Har Gau


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Canteen, Spitalfields Market, 2 Crispin Place, City of London E1 6DW

We went to Spitalfields Market last weekend, hoping to have some roast for lunch. My friend recommended that we go to Canteen, a trendy chain restaurant (there is another one by South Bank) in London. For more on the weather, refer to the previous post.

Needless to say, by the time we arrived, the wet look had more than taken up residence in the group. I was more than ready for some roast. Gimme roast. Where's the roast.

Only to find, on the menu, there is no roast.

That's the utensils, all ready and roaring to go to some roast.

Roast of the day was roast duck. Not the lovely chinese-style roast duck, but more towards the 2 duck drumsticks with mash variety, which doesn't really count as roast. So, with utensils tucked back firmly in their place, all upset and disappointed (the utensils, not me), we proceeded to order from the rest of the menu.

It's a good menu. Just enough to fit on one side of a page, it had one of every type of food. Descriptions were good, varieties were wide, but the gripe to be griped is that the prices were just slightly more than you'd expect from a restaurant calling itself Canteen.

The portion sizes are decent, and when I mean decent, I don't mean 'woa shouldn't have had dinner last week' decent, I mean, 'hmm, this might fill me for at least 2 hours' decent. I prefer quantity, so what.

The other gripe is that for some of the dishes, or meals, the description of 'Roast free-range chicken' is basically that. No side dishes, nothing. This means that to complete the meal (unless you really like chicken and nothing else), it'd cost you the chicken (something like £12) and side dishes (approximately £3 each).

Big spender me chose the grilled haddock with mash and spinach. This choice, I have to say, was largely influenced by the fact that it had side dishes (on the plate, what a bargain).

To give it due credit, the fish was ridiculously fresh (well, fresh for something that has been cooked, smoked over tea leaves, and served. Not fresh like swimming on my plate).

The mash potato was wonderfully creamy, and of perfect consistency. You put some on the fork, and it was just mushy enough to kinda droop slightly at the end of the fork. The spinach was fantastically cooked, still green and fresh, while not having any of the bitter taste that you get with raw spinach.

The fish was just salty enough to be eaten on its own, and it flaked fabulously (such superb use of magnificent superlatives). Don't believe me? Here.

The other diners ordered beef and ale (?) pie. That too, came with mash potato and cabbage (although I don't reckon that's why they ordered it, unlike me). The cabbage was nice (apparently as I didn't try it), but I don't reckon it would have made Popeye switch over to cabbages.

I tried the pie, and it was wonderful how the pastry remained flaky and hot, yet not soggy. The beef in the pie was tender, and not stringy. The taste of the sauce was beefy and alcoholy.

(I probably can't cook, but I sure can rhyme)

Here is that roast duck, with mash potato and cabbage. From what I saw, it was tender, and cooked just enough to maintain its essence without being dry.

Would I recommend this restaurant? Yes, if you want really fresh and tasty food, in a nice ambience, lovely for a lazy lunch. Prices are on the higher side of things though, but reflected in the quality.

Canteen on Urbanspoon

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