is that of the Full English Breakfast (you can read my previous article on the topic). Every time I come to London, I try to accomplish two things: (a) another trip to the Regency (it’s a 5 minute walk from the flat), and (b) get a Full English someplace other than the Regency.

This time, we decided to try out Canteen. Canteen’s motto (and the name of their cookbook) is “Real British Food”, and their menu reflects it, with your basic selection of roasts, fresh fish, and poultry dishes. They also serve breakfast, so we went so I could try out their Full English (which, oddly, hasn’t been on their menu long, they recently added it “because you asked for it!”). Meanwhile, Carol opted for their Eggs Florentine.

The Canteen Full English came with two eggs, sausage, bacon (streaky), mushrooms, tomato, and toast. I’ll have to start off with mentioning that I really get disappointed when a “Full English” doesn’t have beans, I’ll have to remember to order them if I come back to Canteen. As far as the eggs, they were very nicely fried and crisp, and both the sausage and bacon were nicely crisped up but still fork tender. However, the mushrooms and tomato were where this dish started to fall apart. My mushrooms were cold, and the tomato was just kinda limp, in that weird halfway world between “stewed” and “grilled”. I like them either way, but these were just in the middle. Quite frankly, I usually expect better for eight-plus quid.

Carol fared a bit better with her Eggs Florentine, the eggs were decently poached, the spinach tender, and the hollandaise sauce smooth but tangy. She rather enjoyed it, so apparently the new Full English on their menu still needs some tweaking.

Where Canteen really shined, however, was my beverage. Many places in London sport the fairly frequent combination of carrot and orange juice. Canteen does the same, but adds a healthy shake of paprika to the mix. The result is a very pleasant morning quencher, with the body of carrot juice, softened just enough with the orange juice to not taste too vegetable-y, and with just enough bite from the paprika to be interesting. I liked this enough that I’ll be trying to make this at home.

So, overall, Canteen was a mixed bag. Several items showed that they had the basic concepts down, but the execution on the Full English fell a little flat. I’ll probably give them another try at some point, but they aren’t near the top of my Full English list.

55 Baker Street (and 3 other London locations)
London, UK

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