Breakfast is having a moment, and there are few better places to brunch than London. Ben’s Canteen in Battersea has something of a cult following, so The Resident decided to check it out one lazy Sunday morning
Words: Madeleine Howell
When we arrived at Ben’s Canteen on St John’s Hill a sunny Sunday morning in mid-March, the benches outside were already heaving with groups of friends catching the first rays of spring, donning their wayfarer shades and peeling off their winter layers to enjoy a spicy Bloody Mary (you can choose between mild, medium or bloody scary).
Inside, there’s plenty of room for more. Amidst the chattering wooden tables we were soon gossiping away ourselves with a real sense of bon homie – after all, discussing the antics of Friday and Saturday is surely the whole point of Sunday brunch.
The menu itself is humorous: the virgin Bloody Mary is listed as the Bloody Pointless, and there’s even Ice Cold Berocca for those nursing their hangovers. The secret ingredient in Ben’s lovely Breakfast Fizz is marmalade syrup, a fun twist on the usual, rather dated Buck’s Fizz. And it’s made with cava, not champagne – there’s nothing fussy about Ben’s, with its laidback, Aussie-style vibe.
Feeling rather angelic myself, I opted for the green smoothie, which truly was the most refreshing glass of greenery I have ever tasted with its winning blend of crushed ice, green apple, pear, mint, avocado, kiwi and melon.
We were told by a cheery waiter that the current favourite is the smashed ‘avo’ on sourdough (no surprises there for Instagram fans). Feeling a little adventurous, I toyed with the idea of ordering the Eggs Pig Out – poached eggs with hollandaise and pulled pork – which sounds like an excellent variation on Eggs Benedict. Instead, I went for the Sweet Corn & Courgette Fritters, which came served with grilled-to-perfection halloumi, a richly yolked poached egg and a moreish balsamic roast tomato chutney. The fritters themselves were lightly fried, crunchy bundles of veggie goodness. We got a good, strong Allpress Coffee to finish up, and my cappuccino came with a particularly pretty frothy design in a celadon blue cup and saucer.
There’s also a Full English (the ‘Big Ben’) and a Veggie Breakfast for traditionalists, and I’ll certainly be back to sample the Breakfast Burrito with spicy chorizo and coriander. The banana pancakes with salted caramel sauce sound rather nice too, as does the evening menu with its Surf & Turf burgers and chimichurri roast cod.
One final tip: If you, like us, couldn’t quite face alcohol before midday, we recommend walking off your brunch and heading off on a ten minute walk to The Ship pub for a Camden Pale Ale or a gin and tonic overlooking the Thames. Here’s to the weekend!
140 St John’s Hill, Battersea SW11 1SL; 020 7228 3260; benscanteen.com